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Going Under Cover

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Jacquelynn Kennedy, the Reedsy reviewer, said that the first thing that attracted her to 'Of All Faiths & None' was the cover. The final artwork took many months to develop.

This was one of my own clumsy first attempts at a cover design when the name of the book was still Castle Drogo. I took the photograph on 23 November 2008 at Vimy Ridge, with some friends from university who were keen World War One enthusiasts. The day was freezing and the Vimy Ridge memorial was covered in snow. I was wearing a heavy, fleece-lined coat and was frozen to the bone. I thought that the pictured invoked the desperation and horror of the war. However, when another friend looked at the cover years later and asked me whether it was a book about homo-erotica I knew that the cover had to change.

In August 2021, at a pub quiz, I was chatting to my son and some friends about the title of the novel and there was a consensus that the name Castle Drogo didn't work. I suggested 'Of All Faiths and None', which everyone agreed was a great title. My friend, Patrick, asked whether he could read the manuscript and try out some ideas for a cover. I have always loved Patrick's photography and therefore jumped at the chance. (see Patrick's website at Patrick wasn't 100% happy with the first few results and wanted to develop something with the white feather, as it is a key part of the novel.

Patrick produced the idea of a hand holding a feather at the end of October 2021. I immediately loved it and although we played around with different ideas, we always came back to this, as its simplicity and beauty were evident. The hand that is holding the feather belongs to Rosa Hatton. Rosa had been a neighbour who I had known since she was a small child.

I then decided to appoint a book designer to take the photograph and turn it into a book jacket and went to Adam Hay, of Adam Hay Studio. Adam started making changes. First, he changed the typeface that Patrick had used to Goudy Old Style, after looking at some of Lutyens' actual drawings where Goudy had been used. Second he changed where the title and name were placed on the photograph and added an ampersand into the title. This highlighted the beautiful photograph Patrick had taken. Third, he changed the background to a marble effect. However, Adam's first ideas used a static hand and I wanted to give it the effect of motion, as Patrick had done, by using a motion blur. Adam and I exchanged ideas. Finally, we worked on the tone of the hand. There are just hints of red in the nail by the feather, which we added. We could not paint the nails a vivid red, to signify blood, as the use of nail paint post dated 1914. However, young women would polish their nails giving a subtler colour. The final artwork is below and I, like Jacquelynn Kennedy, think is absolutely stunning. Thank you Patrick, Rosa and Adam.

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