Sunday 25 April 2010

What colour is your book?

No, this question is not only directed at those of you who are already sitting on the top of the tree called published. This  question grew from the very earliest days of planning NEAR EDGWARE, from the time before the book even had a true name.

Picture the scene:
I jog out of Jazzercise, all enthused, one Saturday morning. Pausing beside my car I think, "What shall I write a book about?"
Or, I stagger down the steps of the class, trailing my hand weights behind me, prop myself against the back of the car and think: "What do I know well enough to write a book about?"

It was October, the new term/school year was already under way, autumn was in full swing and it was raining.
With  "You have to write what you know" going around in my head I began to drive. Technically, I was supposed to be driving home. However, I was a bit distracted by the list of things I know well enough to write books about. ;)
Next time I paid attention I realised I had driven the route to my daughter's school, I'd turned right instead of left at the lights, almost as soon as I'd left my class. I had pulled into her school drive to spin around and head back home when I looked - properly - at the stretch of woodland opposite the school. Oh, I knew it was there, everyday when I dropped the Minnow off I reminded her she was forbidden to wait at the bus stop by the woods - she must walk up to the main road - because you never knew what was in there.
Suddenly the rain stopped, sunlight illuminated the woodland bathing the red and brown leaves in golden light. I got out of the car - on autopilot - crossed to the steps leading down to the trees. Slipping through mud, the soft soil made my steps whisper silent. I was yards from the road but miles from anywhere.
Surrounded by majestic trees, jewel bright in the sunlight, I raised my arms. Awed by the beauty, I closed my eyes, the glow was pure orange.
Unfortunately, a sudden snap shocked me back to reality: the man with the black Labrador grinned, and I saw my book.

I have just finished Shiver (where some elements - and not the obvious one - were bizarrely like my own) but it wasn't the inside I coveted, it was the cover I ached to own. I pictured a brown tree standing in orange and gold and it was NEAR EDGWARE, the cover I didn't know I wanted until I superimposed my colours onto the book in my hand.

NEAR EDGWARE is orange and gold.
Each book that follows - has a title, outline, purpose and colour.

Can you see your work-in-progress in colour too?


  1. What a beautiful post Elaine. I've always loved the picture on your sidebar Near Edgware.

    I think I've always seen violet or purple when I think of my historical romance. I don't really 'see' anything. I'll have to give it some more thought. thanks for this.

  2. Love it :)

    For my cover, I always picture something steamy/foggy with maybe some of my characters' inventions peeking through. Mostly grey/soft browns.. Good question.

  3. hmmm... an interesting question.

    I see my novel, With A Name Like Love in shades of green and gray. I think it is the preaching fields and historical setting.

    My new work is far more black and red. that's been fun to dip my toes into.

  4. Very neat question...beyond imaging my cover, I definitely feel that color can best describe the mood of your book. My writing in my current WIP tends toward a deep purple--I have to remember to throw in bits of gold from time to time.
    Great post!

  5. Hi Anne
    You see your romance in violet? That is such a soft and gentle shade; remembrances of times past?

    Hi Jemi
    The foggy, grey/brown of the well-to-do end of the city? I can really see Steampunk in the smoky steamy streets.

    Tess, the contrast between your two works is striking as shown in these colours. I wonder if it is your confidence and determination showing through? ;)

    Faith - Deep purple? I thins that shade always hums on the page. Are you in Ancient Rome? I always think of Ancient Rome and all things religious in deep purple. :)

  6. Fascinating question. My current WIP deals with the Holocaust. I see it in shades of pale gray to deep charcoal & black. In fact the working title is Art and Ashes.