In addition to the considerable time and effort it takes to research, write, and edit a book, designing an attractive cover is also a challenge. For my new novel, Bay of Hope, I decided to do it myself.
A book cover should show the reader the world they are about to enter. Given that Bay of Hope is a novel about environmental conservation and drug trafficking in Mexico, I wanted to display the physical setting and include icons and themes that figure prominently in the book. Since Mexico has a long tradition of printmaking for newspapers, popularized by José Guadalupe Posada (famous for his skeletons, or calaveras) in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, I decided to produce my own linocut print to represent my novel.
What I find attractive about linocut art is its organic feel. The beauty of linocut printmaking is that with each inking of the block, the image turns out slightly different. In a world that tends toward overproduction in its media, particularly in music, but also through enhanced photographs and generic corporate logos, I wanted to create something that was bold, gritty and unique. A black and white print, with its interplay of dark vs. light, was the prefect way to illustrate the macabre and sinister mood and subject matter of Bay of Hope.