Our Endless Numbered Days will be published in nine territories, and as far as I know all the covers will be different, and I can’t wait to see them.
It always seems to surprise readers that writers don’t have a huge amount of say in the covers of their books. I’ve already had many people ask me whether I designed, or even drew mine. I didn’t; I wouldn’t presume to know what will catch the eye of my audience and so it’s very lucky that I love all those that I’ve seen so far. Of course just like the story, the cover images can be interpreted in many different ways.
Here’s what I think:
The UK jacket went through a couple of iterations at Penguin before the chalk on blackboard image of a cabin was finalised. For me it sums up perfectly the child-like surface level of the story and its darker undertones. And the picture is a wonderful echo of a scene in the novel where the father draws with charcoal over the walls of the cabin he is living in with his daughter, Peggy.
The Canadian cover from House of Anansi, is perhaps the most literal interpretation, with the image of a figure tramping through the snow, but still visually arresting. The person could be any age, female or male, and who knows where they’re going? To raise these kinds of questions from an cover is hopefully a great way of getting readers to pick the book up. Underlying the title are the branches of a tree in winter, and I see these as inspired by the line: ‘I looked at our view, with the bare branches of the trees standing out spidery and black against the snow like the lungs of the world.’
The USA cover was pure serendipity. My editor at Tin House and the in-house designer knew of an illustrator, Julianna Swaney, who drew in a style that might work, and they had a look through her back catalogue, and came across the image. That a girl of the right age, in the right clothes, collecting kindling as Peggy does, already existed is nothing short of spooky. And, standing behind her is a mysterious figure – a cloud of flies – which have been used to great effect in the titles and chapter numbers. It’s perfect.
Which one do you like best, and why?