Two years ago, I hosted one of the first rounds of "An Agent's Inbox," and a writer I'd never heard of happened to enter. She was querying a manuscript about an eleven-year-old foodie who inadvertently lands a job as a freelance food critic with a major newspaper. I fell in love with the character--in the very first page, Gladys manages to set her parents' curtains on fire when her creme brulee goes awry--and immediately started
stalking following the writer around the Internet. I was thrilled but not at all surprised when Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency signed her, then sold her manuscript a few months later.
And now it's time to reveal the cover.
The writer, of course, is my good friend Tara, and the manuscript in question is ALL FOUR STARS. The official reveal is over on the Emu's Debuts blog, but Tara was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. So check out the cover, then hop back over here to check out Tara's answers. (Or check out Tara's answers, then hop over to Emu's Debuts to check out the cover. I'm not picky:) )
KV: What do you love about your cover?
TD: Well, the easy answer would be "everything"--the artist (the fabulous Kelly Murphy)
and the Penguin design team did such a great job working important details from the story (the food, the New York setting, the writing element)!
But if I had to choose one favorite thing, I'd pick Gladys herself, hands down. She really looks exactly the way I've been picturing her for years--it's like Kelly just crawled right into my brain to draw her. :) And with Gladys's seated stance and her book, I feel like she also kind of recalls Quentin Blake's illustration of Matilda. (I might just be projecting that connection, though, since Matilda was my favorite book as a kid.)
KV: Did your publisher consult with you about the cover's design?
TD: Yes--my editor asked me to share some other covers I really liked, so I put together a little PowerPoint file with five or six examples. (I also shared a few on my blog here: http://taradairman.com/2013/04/03/cover-ideas-book-2-obsessions-and-more/) Several of them had city skylines in them...and hey, look, now my cover does, too! So I guess that worked. :)
KV: Putnam offered on your manuscript back in the spring of 2012, and now it's fall of 2013, less than a year until the book's release. What journey has your story taken in the intervening months?
TD: Well, it's been through two big rounds of edits, plus line edits, copyedits, and first pass pages; and it's gotten a title, a cover, and a blurb from the incredible Jennifer A. Nielsen (this still blows my mind). But through all of that, the story itself hasn't changed all that much. It's gotten a bit longer, and is much better-written now thanks to the promptings of our uber-talented editor, Shauna Rossano.
KV: We're in good hands, aren't we, Tara? :) But I digress...
What still has to happen before the book comes out?
TD: Well, soon there will be bound galleys (also known as ARCs, or Advance Reading Copies), which I guess means that reviewers and kidlit bloggers and other people who are not related to me will finally get to read Gladys's story. I find this both terribly exciting and a bit nerve-wracking. I'm definitely eager for the book to find its way into kids' hands when it's finally published next summer.
KV: Last but not least, Putnam recently bought a sequel to ALL FOUR STARS. (Woohoo!) Any juicy tidbits you can share with us? :)
TD: I'm so thrilled that there's going to be a sequel! I've had it in my head for a long time, and recently finished writing the first draft. I don't want to give away too much, since no one's read the first book yet, but I'll just say that Gladys's culinary adventures will continue at summer camp, where she takes on some new kitchen challenges and encounters some new nemeses. It should come out in the summer of 2015.
Thanks for having me, Krista!
And thanks for stopping by, Tara. Can't wait for 2014!