I hope everyone is as excited as I am about a new release by Heather Demetrios! Today we’ve got the brand new cover to show off to you guys, and a Q&A with Heather as well as a giveaway! So let’s see the new pretty!!
If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
Q&A with Heather Demetrios
Describe I’ll Meet You There in a Tweet (140 characters)!
Every single word of I’ll Meet You There gutted me. Here is my heart, in paper and ink. I’ve never loved a book so much.
What was your initial reaction to the cover design? What do you like best about it?
I was thrilled…and relieved! My editor was on the phone with me when she sent the cover comp over. She knew how important the cover of this particular book was to me and she wanted to talk me through it – I could almost hear her crossing her fingers that I would be over the moon. I’ll Meet You There came right from my soul and a lot of it is autobiographical, at least emotionally, so I would have been devastated if it had looked like a cheesy summer romance. I had VERY strong opinions when we talked about cover possibilities and I truly couldn’t be happier after seeing this gorgeous design. There are a lot of things that go into making a cover, and many people who have to love it, so I really had no idea what it would look like. When I saw the cover, I felt like, “Okay, they get this book. They get me.”
Months ago, I’d given Rich Deas, the designer, a link to my Pinterest board for the book – which you can check out here – in order to help him get the right feel. He’s fantastic. A real artist. I know he’s worked so hard to give us something beautiful, something accessible and literary at the same time. What I like best about it is that it really captures the feeling of the book: not just the setting, but the tone as well. The book is gritty and hopeful and romantic and sometimes sad: somehow Rich was able to get all of that into one startling image. I confess I did a happy dance when I saw that there wasn’t a photo of a boy and girl on the cover. More on that later.
Here’s the other thing: I consulted a lot of Marines and Soldiers when I was writing this book and I am SO HAPPY that I’ll be able to send them a book that they wouldn’t be embarrassed to be caught reading in public. I just couldn’t see a bunch of Marines sitting around holding a book with a girl and a boy kissing on the cover. Not that they wouldn’t like to check out a book like that…I just wasn’t sure they’d be caught dead reading it.
Did the cover change a lot from its first mockup?
The initial version I saw was different, but not hugely so. We pretty much went with this one. There were a few changes, but nothing dramatic. The biggest concern was how to get all the text on there and whether or not to add more imagery to the motel sign. With SOMETHING REAL, I saw several possibilities and there were lots of revisions. I really appreciate Macmillan bringing me into the process and using the images that inspired me as I wrote IMYT as a starting place when creating the cover.
The majority of contemporary book covers these days seem to feature people – faces, couples, hand holding etc – what do you think of the direction they went with this design?
Like I mentioned before, I was SO RELIEVED that the direction of the cover moved away from the glut of YA covers that feature people. I know there are very specific reasons why so many YA covers go that way, but that’s never been a cover that has drawn me in as a reader – the exception being my fantasy novel, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, which comes out in October from HarperCollins. That cover prominently features a girl, but the image is so arresting, I don’t even care. I want to read that book because I want to know about that girl – I want to hear her story.
With this book, I was afraid that having a girl or a couple on the cover wouldn’t accurately capture what the book is about. It would have looked like a summer teen romance and it’s just…not that. It’s romantic, but not I wanna hold your hand romantic. I mean, this is a book with sections that drop right into the mind of a nineteen year old Marine who just lost his leg in Afghanistan. It’s a book whose protagonist lives in total poverty and might just lose her chance at a dream she’s worked so hard for – a girl who’s an artist and looks at the world through an artist’s eyes. It’s a book about longing and loss and a love so brutally raw that you’re not sure who will be left standing in the end.
Given all that, I think this design is accessible to both girl and guy readers. I think it tells you that this is going to be a different kind of book – not a quick throwaway read. And the image of the sign with the field gives you a strong sense of place – you want to check out what’s happening there. Because, of course, terribly interesting things happen at motels, no?
This is my “literary” book – but it’s not snooty, I-don’t-know-what-the-point-of-this-is literary. It’s got heart because it’s MY heart, right there on the page for all the world to see (which, by the way, is TERRIFYING). I think the cover signals some of this, which, again, is a really amazing feat by Rich, the designer.
What inspired this quirky motel setting?
The central location of the book is an old roadside motel off Highway 99 that the protagonist, Skylar, and the other major character, Josh, work at. It’s a really cool place: rundown and yet somehow homey. It’s owned by Marge, who’s kind of a mama bear. Of course, interesting people pass through, but it really acts as the place from which Sky and Josh build on their relationship. This book had so many iterations when I first started working on it, but the one constant was the motel. I don’t even know how or why it popped into my head, but I just knew I had to write about this place. I’ve driven up and down Highway 99 so many times in my life, so I guess it called to me, in a way. I’m so glad the cover features it because the motel really symbolizes the book for me. ß
Thanks so much for stopping by, Heather! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in this novel! 🙂
About the Author
When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. She is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for youth of limited economic means. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at www.heatherdemetrios.com and any social media site you can imagine.
Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books, I’ve got 5 ARCs (Advance Readers copy) of I’ll Meet You There for giveaway!
- Open to US and Canada only
- Giveaway ends July 13th, 2014
- Full contest terms and conditions found on Rafflecopter