Susan Grossey

But is it bright enough?

But is it bright enough?

One of the many joys of being a self-published author is the complete control I have over how my books look.  And one of the many curses of being me is that I have no visual artistic talent at all.  Thankfully I am smart enough to find people who have this talent, such as the marvellous Andrew at Design for Writers.  He has done all my covers – fiction and non-fiction – and, to quote the immortal Hot Chocolate, everyone’s a winner, baby, and that’s no lie.  In particular, he has done sterling work in turning what we both thought was a one-off cover for “Fatal Forgery” into a powerful visual brand for the Sam Plank series.  Each Sam Plank cover has a central line-drawn figure against a blurred document, and its own, bespoke font.  And so it is with – drumroll, please – the seventh and final Sam Plank cover, for “Notes of Change”:

Choosing the colour was tricky: earlier books in the series had already nabbed blue, yellow, red, green, purple and grey, and the Regency/Georgian colour palette is all about strong colours, so the pastels are out.  I did some fun research on various decorating websites, particularly for companies specialising in heritage and period properties and restoration, and the strong orange/ochre/cinnamon palette seemed promising.  And look what Andrew has done – who could possibly not spot that cover on a shelf!

As for the image, that was quite a saga, but with a happy ending.  I wanted an image of a Metropolitan Police officer, but right from the beginning of the “new police” rather than later in their life.  There are dozens of drawings and paintings of Met Police officers in the Victorian era, but finding one from the start, with the right facial hair…  And I finally came across this one, drawn by a fellow called Bob Marrion.  A police officer himself, he illustrated dozens of books on military history – uniforms were his thing – and one slim volume on called “‘C’ or St. James’s: A History of Policing in the West End of London 1829 to 1984”.  Sadly Bob has died, but his estate has given permission for the use of his gorgeous drawing – all Andrew had to do was cunningly remove the duty band that the officer was wearing.  (Duty bands weren’t introduced until 1830 while “Notes of Change” takes place in 1829, and you know what a stickler I am for historical detail.)

So now it’s all hands on deck for actual publication (officially Friday 29 April) – let the uploading begin!

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