Posts Tagged ‘cover art’

Cover story: Rivals in the City

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Hello, friends. Happy Canada Day, and Happy Fourth of July this weekend!

This week, I’m very excited to bring you some behind-the-scenes images from the cover photo shoot for Rivals in the City.

These pictures were taken in New York by Candlewick Press designer Heather McGee. As you can see, Candlewick used the same model, Amber Ahlquist, to represent Mary Quinn on every cover in the series. What might not be so obvious is that they’re also working with the same costume stylist, makeup artist, and photographer! I’m so grateful for Candlewick’s consistent attention to detail. It makes such a huge difference in the final product.

Here’s a shot of Crystal Thompson (stylist; behind model) and Souraya Hamdi (makeup artist) at work.

photo 1

Victorian dresses often came in two pieces: a shirtwaist (ie, a blouse) and a skirt. As you can see here, this one is a single garment. It fastens at the front because, as a woman without a ladies’ maid, Mary Quinn would have to dress herself. Dresses that buttoned down the back were a sign of social status: the lady who wore those would have a maid who helped her to dress and undress.

photo 2

Here’s photographer Scott Nobles checking light exposures. Models seem to spend a huge amount of time getting prepped and waiting around, and a relatively short time actually being photographed.

photo 3

A few minor costume adjustments, between shots.

photo 4

And makeup, too. Perfectly historically accurate Victorian makeup, of course.

photo 5

I love the juxtaposition of jeans and pocket-cameras with 1860s costume!

photo 6

And there we are. I know I’m biased, but I love seeing how much effort goes into the creation of a book cover. Thank you, Candlewick!

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A beautiful reminder

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Hello, friends. How was your week? I’ve  been writing, weeding, baking, and judging a teen writing contest, among other things. A few days ago, I received a large parcel from my former literary agency. Most peculiar! Most mysterious!

I opened it and found these, to my great astonishment:

Y S Lee, A Spy in the House (Korean edition)

I’m extremely embarrassed to confess this, but I’d pretty much forgotten about the Korean edition of A Spy in the House, which is published by the delightfully named Tomato House.

Can you make out that gorgeous embossed key motif? The keys seem to dangle from the top of the cover.

Y S Lee, A Spy in the House (Korean ed)

Here’s the spine:

Y S Lee, A Spy in the House (Korean ed)

I can’t read a word of Korean, but I do love poring over the first page:


And I adore these endpapers.


Sometimes, I get a bit too accustomed to being a working writer. My daily life of creativity starts to feel very normal. And then something like this arrives and elbows me sharply beautifully in my over-privileged ribs.

Thank you, readers of the world! I’m so very fortunate to do what I do, and it’s because of you.

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Cover reveal: Rivals in the City

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Hello, friends. I’m posting a day early this week, because I’m having trouble controlling my excitement. Today, I am absolutely delighted to share with you the cover for Rivals in the City. This is the Candlewick Press edition, to be published in the US and Canada in February 2015.

Rivals in the City, by Y S Lee

Isn’t it perfect? Every time I see it (which is quite frequently), I smile and sigh with satisfaction.

You can read the first chapter for free, right here.

But that’s not all! Today, I am also the guest of the Booksmugglers. Over there, I share some behind-the-scenes images from the cover photo shoot and talk about the making of the Agency covers. AND Candlewick Press is very generously giving away a whole bunch of Rivals ARCs! Go on, click click click!

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Rivals in the City!

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Hello, friends! My wish came true: this week, just in time for the holidays, I got permission to share with you the UK/World cover for Rivals in the City. The artwork is by David McDougall at Walker Books and I love it, I love it, I love it. I hope you do, too!

And here’s the back-cover description:

Convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and the Agency asks Mary to take on one last case: to watch for the return of his estranged wife. Mrs Thorold is an accomplished criminal and will surely want to settle scores with Mary’s fiancé, James. With the additional complications of family and conflicting loyalties, the stakes for all involved are higher than ever.

This is the British edition and it’s scheduled to be published in June 2014. I am tremendously excited about this, and will update about the US/Canadian cover and pub date as soon as I can.

Happy December holidays, everyone! I hope you have splendid celebrations.

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Mary Quinn, in new guise

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Good morning, friends. Um. It was -36 degrees C in Kingston this morning, if you factor in the wind chill. (That’s -32.8F, if you’re wondering.) I realize that’s just a regular winter day if you live in, say, Saskatoon, but I have never been happier to put on my merino longjohns. I feel sorry for everybody who has to work outdoors today. But I did NOT feel sorry for the FedEx guy, when he trudged (unhappily) up my path, bearing THIS!

Yes, it’s an early paperback copy of The Traitor in the Tunnel, which will release next month. And I know I’ve been in raptures about beautiful cover art recently, but I hope you’ll humour me (again) in admiring this one. Candlewick Press puts so much time and love into each book, and I’m incredibly fortunate to be published by them.

Until next week!


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A Spy in the House, redesigned!

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Hello, friends! I just received an absolutely wonderful surprise in the mail. (If you’re thinking that authors often receive delightful surprises in the mail, you’re right. As if we need another reason to feel privileged…) It was a bulging, oversized sack containing a envelope full of this:

Yes, that image is massive. Can you tell I’m excited? Ideally, I’d like to be able to see it from the moon.

This is the redesigned cover that’s now on the UK and Australian editions of A Spy in the House. The full cover looks like this:

I love everything about this cover: colour, font, background image, the Mary Quinn logo that looks like a cameo, the rubbed and weathered effect around the corners… I have one front and centre in my study and every time I glance at it, I smile.

The old cover, the first UK cover, looked like this:

I still think this is a strong cover. The gloves glow, the fonts are well chosen, and I love the map of London in the background. It’s also a great homage to classic mystery design (think Agatha Christie), which often shows key plot elements in a kind of still-life.

But this one? This one is a stunner. I’m so glad that my UK publisher, Walker Books, redesigned it for this new printing. And I’m ecstatic to know that it’s now out there, in bookstores.

What do you think? Thoughts, impressions, preferences?

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This is the month!

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Hello, friends. Is it just me, or was this the shortest January ever? I’d still be in denial about its passing, except that I’m so excited for the North American publication of The Traitor in the Tunnel. So it was utterly appropriate that yesterday, as I sat eating lunch, a chipper FedEx guy turned up at my door with this:

I wish this photo did justice to how exquisite this book really is. It could be the colour scheme (my favourite colour is red) but I think this is the most beautiful Candlewick edition yet. And in 27 days, it will be in bookstores everywhere! There’ll be a blog tour happening that week, involving some of my favourite YA book bloggers. And I’ve also begun planning a launch party in Kingston, so if you’re local, I hope you’ll plan to pop in on Saturday, March 3 for food, festivities, and general frippery.

Finally, here’s the bit of the cover that I always have trouble visualizing, even after seeing an electronic version of the cover: what the spine looks like, lined up with the others.

So, what do you think?

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Cover Story: The Traitor in the Tunnel

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

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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The Traitor in the Tunnel!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Hello, friends! I’m so thrilled today to share with you the North American cover for The Traitor in the Tunnel:

Those of you with an editorial eye will now be wondering, “The Traitor and the Tunnel” or ” The Traitor in the Tunnel”? Why are you so inconsistent, Ying? Don’t you know the title of your own book? In fact, there are two slightly different titles. I originally chose “and” because I wanted the title to allude to different traitors and different tunnels, and that’s what we did at Walker Books for the UK edition. But the fine editors at Candlewick Press felt that “in” sounded better – faster, snappier, cleaner. And once it was pointed out to me, I agreed. So the North American edition is The Traitor in the Tunnel. Did you think it was possible to agonize this much over a simple conjunction or preposition? 😉

I also wanted to share with you an absolutely lovely review of Traitor by Niranjana Iyer of Brown Paper. Iyer says, “The richness of detail, the intelligent writing, the intricate plots, and superbly-drawn characters elevate this series miles above most YA offerings on the shelves today; I’m delighted to hear this trilogy now has a fourth installment in store for its many devotees.” Thank you so much, Nina!

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The Traitor and the Tunnel

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

At long last! I now have official permission to share with you the UK cover for The Traitor and the Tunnel, coming in August 2011 from Walker Books.

The full jacket is here. You can click on the image to read the official description.

So, what do you think? (And thank you, Becky, for the tip-off!)

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