Kicking off a new blog series here on Book Country is the celebrated New Yorker cartoonist and graphic novelist Marisa Acocella Marchetto. Marisa’s 2006 book, Cancer Vixen, was a huge critical success, and today her new graphic novel, ANN TENNA, comes out from our friends at Knopf. Kirkus Reviews said of ANN TENNA: “Zany with a touch of uplifting. You will be measurably hipper after reading it.” Marisa’s husband, Silvano Marchetto, is also the owner of the trendy restaurant Da Silvano here in NYC. Below she gives us a slice of a typical day in her busy writing life.
I got up and went to grab the one thing I need to finish my cartoons today, and GAH! No coffee. I need it just as much as I need my fine line Black Sharpie pen to rough out my cartoons.
After a trip to Jack’s down the street, I got back to the drawing board. (I have a new book, ANN TENNA, coming out. Look for subtle product placement throughout this post.) Continue reading →
Carol Devine Carson, VP and Art Director at the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, has been designing book covers that have deeply resonated with readers for more than two decades. Her work has been featured in various art shows and design publications, but Carol says that most gratifying for her has been the opportunity to work on great books by an impressive variety of wonderful authors: “Who gets to meet Katharine Hepburn, Julian Barnes, Katharine Graham, John Updike, Bill Clinton, or Julia Child by simply going to work?” Keep reading to hear more from Carol.
Q: What initially drew you to the world of book cover art design?
A: I was fortunate to have beautiful books around me from earliest memory. I never tired of looking at every detail and every color combination in the art. DOCTOR DOOLITTLE IN THE MOON (cover and endpapers) is but one example that still looks fresh and sophisticated to me. I believe the accompanying visual must support the writing and complement it, while bringing fresh ideas and surprise to it as well.
For example, in designing new volumes for the Everyman’s Library series of classic writing, which we launched at Knopf in 1991, I like to imagine a child getting a copy of THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, THE POPPY SEED CAKES, or maybe ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND.
Q:How would you describe the conceptual processes you follow when creating a book cover?
A: It all begins with the author and the writing. I have designed a few jackets for books that literally stunned me as I read them. The first being DAMAGE by Josephine Hart. I think I could read that book again today and feel the same way. I knew the jacket had to be stark and nonrepresentational, since the characters had to be solely in one’s imagination.
Today’s blog guest is one of my absolute favorite writers: Ayelet Waldman. Ayelet and I have crossed paths many times over the years. An author of acclaimed fiction, memoir, and cozy mysteries, I’ve been following her exciting body of work for the last decade, always eager to see what she’ll do next. Her new book is LOVE & TREASURE, a heady mix of Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, and Historical Fiction set partially in Hungary, a place I love to read about. Read on for Ayelet’s singular take on the writer’s life.
LS: LOVE & TREASURE is a novel in 3 parts, each functioning almost like a novella. Why did you structure the story the way you did?
AW: You said the dreaded word, “Novella!” No! No! No!
The truth was that I had the structure before I had the novel. I fell in love with three-story structure first when reading The Hours by Michael Cunningham, then in Three Junes by Julia Glass. I read them when I first started taking the project of writing seriously, when I had emerged from my apprenticeship writing light-hearted mysteries, and had started to imagine trying something more ambitious. Those two books gave me a deep appreciation both of structure, and of the importance of theme in creating the world of a novel. They taught me that what is true and real about a story can transcend even characters. That’s a terrifying thing to contemplate, in a way. That what we care about in a novel can be something deeper even than the people in it, that our commitment to the story can survive the disappearance of characters we are invested in and care about. Continue reading →