Cover Sneak Peek
In past years the cover reveal has served as a source of excitement and marketing buzz for YA and middle grade fiction. Authors arranged to have high-profile blogs reveal the covers for their books, but the amount of coordination made it impractical for all but the season’s biggest titles. Nowadays, the covers of many books show up online without the author even knowing they’re there.
I know better than to enter into a YA popularity contest. After chasing after the popular girls in middle school — and experiencing the brunt of their cruelty — I decided that my best strategy in high school was to be myself. Although I still managed to fall for the machinations of more socially adept schoolmates, which decades later inspired the central plot of my 2013 novel Rogue, my “be yourself” strategy led me to develop new interests and skills and find friends who shared those interests. The teenage years are a good time to find one’s people. As a writer, I’ve taken that lesson to heart as well. I’m not chasing the Teen Vogue cover reveal.
At the same time, I do have good news about my forthcoming YA novel, Torch. And I have an almost-finalized cover, a low-resolution image that I’ll show off at the end of this blog.
The good news first. I have found my people, kind authors whose books I adore. They agreed to read e-ARCs of Torch and have given me lovely blurbs that will fill the back cover of the book. Here they are, in the order that they appear on the cover, with an image of one of their books that I’ve appreciated.
Kip Wilson, author of the YA historical novels in verse White Rose and The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin:
“Torch immerses readers in the lives of a group of teenagers in Czechoslovakia after the 1968 Soviet invasion. Rather than live without freedom, one of them decides to protest the regime’s oppression by setting himself on fire—and as a consequence, the dreams of his best friends go up in flames, too. I was immediately hooked and couldn’t put this down. Incredibly relevant for today’s teens, especially with the current surge of authoritarianism around the globe.”
“With meticulous attention to detail Miller-Lachmann recreates a terrifying and excruciating chapter in our shared human history. A work of historical fiction about an almost forgotten time that is frighteningly relevant in today’s world.”
“Lyn Miller-Lachlan’s Torch manages to accomplish the nearly impossible—a novel that is not only intensively researched and informative but also riveting and deeply heartfelt. Readers will learn and care in equal measure.”
“A magnificently rendered novel that feels especially timely, Torch packs an emotional punch with its intriguing characters and compelling setting. Lyn Miller-Lachmann has written an outstanding work of historical fiction that achieves the unique distinction of being both sensitively drawn and impeccably researched. I was swept away.”
And more good news! I recently found out that the Junior Library Guild selected Torch as a JLG Gold Standard Selection. That means the novel will be available in even more schools and libraries and promoted for book clubs and reading circles. One of the great things about Carolrhoda and Carolrhoda Lab books is that they include questions at the back for reading groups, and when we worked on those questions, my awesome editor Amy Fitzgerald and I made sure that they didn’t contain spoilers.
So now the cover…
I love Kim Morales’s design, which works on so many different levels. While Torch is a historical novel, set in communist Czechoslovakia in 1969 in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion that crushed the democracy movement known as the Prague Spring, it has strong dystopian elements. As Madeline Dyer wrote for this blog several years ago, dystopian literature draws from real events, among them totalitarian regimes. The phoenix reflects the dystopian nature of life behind the Iron Curtain, as well as activist Pavol’s conviction that his death would inspire a democratic uprising to expel the Russian occupiers. With the exception of the first chapter, the book takes place not in Prague but in towns and rural areas, as shown by the forest. The barbed wire represents the heavily fortified border, not to keep Western enemies out (as the propaganda claimed) but to keep the people locked inside the country, as the Soviet Union and the countries under its domination between 1948 and 1989 were basically open-air prisons. I don’t show the back cover, but there’s a surprise that I won’t reveal here. And if one takes in the entire cover, the blue, red an white are the colors and design of the flag of what was then Czechoslovakia and is now the Czech Republic.
I’m waiting for the higher resolution image to create the page for Torch, and to give Film Makers its moment in the sun. Torch won’t be out until November 1, 2022, but I know that time will pass quickly and you’ll be able to read this book that I’ve been talking about ever since I started writing it five years ago.