The Surplus Girls' Orphans


This cover is very special to me because I had the chance to be involved on the design process. I had a family photo from the 1920s, with my grandmother as a young woman sitting on a bench with her much younger half-brother sitting at her feet. His cheeky face and bright smile were loaded with character and the whole image was - or would have been - perfect for the cover.


Unfortunately, the resolution of the photo wasn't high enough, so the picture couldn't be used. After that, my editor and the cover designer decided in principle what they wanted. The designer created the backdrop of buildings and bunting, with the title in purple (I love it - purple is my favourite colour) and the overall colour being a light blue to tone in with the blue of book 1's cover.


So the background and title were sorted out, but they weren't completely sure about the various components that would create the best central image.


And that was where I came in. I was offered a selection of 1920s photos of young women to look through and comment on. The two women in the picture above were originally in a group of five women walking along. There was a gap between these two women and the other three, which made it easy to crop out these two.


My editor also wanted to have a child or children in the picture. A couple of attempts at introducing a child from another photo didn't really work. With the two women walking along, a child would have to be walking at the same pace to look like a natural part of the image.


Then the deisgner had the brilliant idea of putting children into the background. She came up with several terrific pictures - atmospheric, of the time and also suitable for the type of children in the book. I was shown all the pictures, out of which my editor had chosen her two favourites - the one you can see on the cover, of the boys playing football, and another, smaller picture of boys playing marbles. I agreed with her that these were the best pictures, but what made the football picture stand out for me was its width - the picture stretched across the cover so that the boys were playing football on both sides of the walking women, whereas the marbles picture was on one side only of the women.


So there we have it - the story of how a book cover came into being.


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One Photograph - Two Beautiful Covers


This is the photograph mentioned above, from which the two women on the front of The Surplus Girls' Orphans were taken.









And here is the cover of Christmas with the Surplus Girls, which shows how the other part of the original photo was used.