Behind-the-Scenes Cover Story: The Making of A Beautiful Dark

I am PSYCHED to be hosting Jocelyn Davies on the blog for the next few weeks as part of The Dark Days of Supernatural Tour presented by Harper Teen! If you’re interested in some awesome giveaways and fun content, check out the Dark Days of Supernatural on Facebook!

I’ve loved the Dark Days promos in the past and there are some exciting books featured this time around too! I hope that I can make it to a Dark Days event! (Although it’s not looking to good at this point.) I’ll post the dates at the bottom of the post for those of you who are interested in that!

There is also a digital essentials page for Dark Days goodies! Like countdown widgets, chapter excerpts, ebook samplers and images! If you are a blogger and want to grab some widgets, that is the place to go!

Check out the official Dark Days video:



As part of my Dark Days post today, I have Jocelyn Davies talking about the cover of A Beautiful Dark!

When you first start writing, a book is just an idea that lives in your head. You have a sense of who the characters are, and where the story will go. Or maybe you don’t know where the story will go, and you’re trying to figure it out as you go along. Or maybe you’ve known all along where the story will go, but then you change something about one of the characters, and soon the plot is off and running in another direction completely. That’s what’s so exciting about the process of writing a novel: it lives, and breathes, and stretches its arms, and grows into something new and unexpected. But even then, you’re dealing in ideas and words. There’s still something wily and intangible about it, like even though you’ve hit “save” a million times, you could close your computer screen and the book might rearrange itself in the night, all on its own.

For me, the moment that I saw the cover design for the first time was the moment that the book became tangible to me. I finally had a visual, something that I could anchor my ideas to.

I always envisioned the title—A Beautiful Dark—in a distinctive font that played on the contrast of the words and took center stage on the cover. So I was on the floor (literally, clutching the print-out) the first time my editor showed me a mockup of the cover that the designer, Erin Fitzsimmons, created. It was a rough sketch of the cover you see now: the clouds were greyer and stormier, Skye’s dress was wispier, and a mad wind was blowing her hair all over the place. But it was the title that made me squeal out loud: a balance of flowy script and rugged, stamp-like block letters. It reminded me of wearing an ethereal dress with tough boots. It was a cool, surprising contrast—just like Skye, the main character, who is a seemingly normal girl with secret reserves of power.

For the final cover they did a photo shoot, so a lot changed from the mockup. Yes, it’s now different than that original image I’d anchored myself to, but, like the book itself, it grew in new and unexpected ways. It’s more streamlined and a little less wild, but all of the pieces come together more seamlessly. The clouds deepened from steel gray to a moody blue, and the title eased from black to gradations of gray and white that feels simultaneously subtler and more dramatic. My favorite part about seeing the final jacket was noticing the little details that Erin included—like the white and black wings on the spine, which she carried through to the chapter openers and page numbers in the interior.

We don’t yet have covers for books two and three, but I can’t wait to see how Erin makes each book its own, while also continuing the amazing contrasts she established in A Beautiful Dark.


Brace yourself for the DARK DAYS ahead! Meet HarperTeen authors Claudia Gray (FATEFUL), Kiersten White (SUPERNATURALLY), Amy Garvey (COLD KISS), Anna Carey, (EVE), and Jocelyn Davies (A BEAUTIFUL DARK) as they visit the follow cities:

Wednesday, October 12th
7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway
*Lynnwood, WA*
with Claudia Gray, Kiersten White, Amy Garvey, and Anna Carey

Thursday, October 13th
7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
7881 Edinger Avenue
*Huntington Beach, CA*
with Claudia Gray, Kiersten White, Amy Garvey, and Anna Carey

Friday, October 14th
7:00 PM
Tattered Cover
9315 Dorchester Street
*Highlands Ranch, CO*
with Claudia Gray, Kiersten White, Amy Garvey, and Jocelyn Davies

Saturday, October 15th
1:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
2999 Pearl Street
*Boulder, CO*
with Claudia Gray, Kiersten White, Amy Garvey, and Jocelyn Davies

Sunday, October 16th
2:00 PM
Anderson’s
123 West Jefferson
*Naperville, IL*
with Claudia Gray, Kiersten White, Amy Garvey, and Jocelyn Davies

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