Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Gratitude abounds—I've received so many kind words regarding my spankin' new website!

I've also received several questions about what I look like...which surprises me, actually. Especially in this age of cover-art-sans-faces. I'm thinking of the completely headless images of young girls splashed across the covers of Mary E. Pearson's A Room on Lorelei Street, Laurie Faria Stolarz's Deadly Little Secret, Rachel Cohn's Gingerbread (hardback edition, of course), and pretty much anything by Sarah Dessen: Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, Along for the Ride...

Other recent covers depict partial or obscured faces (Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak or Lisa Yee's Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time), and some avoid using any kind of portrait at all: Sara Zarr's Sweethearts, David Levithan's The Realm of Possibility, Lisa McMann's Fade, Linda Joy Singleton's Witch Ball, and pretty much anything by Ellen Hopkins: Glass, Tricks, etc.

The tactic bleeds into adult literature as well: In the romance genre, for example (picture the cover of Susan Wiggs' Just Breathe, featuring a photo of a woman taken from the back). And mystery (the faceless girls racing around a tree on the cover of Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know).

Whew—and these are all examples I just pulled from my bookshelf!

Okay, okay, so there are plenty of covers out there that break this rule...but for my book buying money, I like the headless art. The same way I like to read a book before I see the movie. The writer in me likes the chance to fashion the heroes and villains in my own imagination...and, yes, I love to imagine the writer, too...suede elbow patches and pipe, or ripped jeans and piercings. I like to picture a person who fits the persona of the book...like to believe that maybe the voice screaming through the chapters has roots somewhere in the real world (feels less like losing a friend when I turn the final page).

But it poses an interesting question: Does a photo of an author destroy the fantasy? Or does a picture hovering over a bio on a website suddenly make him / her real?

And for those who asked about my own mug, I've got two words: Gwyneth. Paltrow. (Enter wacky emoticon of your choice here.)

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