Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Story Behind The Cover: Shake Down the Stars by Renee Swindle #giveaway

Renee Swindle is on a blog tour sponsored by CLP Blog Tours.I adore the book cover for Shake Down the Stars. Renee Swindle here to explain where it came from. Renee is giving away  $30 Amazon gift card.

I’m so glad readers are responding to the cover of Shake Down The Stars.  I’ve heard more than once, I love the cover, and I love hearing that!  I wish I could take credit for it, but the art department at New American Library (Penguin) designed everything. Initially, the house they used on the cover looked like a house in the south. My editor checked in with me to see my thoughts and asked if the house looked Californian or not.  When I told her it didn’t, she asked me to send pictures.  I went to various realty sites and sent a variety of cottage homes and stucco houses in the area. We ultimately went with the house that’s on the cover now. Choosing the right house was the only minor blip along the way, though.

There’s a lot of family drama (with a capital D!) in Shake Down The Stars, and I thought the art department’s idea to put a house on the cover instead of some indiscriminate family was perfect.  Piper, the narrator of the story, isn’t close to her mother nor sister.  I think she represents many people who feel like the outsider in the family. The flowers in the front, to me, symbolize Piper’s beauty and strength. Piper tries to overcome a tragic loss by sleeping around and drinking. But she’s ultimately a strong character and the book is actually funny and offers hope—at least I’ve been told! At any rate, those flowers in a sense remind me that there’s beauty in everyone and I think that’s a major theme in the novel. 

Finally the stars and night sky harken to Piper’s love of astronomy.  It’s when she gazes at the stars that she feels happiest.  The art department also came up with the idea to put a light row of stars and faint moon at the top of every page of the book. 

I have to say, I lucked out when it came to the design of the novel and the wonderful staff at NAL/Penguin.

The Blurb
When you’re in trouble, and sinking fast, who do you call?

Piper Nelson is stuck. She can’t quite stay away from the husband she divorced. She isn’t always attentive to the high school students she teaches. And even she admits that she’s been drinking too much and seeking out unsuitable men. Piper’s mother, married to a celebrity evangelist, and her sister, immersed in plans to wed a professional football player and star in a reality TV show, are both too self-absorbed to sympathize with Piper’s angst. They tell her to get a grip. But how can Piper ever really recover from the blow she suffered five years ago, when a car accident took the life of her young daughter?

When Piper’s ex-husband announces his new girlfriend is pregnant, Piper is forced to take stock. Realizing that it’s time for a change is one step, but actually making it happen is quite another. And despite what she thinks, Piper can’t do it alone Lucky for her, a couple of crazy, funny new friends are ready to step in when she needs them most…and show her how to live and laugh again.

Author Bio:
Renee Swindle is the author of Shake Down The Stars (NAL/Penguin) available now.
Her first novel, Please Please Please, was published by the Dial Press/Dell. Please Please Please was also published in Germany as Mehr Mehr Mehr and published in Japan.  Please Please Please was an Essence Magazine bestseller.

Renee Swindle earned her BA from UC Irvine and MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University. She lives in Oakland, California 

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  1. Renee, I absolutely love the cover of Shake Down the Stars. Sounds amazing.

  2. Sounds like a great book. Lovely cover!


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