Saturday, April 28, 2007

Judging A Book By Its Cover


What does the image above make you think about? How's it make you feel? Would you buy a book with this image on the cover?

The Merge Press people have asked me to search around on Istockphoto.com for images I think might be good to incorporate on my novel's cover. This is one of the cool things about working with an indepedent press: they solicit your input.

If you have image ideas that you think might be good, I'd love it if you'd send them my way. For guidance, here's the official lowdown on my novel:

Only hours after 17-year-old Norma Rogers' parents drop her off at the college dorms, Norma finds herself drunk and nearly naked with three strangers. This is the opening to FOR THE MAY QUEEN, an edgy romp of a novel about a young woman’s sexual misadventures her first year away from home in the early 1980’s. The strip poker event is the first of many experiences that prompt Norma to question who she is—and who she wants to be.

Norma's relationships with an array of characters induce her to grapple with society's messages about women, sex, and freedom. These characters include Jack, her aloof on-again, off-again boyfriend; Goat, her antsy dorm neighbor; Liz Chan, a pot-smoking sorority girl; Benny Moss, a nerdy guy who has a thing for Liz; and Paul Fellows, Benny's roommate, whom Norma calls “Chuck” because he reminds her of Charlie Brown. Chuck, a witty aficionado of old films, dubs her “Norma Jean.” Chuck plays a pivotal role in Norma's discoveries about life's possibilities, as does Norma's roommate Stacy—a beautiful, kind, and somewhat mysterious blonde.

Many tumultuous events take Norma (and the reader) through an array of troubles, pleasures, and thrills: from drug use and ominous encounters with strangers, to rowdy parties and road trips. In the midst of these incidents—which are peppered with 1970's and 1980's pop cultural references—Norma reflects on her desire for freedom (sexual and otherwise). Reinforcing these themes are the intermittent appearances of her middle-class parents and her sister, as well as her best friend from high school whose life in a small town—as she prepares for her upcoming wedding—is poles apart from Norma’s. Ultimately Norma comes to see that there are many ways to live and love.

FOR THE MAY QUEEN is a lively look at college sex, the double standards of promiscuity, and the fact that sex and sexuality are always so much more complex than they seem. A smart yet highly readable, madcap yet tender novel, FOR THE MAY QUEEN is packed with surprising plot twists and unforgettable characters.
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