Do The Dead Dream? (© 2017, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)
What do you think, folks? Did Lon nail it or did he NAIL IT?!
I am positively in awe of Lon Kirschner and his ability to create stunning cover art! Lon is the only cover artist I know who reads the entire manuscript before creating its cover.
Lon had given me several draft covers from which to choose. As I looked them over, this was the one I’d immediately chosen. But…a debate quickly arose between my wife and I. We selected and discussed [the] different covers, and she pointed out…that it’s not about me…it’s about what best sells the book…whether or not it’s the one we preferred.
So…I thought about it…and in the interests of being open-minded, I’d sent all of the covers out to those who’d cover-blurbed (endorsed) my anthology (this is a whole nother discussion!). And…as was so unexpected (…the Weird and the Peculiar!) every single cover option was chosen by someone.
Yes, this book and all around it is living up to its subtitle!
I loved that!
It showed that there was, as Mark Stevens (one of my endorsers) said, “no right answer.” But…in the end…as another endorser, Mario Acevedo, pointed out, “…remember that your target market are readers of horror who want edgy and creepy.” And that’s why I picked the one I did. Why only one of the options just nailed it for me, and that is the one presented here. I should say that one of the other options was a definite second choice, but it was this one that just stopped me in my tracks and utterly stunned me!
I love it for many reasons:
- The overall mood! It is creepy and foggy and misty.
- It has a cemetery!
- Has a creepy, lazy (distracted?)-eyed being staring out at you…following your every move. This lazy eye adds an additional and huge creep factor…and an additional “weird and peculiar” tone: that something is off, here….
- Mario Acevedo mentioned how he loved the metaphor of the gravestones symbolizing the many stories within the book, so, yeah, I jumped on that bandwagon! Great observation, Mario!
- I love the font!
- I love the sepia tone!
- There’s a certain subtlety to the cover that grabs you. It symbolizes a dark, brooding, sepia-toned October day to me, where you just want to ignore the world and sit down to read some weird and peculiar stories…as mists lazily drift across the landscape…and unseen things are watching you….
All of the above—to me—weave the perfect cover for the stories within this collection of my work over 39 years of my life. I have labored long and hard to bring these stories out of the dark and into the light of day…and, believe me, the light of day isn’t going to help you!
As I do with all my cover art posts, I asked Lon Kirschner for his point of view on the circumstance surrounding his creation of my cover. Here is what Lon had to say:
“It is always a joy to get a new F. P. Dorchak manuscript. You never really know what you are getting into. Each story is so different from the last. He is not an author who sticks to a formula, so each project requires a reboot of my thinking.
“This latest project was a collection of stories, so the project required that the cover present a feeling rather than something that would harken back to a particular moment, or feeling of a story, because there were so many [stories] and quite a varied selection.
“I know Frank is a graveyard junkie, that coupled with the fact that the title is Do the Dead Dream? was screaming for an image of a graveyard. The issue was how to combine that with something that was compelling and that would offer something for the reader to contemplate. In thinking about this I was drawn to the opening title sequence of the first season of the HBO series True Detective. There was something about the double exposure images that I felt could be used in this cover. Somehow combine life and death. That is the direction I went off on. I created a double exposure of a face with the graveyard blending into it. It was a good-looking cover, but I felt it said too much about an individual and was not ambiguous enough. I then had the idea that the eyes, which are the most representational image of human life, would be interesting if I could somehow incorporate them into the gravestone image. Life and death. Blending, moving, painting and applying different effects eventually lead me to the image that became the cover. The lazy eye was a happy accident. Unplanned but something that happened in the development stage. I am what I would describe as an organic designer. I have a rough idea of what I am thinking when I start…but a lot of what happens is through trial and error. This is not the fastest way to work, but it is a style that I have employed going back to pre-digital days when I would almost work in a collage-style layering… and moving things around until I got it right. The title type is a font that incorporates sharp serifs, something that I always think of when I imagine headstone engraving. It evokes that image without the use of a cliché carved effect.
“I thought this was going to be the cover…but I did one more that was purely photographic, a very different image that was a little tongue-in-cheek, which came together very quickly. It was not picked, but as Frank has mentioned, several people did choose it. It proves that a cover design, in the end, is subjective. An author and a designer can have very different takes on a story, it is always a great feeling for me when the two come together and the final product is both an artistic and literary success.”
Thank you for your thoughts and the background on this cover, Lon! You’re a genius, a visionary!
I love working with Lon. He’s easygoing and comes up with images, points of view that are simply awesome. There are times I just want to ask him, “Man, where do you come up with your ideas?“, but then I know it’d be just like asking me, “Man, where do you come up with your ideas?”
They come…from where they come.
Currently I am composing the back cover. My editor, Joyce Combs, and I are done editing, and I’ve sent the manuscript off to my formatter, Pam Headrick!
Wow, we’re almost there!
I’m hoping for an October 1st release date!
Lon Kirschner may be contacted at:
Book Cover Site: http://www.lonkirschner.com/