Someone asked me recently how I came up with the concept for Night and Day’s cover. Well, here’s the story.
When I was initially designing Night and Day’s cover, I knew that Lydia’s internal struggle would play a huge role in the design. I wanted elements to incorporate multiple facets of the story, but mainly through Lydia’s eyes. Lydia’s an artist and I decided to let the cover be her expression. I pictured her sitting in that small room during her confinement at Laurelhurst trying to process her emotions and keeping a record of what happened to her. I could say much more but I’ll reserve that for another blog post.
Each cover in the Laurelhurst Chronicles series will feature a cover as seen through Lydia’s perspective featuring her “artwork”. It’s a way that we see her develop as a character and how the world changes through her eyes. The illustration on the cover of Night and Day is by talented artist Katja Gerasimova.
During Night and Day, we encounter Lydia as she’s just becoming a teenager, but she’s battling childhood memories. I felt that her drawings should have a whimsical, childlike manner but feature a darker tone. Her drawing of the moon and the sun against a dark background echo the reality of today but revert back to the whimsies of her childhood. I was influenced by listening to Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I pictured her chasing the fairies that occupy the night realm when she was a child, much like she would be picturing herself being one of Titania’s train. The night realm is a central figure in this novel because much of her activity and revelations occur through dreams.
At the beginning of the novel, we find Lydia in a period of darkness as she’s separated from her family due to the war and she’s thrust into a world of intrigue. She’s uncovering and rediscovering shadowy specters from childhood as she’s on the cusp of adolescence. Her art echoes the dark, grim time that surrounds her during the war. The moon is larger in her art because darkness overtakes her both literally and figuratively both in her struggle to regain herself and the overall atmosphere of the war.
As Lydia begins to conquer her fears and the darkness around her, we see her add a smaller sun and the stars to her drawing. The sun represents, of course, the light that is dawning and her gaining strength. Art imitates life as towards the end of the war around her, people begin seeing the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.”
The stars surrounding the moon and sun represent guiding lights that we often have around us. In Lydia’s life, those guiding stars are people very dear to her. Many of us look up to the stars when we miss those that we love. For Lydia, these stars are her parents and other family members that are looking down on her.
I also used stars to reference Stardust, a beautiful masterpiece written by Hoagy Carmichael in the 1920’s. It’s featured in the novel as a reflection of lost love and bygone years. The latter part of Night and Day reveals Alistair’s reflection on life and love as a middle-aged man. Its haunting lyrics echo his sentiments so well.
My friend Kathryn White brought my vision together to create a design that echoes suspense and magic yet in keeping with historical elements of the period. When designing the typography for The Laurelhurst Chronicles logo, I referred to my collection of books by Daphne du Maurier, printed in the 1940’s, such as Rebecca and Frenchman’s Creek. I wanted it to have that vintage, timeless feeling. I hope you enjoy it.
In the next blog post, I’ll discuss the role of Lydia’s artwork more in depth as a key piece of evidence in her testimony as a child.