I am excited that Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife Mysteries, was able to join me on my blog today! To celebrate the fact that The Midwife's Tale is now available as an E-Book for just $2.99, Sam shares the story behind his cover! (Head over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to pick up your copy!)
One question that a lot of readers have asked is how The Midwife’s Tale wound up with its cover, and whether I had any say in its creation. It’s a pretty great question with an interesting answer.
When I envisioned the cover of The Midwife’s Tale, I wanted it to look like a seventeenth-century book, largely in keeping with my original title, Bloody News from York. The image I had in mind was something like this book from 1635:
I thought that this cover would both capture my setting and the central tension of the book, whether a woman would be burned at the stake.
Unfortunately, kept this idea to myself for a bit too long, and before I said anything to my editor, he sent this cover:
I was floored. I loved the darkness, the color scheme, the way the light played across the figure’s back… nearly everything about it.
The one concern my agent had was that it seemed a bit too still. I had written a murder story, after all, and he thought it could use a bit more danger. We suggested putting a knife in her hand, and perhaps replacing the stalks of grain on the table with a mortar and pestle.
This is where Minotaur came through for me the first time. By all rights, they could have said, “Nope, this is it.” But they didn’t. They came back with a modified cover:
If you look closely, we’ve got a mortar and pestle, and (even better) a knife. But both of these are overshadowed by the cooking pot. And we now have the question of where the woman’s right arm is.
So we tried again, and once again Minotaur came through gorgeously. We found a image we liked (created by a Russian artist), and then the art department integrated it with the figure in a way that is nothing short of incredible.
We’ve got the knife (but now more menacing) a glass on its side (which also fits with the plot), and even a right arm! I know all parents think their babies are beautiful, but mine really is.
I can’t say enough good things about my agent (Josh Getzler) and editor (Charlie Spicer), as well as the artists at Minotaur/St. Martins, who put up with my requests that we keep trying. I’m certainly happy, and I hope that they are as well.
Historian. Mystery writer. Researcher. Teacher. Occasional blogger.