When author Neil Watson first described the location of his new novel Florida Key I tried to imagine something appropriate for the cover. Place is very important in novel writing. To me, personally, just as important as the characters you create. And this place was vast. A young guy on a bike cycling across the unforgiving elements of the MidWest of America? Sounds daunting, doesn’t it. So first stage was to find an image of a cyclist. Bingo! Found this terrific shot, very early on in the process.
But the picture was just a beginning. We needed something more in tune with the character in the book. That’s when author Neil told me about his own bike ride across the US when he was a lad. Did he own a bike still? Yes he did and he was happy for me to photograph it for the cover. What’s more, when I suggested he climb aboard for the photo session, he became the character on the bike in the final image on the cover. And, we didn’t have a studio so shot the picture that would eventually be silhouetted in his lounge!
It was a bizarre photo shoot but lots of fun.
Now to link that image to a brooding American plains background. That seemed to work. And with the addition of the right typography the whole thing began to take shape quite nicely. I’m happy we captured the essence of at least some of the storyline in the book. Early signs are people approve of the cover design. It has a look of a movie poster to me. Perhaps one day Florida Key might make a blockbuster Hollywood ‘picture’ as the yanks say. Then Neil Can retire a rich man.
I hope he keeps on writing, though . . .