Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Calling Me Home has a cover!

By Julie

Certain days in an author's life are a little more special than others. Obviously, there is the day you get "the call" from your dream agent. Then there is the day you make your first sale (and every sale thereafter!). The day you see your manuscript typeset in first pass pages is pretty thrilling, too.

Design by my now-favorite book cover designer,
Olga Grlic
But it's possible one of the most exciting days after you have your book contract in hand is the day you see your cover. I experienced this once before when I received the file of my German cover art, and that was pretty mind-boggling! I loved it so much I plastered it all over the place. It still reigns on my Facebook author page for now. The book releases there August 20 and my German publishers have been SO enthusiastic, I feel it's appropriate to let it keep the place of honor a while longer!

I was on vacation the last few weeks. We spent several days in Illinois for my husband's grandmother's 100th birthday celebration. She is an amazing woman, as sharp and funny as any younger woman I know. I also had the pleasure of meeting author Amy Sue Nathan (The Glass Wives, debuting spring or summer 2013) en route from Chicago to Peoria.

In the midst of driving here and there, switching hotel rooms every night or so, I received an email from Hilary Teeman, my St. Martin's Press editor, requesting an address where they could overnight something--something NOT work. I knew immediately what it would be! Lydia Netzer, another St. Martin's author and friend who shares the same fantastic editor, had this experience months earlier when she received her cover for SHINE SHINE SHINE (which debuted last week and you MUST read!!!). It would be several days before I could get an overnight delivery without the risk we'd have already moved on. I gave Hilary our upcoming address in the gorgeous Outer Banks of North Carolina. I knew I'd go a little crazy in the four or five days before I'd receive the delivery.

We checked in on Sunday. The office promised to call when they received my package. Monday, around 4 p.m. (a day or so sooner than expected!), I got a call. Everyone had just settled in for a late sandwich or nap after our first fun day at the beach. We were sunburned, sandy, unshowered, and exhausted. And yet, my husband, the official driver on the rental car contract, graciously dragged himself up from his comfy spot in front of the television and chauffeured me the ten miles to the office. We arrived with about 15 minutes to spare before they closed.

I carried the book-shaped package to the car, handling it as though I carried an incendiary device. I knew its contents had the potential to create any number of emotions in me. Would I cry when I saw it? From joy? From disappointment? From devastation? Would I clap my hands and scream because I loved it so much? Or would I be angry and disgusted because the designer and my editor had so utterly ruined the vision my story had conjured in my mind for so many years?

I will tell you this: It was one of the most loaded moments along my journey to publication.

But I also knew this: My editor is in love with my story. I knew, from previous conversations, she had turned down several other covers she wasn't happy with. Somehow I just knew she would recognize the right one when it came along, and I trusted her.

So I opened the package. First, I peeked in, just for the littlest glance. Then I read the note she'd included with some of her thoughts on why this one worked so well and how in love the staff at St. Martin's was with it. How they literally gasped when they saw it the first time. Then I pulled the cover, which Hilary had carefully wrapped and taped around another hardcover book so I could get the full effect, from the envelope.

Strangely, my reaction was not unlike my reaction 15, 18, and 23 years ago, each time I saw one of my beautiful children for the first time. I am not a screamer. I am not a clapper. I am not one to cry at expected times. When I held and studied each of my children the very first time, I felt strangely awed. Reverent. Quiet. I simply stared at their faces, then studied each limb, each tiny fingernail, so surprised to see how different they looked than I'd ever imaged, yet somehow so perfect. On an intellectual level, I knew I already loved them more than I ever dreamed I was capable of doing, but on a human level, I wasn't quite able to grasp that just yet. With each child, it was hours before the emotions really began to flow, before I was finally able to wrap my brain around their arrivals, their surprising perfection, their little bits of me and their characteristics I never, ever, imagined. And then, I was carrying them around, showing them off, placing them here and there for photos--which light, which background, which setting could possibly show the world what I was seeing through my eyes?

And last Monday, before long, I was carrying my "book" around my vacation home, placing it on the hammock in the ocean breeze for a shot here, propping it in the port hole window with a view of the Outer Banks there, stacking it with a book about the Outer Banks so I'd never forget where I saw it the first time.

And I loved it.

EDIT: I guess I should also add that Calling Me Home is available for pre-order now! It's at Amazon and! Pre-orders are really important in the lead-up to publication, so I appreciate each and every one of you who takes the time to do so! You are guaranteed the lowest price up to the shipping date once you place your order. More info about the story is available at my website.


  1. Can't wait to read it, Julie! And to have you sign it, of course!

  2. Oh so happy for you, Julie. Your cover is absolutely beautiful.

  3. Julie, this almost brought me to tears. I am so happy for you!!! It is an absolutely gorgeous cover. Congratulations!

  4. Just beautiful, Julie. Congratulations! And I can imagine how the "first look" experience would be similar to seeing one's newborn. (With the added capacity to jump around.) ;) Can't wait to read it!

  5. Anonymous26 July, 2012

    That was a beautiful article, Julie. I love you! Dad

  6. Loved hearing every heartbeat of your reaction to opening the package, Julie! Such a thrilling moment and so neat that Todd was there with you. I just preordered my copy on Amazon and will look forward to the day I get mine autographed. Congratulations! Love, your 'predator' :)

  7. I am guilty of not replying to all these wonderful comments immediately! Thank you so much for your thoughts and I am so happy that you enjoyed reading about my first look and that everyone seems to love the cover! I love it a little more every day, which feels kind of impossible, but it's true!

  8. Awesome cover, great pictures of the new member of your family. Looking foward to curling up and reading it.


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