When I was sent the brief for Somebody Loves You, I was immediately intrigued. The novel is about Ruby, a girl who gives up talking at a young age, and it examines family life as she embraces silence. Ruby’s mother suffers from mental illness and takes solace in the garden, whist her older sister who is an extrovert adds to the pressurised suburban atmosphere. The writing is beautifully poetic, and I wanted the cover to signal the powerful and perfectly formed writing. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the manuscript and devoured it in a single sitting.
One of the main constants of the book is melancholia, and the brief suggested finding a balance between the beauty and the awful. I knew that the garden featured in the book, as Ruby’s mother becomes increasingly obsessed with it. I started to sketch plants from the garden, the weeds and insects that are described. I wanted to reference Ruby and her mother on the cover, and decided to do this in an unusual sense, using a saddened looking eye and partially closed lips. To hint at the melancholia, I made the background a mid-grey as if it were about to rain. The illustration, I think, contrasts nicely with the title ‘Somebody Loves You’ which I decided to place around the cover in a haphazard way.
I sent various concepts to And Other Stories, and was delighted when they chose this illustrated option, which was my favourite. When Mona Arshi approved the cover, I was over the moon, it has been a joy to work on this moving and special book. I had also sent a bright pink version of this cover, which has now been chosen for the subscriber edition.
First round options (copyright: Holly Ovenden)