Many of my readers have commented that my book covers are beautiful. I am happy they are appealing and pretty, but I want you, my dedicated readers, to know they are meant to be so much more. Believe it or not, I spend quite a bit of time planning, choosing pictures for a background, and wording the title and subtitle of each volume. I want to tell you about the scheme I came up with before I created the first one and continue to use on each new volume I publish.
Take a really close look at the picture below, the background for The Dream of Shiloh: An Arkansas Love Story. Pick out the thing that most draws you to this picture. I’ll try to tell you why I chose this photograph.
This is the first picture I chose. What brought me to choose this photograph which became the template for the others? Can you guess?
First, this picture could have come from any county in the state of Arkansas, I believe. When I think of my native state, I think of the beautiful trees that still fill much of the acreage that makes up Arkansas. They border fields, follow many of our major roads, even interstate state highways, grace our state parks, cover our mountain sides, and enhance nearly every yard in every neighborhood across “The Natural State.” When I think about why I love this state so much, part of that reason is that we still have trees, forests, and so many natural places. Arkansas is beautiful , partly because we haven’t lost all our natural places. I chose this picture because it reminds of home.
Secondly, the beautiful stream of light pouring through the tree branches provides a promise about the story I hope I have written. This image represents God’s grace. Laurel Campbell’s journey in this saga is more than moving from one cabin in one Arkansas county to another. With the help of people she encounters throughout the books, she moves from a person who knows about God to a woman who knows Him. Over the period of nine years, Laurel changes from a fearful, dependent girl into a mature, interdependent woman who learns about love, able to love people who love her because she comes to understand the concept of grace. Like all of us, the MacLaynes go through times when the grace shines through strong and bright and other times when tragedy and difficult times try to cover the grace. Yet, like the promise of faith, grace is never lost.
I had two purposes for my writing when I started my new career after retiring from teaching more than forty years. I wanted to tell stories about my home state that puts Arkansas in a positive light. Secondly, I hoped to honor God for the role he has had in building Arkansas and the lives of many of us who call ourselves Christians. I hope I have recounted the history of the Arkansas pioneer as I found it through the research I did. I didn’t intend to tell an exaggerated fairytale about this state, but I want to tell the story as I believed it happened. Hardworking, ambitious frontiersmen built a good place to live. They depended on each other and their faith to survive. They used the fertile land of opportunity to build good lives for themselves and their families. They dreamed, built, suffered loss, mourned, and started over at times, but they persevered and succeeded. The history of those who built this state deserves to be saved.
If you have a question about something else on the cover that struck your fancy, send me a message and tell me what you want to know. I’d love to talk to you about what I’ve learned about Arkansas or try explain something about my cover I overlooked. Blessings, Patricia