Cover Story: The Traitor in the Tunnel

Hello, friends! I’m so excited to share with you the behind-the-scenes photos from Candlewick Press’s recent photo shoot for the cover of The Traitor in the Tunnel. As you’ll see, it’s the same team as last time. The model, Amber Ahlquist, looks a wee bit older (I guess even models are subject to the passage of time) and we found the same stylist, Crystal Thompson, which particularly thrills me to pieces, because she’s an expert on nineteenth-century fashion. All photos are by designer Heather McGee.

The shoot took place in New York. The severe black gown is part of Mary’s uniform as a housemaid at Buckingham Palace. Her hairstyle is equally plain, to suit her assignment.

Oh, that vexing apron. Aprons are meant, in theory, to protect your dress from the muck and filth of housework (open fires, stone-flagged floors…). Yet white aprons show every bit of dirt and wear, so they’re incredibly difficult to keep clean and crisp. Yes, Mary finds this annoying.

The model is photographed against a white backdrop.

Afterwards, her image is placed into context: this time, it’s a drawing room at the Palace.

From these images, to this:

And that’s the cover story! What do you think?

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23 Responses to “Cover Story: The Traitor in the Tunnel”

  1. fishgirl182 says:

    thanks for the insight into the cover. i love the covers to this series and it’s fun to see how they are made. and yes, i think white aprons are a bit impractical at least if they’re supposed to stay clean looking.

  2. Love this! I’m particularly intrigued with the fact that a “stock” image was not used (which is often the reason I’ve heard for white images on books about characters of color) – how was this model found/chosen? Did you have any input? She does seem so much like the character’s descriptions…

  3. Sarah says:

    Wow! This is SO COOL! I love the crinoline and the corset and the mutton sleeves. And what a gorgeous cover!!

  4. Radha says:

    The book cover is great, but why did you change the title? And which one do you like better, “in” or “and?”

  5. Crystal says:

    I love that cover! I think Mary is P-E-R-F-E-C-T and to have someone on the cover helps to be able to visualize the character better! I just finished T&tT yesterday but sadly in australia we don’t have thoses covers :( but that doesn’t matter I can still see them on here!!

  6. Mara A. says:

    That’s really awesome; thanks for sharing! I had a general understanding of how they did photo shoots for book covers, but it’s neat seeing actual pictures from a photo shoot.

  7. Prangon says:

    It’s absolutely beautiful. I love the book, finished just last week :)
    But sadly my copy seem to have another cover ;(

  8. Chin Yen says:

    Interesting! They sure go to great lengths to get the image for the cover. Did you have any say in this?

  9. Ying says:

    Thank you so much, everyone! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos; I love having a window into what happened. Sayantani, Candlewick is scrupulous about accuracy (and I don’t believe they’ve ever been called out for a whitewashed cover), so they chose a model whose racial background accurately reflects Mary’s. I wasn’t involved in the selection but I’m absolutely thrilled about it. And I suspect that the “stock image” excuse is just that, an excuse. After all, it’s possible to create a cover without an image of the (wrong) protagonist. Radha, my US editors suggested that “in” flowed better than “and”, and I agreed to the change. And Prangon, this is the US & Canadian cover. I think you must have the UK/World edition.

  10. Barmy_Bex says:

    Cool, looks so good. Love to see how these things happen. 😀
    Thanks for the insight.

  11. Mary says:

    Hi Ying,
    Thanks for sharing the photos. So cool. Can’t wait to read it.

  12. MelodyJ says:

    I love the new cover. I like that it flows with the others in the series. It’s fun to get these behind scenes glimpses. Can’t wait to see the fourth cover. Do you think we will ever get the see how the international covers are made?

  13. Cialina says:

    Oh I love it! I don’t think i’ve ever read about the photoshoot behind a cover before. :)

  14. trillian says:

    I can’t wait for the last book! I just have one question, is someone already talked to you about an adaptation for tv (period drama) or maybe cinema? one of your french reader ask me that question:)

  15. Oh, what fun. Did you attend this (or the prior) shoot? I hope a New York trip was one of the perks of authorship!

  16. Ying says:

    Thank you, Cialina! There are Cover Stories for each title in the series, if you’re interested – see the menu at left. Trillian, I haven’t sold TV or film rights yet, but that would be amazing. And Nina, I wish I could’ve been there! *sigh* Maybe next time…

  17. TenFran says:

    My Goodness! I love your series a lot I just can’t wait to read The Traitor in the Tunnel! Can’t wait! Is there going to be a fourth book in the series, and is this series going to be a movie? I think it should. It’s awesome and they need to make Canadian books into movies nowadays. Do you agree?

  18. Ying says:

    Hi TenFran, and thank you for your very kind words! Yes, I’m working on the fourth Agency novel right now. It’s called Rivals in the City. No movie deal yet, but we can always hope. I’d absolutely love to see it happen. And yes, there are so many wonderful Canadian books crying out for film adaptation!

  19. rayray says:

    is the rivals on the city going to come out in the US a couple of months after the UK like the traitor in the tunnel?

  20. Ying says:

    Rayray, we don’t have pub dates yet (I’m still working on Rivals), so I’m not sure. I’ll be sure to update you as soon as I know anything!

  21. […] For more behind the book information, check out this post at Ying’s blog to read about the cover’s photo shoot! […]

  22. This is so cool! I love all the covers of your books and I especially love that they have the same model for each cover. I think it makes Mary seem more real than a generic cartoon cover or generic mysterious cover. They are some of my favorite YA covers!

  23. Ying says:

    Thank you, Sarah! I adore them.

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