authorthoughts: lisa m. stasse & the forsaken

Hear ye, hear ye!

No seriously, have y’all heard about the book, The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse?

To be perfectly honest, when Courtney Summers told me about this cover art on Twitter, the first thing I thought was, “What?” The second thing I thought was, “That’s some crazybusiness.” And then when I finally decided to act like an adult, I hopped on Google, needing to find out who designed the cover as well as who was responsible for that photography.

There are some covers that are attractive by way of mystery. In fact, if I could borrow a trope from Forever Young Adult’s reviews, I’d peg this cover as falling deftly into the category of “mysterious loner dude” and call it a day. It’s the kind of cover that makes you wonder how it came to look like that. What kind of journey has this faceless girl been on? Why is she faceless? Why is a satellite there instead of her brain. And yet — it isn’t purposefully obtuse, but provocative. A layer of desaturation coated with harsh and colorful lines certainly serves up an interesting YA cover cocktail. I’m hoping The Forsaken will stand out proudly on shelves from the rest of the pack.

The lovely Lisa M. Stasse herself was kind enough to stop by TCG today and let me prod her brain a bit for even more cover-lovin’. Without further ado, welcome, Lisa!

TCG: Let’s delve a little bit into The Forsaken’s story before getting to its cover art. What is The Forsaken all about?

LMS: The Forsaken is about a girl named Alenna Shawcross who fails a government personality test (that supposedly tests for subversive and violent tendencies) and gets banished to a mysterious island called The Wheel that is controlled by machines. She has to forge alliances among the other banished kids, fight for survival, and find a way off the island. In the process of escaping, she falls in love with a boy—but her love gets tested. And she also learns some surprising things about the government, the island, and her own identity as well. So The Forsaken is definitely a dystopian novel, but one with a few big, unexpected twists! It’s being released July 10 by Simon & Schuster.

When it came to cover design time with S&S, did you have any input? If so, what suggestions were you able to make? Were you able to provide your designer/AD with covers that you liked? 

I really had my fingers crossed that I would get lucky with the cover. The credit for this cover goes completely to the fabulous designer Lizzy Bromley (as well as the photographer Dan Mountford and my editor Courtney Bongiolatti at Simon & Schuster). This is what they came up with on their own. Everyone who first saw the cover, myself included, completely loved it. I had a feeling that Lizzy would come up with something really cool—and she did. She’s done a lot of great covers over the past few years.

Lizzy Bromley certainly is an artistic genius. And Dan Mountford! Timeout folks, but you need to see this guy’s work.

(used with permission)

That’s not a Photoshop job, either. It’s an in-camera technique that produces a double exposure. Coincidentally, it also produces a need for fantastic art directors to work with you, too.

What was your reaction when you first saw the final comp for The Forsaken’s cover art. Surprise? Joy? Squeeing?

I was absolutely THRILLED when I saw the cover! It was everything I was hoping for. Something that looked really different and colorful, and would hopefully stand out. I also love how Lizzy tied it into the themes of the book as well. I think in this moment in time, it’s important for a book to stand out and have some personality.

What’s your favorite element (Yes! Only one element!) on the cover?

I love how the girl’s face is made up of those multicolored lines. I think it gives it a sort of edgy, unique look. It’s a little mysterious. And it ties in with the story too.

What’s your overall opinion in regards to cover art in the YA realm? Generally speaking, do you think that YA tends to flail in the shallow end of the design pool, or have you noticed more and more covers (like The Forsaken’s) breaking molds as of late? 

I think YA covers are getting better and better. There are definitely some covers that look fairly similar to each other, but I’m starting to see more unusual ones emerge from the pack. I love it when I discover a book with a really fantastic cover. Whether it’s just a really beautiful one, or a really strange one, I tend to get excited about it.

Name three of your favorite covers (they don’t have to be YA).

So here are three favorite covers:

1. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. (It’s a really gorgeous image—and the way it’s positioned makes it an extremely surreal and eye-catching cover).

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  (I love the black and white photo of the ghostly girl—the whole look of this cover is great).

3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano. (I love the design elements laid over that fantastic image—another great cover that was designed by Lizzy Bromley.)

There are so many opinions out there in regards to what makes a particular cover attractive. What makes exceptional cover art stand out to you?

I love covers that are unique and unusual—and stand out in a good way. I love it when designers, photographers, publishers, and authors take chances and come up with something really cool and different for the readers. Cover art that stands out to me is bold and colorful and risky and beautiful and vibrant (or at least some of those things!) The best covers should be like little works of art themselves.

Thank you so much for the interview, Lisa!

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7 thoughts on “authorthoughts: lisa m. stasse & the forsaken

  1. I’m always excited to peek behind the scenes in a covermaking process, and it’s for one of my favorite covers of 2012 as well!! Not only is it super duper pretty it’s also very unique and intriguing. Thank you Capillya and Lisa for this wonderful interview!!

  2. If I knew how to in-camera technique like that I would do it ALL THE TIME! (or until it was no longer fun…if that’s possible)

  3. I’ve been crushing on Dan’s work for ages, it’s so amazing. I even tried to pay him some homage in one of my designs but it definitely pales in comparison.
    That cover is gorgeous and puts this book on my wish list :)

  4. There are so many THINGS in this cover that I’ve found myself staring at it for long periods of time, several times, since I first saw it on someone’s Waiting on Wednesday post. I think every time I see it, I see something different that I’m noticing for the first time. (Kind of like the Lizzie Bromley Chemical Garden covers…) and I LOVE that about ANY cover, YA or not. This one is fantastic.

  5. That cover is AWESOME. It’s complicated, and usually complicated covers are a turn-off for me, but this one is just too freakin’ gorgeous.

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