Hi everyone, today we have Jillian Cantor! She’ll be telling us about how the cover for The September Sisters came about!
I think the most striking feature of The September Sisters’ cover is the pretty blue sapphire heart necklace. But when I was writing the story, when the idea of the necklace first came to me, I wasn’t thinking about a future book cover. I was thinking a little bit about my own childhood, and the necklaces my grandparents had once, a long time ago, given to my sister and me. Unlike the pretty book hearts, our real gift necklaces were something we always thought of as ugly. My sister and I would, occasionally, wear them when we saw our grandparents, as a nice gesture, but otherwise we kept them in their original boxes. I guess it’s not so much that they’re ugly, but that they are what my sister and I always called old-lady necklaces, like something our grandmother might have worn. They are bright, shiny gold, with a funny oversized J-shape charm, with a pearl (our birthstone) in the center. Not the kind of thing we would’ve been caught dead wearing to school!
In The September Sisters, much like in my own life, the sapphire necklace is a gift that both sisters get from their grandmother. I don’t want to include any spoilers, but since it says this in the jacket description, I’ll mention it – in the book, the pretty sapphire necklace is the only clue the police find in Becky’s disappearance. The only material object left behind. And thus (without saying too much) I’ll just say that the necklace takes on so much meaning over the course of the book, that it seems only fitting for it to be on the cover.
In fact, as soon as my editor asked me what ideas I had for the cover, the first thing that came to mind was that necklace. It’s funny the way tiny objects can represent so much more. In books and in life. In my own life now, many, many years after my grandparents gave me that necklace – my grandfather is dead, and my grandmother barely has any memory left. Sometimes I take out the necklace, and I feel overwhelmed with gratefulness to have it. Because it is the only solid piece of them I have, the only material object left to remember them by.
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