I do not have any children of my own but I have two nieces who are now in their mid-twenties, pursuing careers that interest them. One is a qualified art therapist; the other works in public relations at Disney and was involved a lot with TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).
Both of my nieces are very special to me. I have mentioned to them that I would like to use their talents along the way as I publish my books.
My older niece, the art therapist, is also a very good artist who has worked some time in a gallery and displayed her own art. I invited her to design the cover of my newest novel which will be coming out shortly.
The novel, The Monarchs, takes place in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for much of the book. I wanted to show the two main characters, a husband and wife, walking in front of the parish church of the town, a huge, salmon-coloured building that resembles the Disney castle. Around the couple is a flurry of monarch butterflies, an important symbol in the book.
I sent my niece a photograph of the church and explained to her the above scene so that she could design the cover of the book this way. I wanted to give her a lot of time, seeing that she is busy with both her job and raising a baby who is about to turn one. Therefore, I mentioned the project to her back in February.
Sometimes, we writers have to adapt our books to unforeseen circumstances. For example, my niece had given the husband a goatee in her picture. I had not written about a goatee in any of my descriptions of the man. But goatees come and go and, during my rewrite of the novel, I wrote in the fact that the man had grown a beard at one point. This fit in well since the man is going through an illness and, as his wife notices, “lets himself go,” getting lazy and neglecting to shave regularly.
Sometimes, we writers look for the simplest ways of making changes in revisions. And sometimes, they are a lot more complicated.