It is with tremendous pleasure that I share the cover to The Visitors. It looks like this:
…and I’m utterly thrilled with it. The artist, an outstanding book designer called Leo Nickolls, has captured so many elements of the story in his design. I love the composition, the style, the palette – everything about it.
Most of the story of The Visitors fell into my head while on holiday in Grogport on Kintyre. It’s connected to the Scottish mainland by a narrow isthmus, but it feels like an island. From Tarbert, it’s a thirty or forty minute drive along weaving single track roads to the tiny village of Grogport, which is no more than ten houses and a beach. It was our first holiday as a new family, and we stayed there for a week. Dora was only five months old, and she was unsettled by the change in her surroundings. After sleeping late for most of the previous month, she started waking early – at four or five in the morning. On one of those bleary mornings, we sat in awed silence and watched the sun crest behind humpback Arran, the island pitched into shadow beneath titanic columns of light. I took some pictures. They looked like this:
The first time I saw Leo’s cover, this image came to me as a jolt. Memories shivered at me; the cold tiles underfoot, the grit in the coffee and the grit in my eyes, the herons on the beach. Even now, I feel a little unnerved at the similarity in the mountains. I scribbled out the plot of The Visitors no more than a day either side of this picture. Unheimlich.
Seeing the cover has been amongst the most surreal parts of this crazy journey. The closer I come to publication, the further I feel from reality. Being so immersed in redrafts and work, this often feels as though it’s happening to someone else.