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One of my favourite parts – for obvious reasons – of writing a new book is designing the cover.  Of course I don’t do the design myself; a quick glance at the magnificent covers of “Fatal Forgery” and “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat” tells you that there is a professional involved.  Two, in fact: husband and wife Andrew and Rebecca Brown at Design for Writers.  And they are terrific.

As nearly everyone agrees that – thanks to the Browns – the Plank covers are “strong”, I knew that the cover of “Worm in the Blossom” would need to follow the same pattern: vintage colour, foreground figure and background document.  And haven’t we had some fun with the figure.  It’s a female this time, and basically she’s a prostitute.  But a young one – a teenager.  And so Andrew, Rebecca and I have engaged in interesting email exchanges about this.  “I like her clothes, the way she’s a bit tarty, but she looks too old.”  “Her hair is good, like she’s had it done, but her neck is too long.”  “Her boobs are too big – she’s obviously a well-developed girl.  The Worm girls would be thinner and hungrier.”  And then we found our compromise: we liked the head in one image and the body in another, and it was a simple matter of some Frankensteinian work of decapitation and reassembly.  I’ll be able to show you the results soon – and I’ll be amazed if you can tell that she was originally two girls.

It seems a shame to waste such sterling effort on just one book cover, so I did suggest to the Browns that they might like to approach perhaps Cath Kidston or Liberty with a proposal for a new fabric pattern: Summer Strumpet.  I can see the tea-towels and umbrellas already.