In Sarah Domet's debut novel, The Guineveres (Flatiron, Oct.), four girls of that name—called Vere, Gwen, Ginny, and Win—have been left by their parents to be raised at a convent by nuns. The initial cover concept (below) by Emily Mahon, which was used on the ARC, overtly referenced the Catholicism angle.
"Our original design had a stained-glass, church-window-feel to it," says Amy Einhorn, senior v-p and publisher at Flatiron. But, she says, the book "is actually not really about religion at all. It's about how the friends of our youth profoundly shape who we become as adults. In rethinking the cover, I wanted us to focus on the fact that this is a book about four girls."
When executive art director Keith Hayes started at Flatiron, one of his first projects was to oversee the cover revamp. "Just before I started my new position here," he says, "Amy Einhorn contacted me about an issue concerning the cover. She said that the jacket needed to be redesigned, and fairly quickly." He tasked Lauren Harms, his former colleague at Little, Brown (she's a senior designer there), to take on the freelance project. The two comps below showcase the quartet at the heart of the novel.
These were well received, Hayes says, but the concept below, which became the final cover, "stood out among the rest." In addition to the bold colors, graphic quality, and singular image, he says, "I love it mostly because of the duality. At one glance it depicts a beautiful braid of hair, but then the strands also appear to represent flames." Though it wasn't obvious to him at the time, Hayes notes the image's "subtle connections to the book. The braid is a bit like a friendship bracelet, and calls to mind how the lives of these four girls are woven together."
The main story of the novel, he adds, "is interspersed with tales of female saints. The vivid color reminds me of these women, and of the fire that consumed Joan of Arc, perhaps the most famous female saint of them all. That adds another layer to the braid, too: the girls are woven together with these fiery saints who came before them."