Recently on her blog, Daisy Whitney revealed the new paperback cover for her book The Mockingbirds and the matching, new cover for her upcoming companion novel, The Rivals. While we liked the original covers, we’re sort of over-the-moon about the new ones — so we chatted with Daisy about the changes! Here’s more:
The original covers for THE MOCKINGBIRDS and THE RIVALS had a very graphic look to them — and so do the new covers, but in a much different way. What do you like best about both versions of the covers?
I always liked that the hardcover of THE MOCKINGBIRDS stood out because you don’t see many birds or graphics on covers. But I do find myself drawn more towards people on covers, so the new versions of the covers really speak to me. I love that they’re close-ups of teens’ faces, that the teens are looking right at the viewer and not away, down or off to the side, and I like that the covers are a pair — a girl and a boy. With the new cover for THE MOCKINGBIRDS, I love the girl’s red lipstick. It’s a bold and daring choice in a story that deals with date rape, but that’s why I like it. To me, the story has always been about the other side of the assault — how Alex recovers and reclaims herself. And from a feminist worldview, I love that – in a way – she is reclaiming her right to wear red lipstick! That’s what the story is about to me — how a girl can recover from that kind of trauma. That’s why I’m glad the girl isn’t looking away or wrapping her arms around her knees. She’s strong and clear and looking straight at you because she has nothing to be ashamed of even though she’s been through a horrible thing. As for THE RIVALS, well, that boy!!! Those eyes! He’s pretty fantastic to look at. But ogling aside, I think he’s the right counterweight to Alex and the sequel is all about that — the counterweight to the Mockingbirds. The story digs into how the Mockingbirds are challenged in every way so this cover to me represents the mirror opposite, the other side, of the story.
So very much goes into covers and I’m not terribly involved in the process, nor are most authors. I have to give credit to my amazing editor Kate Sullivan at Little Brown and my tenacious agent, Michelle Wolfson, and of course to the art design team and the designer herself, the immensely talented Liz Casal. In terms of the thought process — we all felt that a photographic cover of a girl for the paperback would speak to my readership well. I’m not a teen, but I am definitely drawn to covers with strong images of girls on them, such as Gayle Forman’s Where She Went and Judy Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied. I very much wanted a cover with that sort of power, and that sort of connection with the reader. After the initial decision was made to redo the covers in a photographic vein, my editor Kate oversaw the whole process and wisely waited to show me covers until this set was made! I’m glad — because as soon as I saw them in my email, I called her and told her they were my dream covers. I know that may sound cheesy and whatnot, but it’s far too common for authors to dislike or feel lukewarm about their covers. In my case, I am in mad love with these covers. They are everything I ever wanted for these books and I think they have a ton of teen appeal.
In what way do you think the new covers are a better fit for the books?
I think the new covers say more about the stories. The first one, as I said, conveys to me a strong girl. The font too fits. That sort of strong red handwritten font suggests the sort of writing on the wall that the Mockingbirds engage in. And the font for the tagline is suggestive of graffiti to me. These are all the sort of ideas and images I believe are in the book. I also like that the white background is a sort of crinkly paper and that the pictures look like yearbook photos marked up — much like the Mockingbirds would do! Ultimately, the stories are about standing up for what you believe in and about the consequences of our choices — good and bad — but also about our ability TO choose. So to have two strong teen faces on the covers conveys precisely what the stories are about. (Plus, check out the placement of the bird on THE RIVALS!)
THE RIVALS doesn’t come out for a few more months, but it is available for pre-order. For those who don’t know about it, tell us a little about what to expect?
In THE RIVALS, the Mockingbirds are challenged in every way possible. Everything that worked well about a student-run justice system in the first novel is poked at and prodded by a big cast of characters in this story. The central mystery involves a prescription drug cheating ring that the Mockingbirds are asked to investigate. It’s far-reaching and the clues never quite add up fully. Expect lots of twists and turns, and many moral ambiguities and difficult choices for Alex! But there is also a good amount of romance too. The story picks up six months after the first book ends — at the start of Alex’s senior year. She’s still together with Martin and their relationship grows, but is also challenged in many ways.
In your books, the Mockingbirds get their name from the book TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, which has also seen a lot of different covers over the years, in its various editions. Do you have a favorite cover for *that* book?