Back in the old days when I started to write, there were no computers (at least no workable ones for writers). There was no social media, there was no Amazon, no eBooks, no Create Space. The books I enjoyed you could actually hold in your hand, turn the pages, and when you were done you could find the proper place on your book shelf. By author. In alphabetical order. By genre. Whatever. It was always there, my growing collection. My personal treasure chest. I hate Kindle.
Selecting books from a book store, never on-line, was a pleasure. I rarely went in knowing exactly what I wanted to buy. I wasn’t a trend setter, and I didn’t just shop for whatever happened to be on the New York Times best seller list at the moment. Oprah didn’t exist back in the day either, at least not the book-marketing guru we now know. Part of the thrill of going to the book store was the hunt, finding that hidden gem. If I enjoyed a particular author, I might check her out first. Otherwise, I got out my detective gear and began the hunt. (There were no cafes in book stores in those days either, so even if I entered hungry, I always came away fulfilled with the book of my choice.)
Titles can matter. A title might draw me to select a book, particularly among the novels whose spines were all I could see crammed into a tight shelf. But the cover art was also important. It didn’t make or break a sale, but quality cover art did draw my attention. At the very least the cover art made me pick up the book and read the novel details or blurbs.
When you first enter a book store, there are always displays right up front, usually from the major publishing houses who purchase the right to have the finest display. Their covers stare you right in the face. When my debut novel HUNTING THE KING was published in 2008, I could just imagine customers entering the book store and being startled by the gaunt face of Jesus the king outlined by a constellation of stars in the pattern of a Star of David. I figured who could pass that by without picking it up for a browse? (The issue of which books get placed where in a book store is the matter for another blog)
These days if you self-publish, you can help design the cover of your book as I did with my iUniverse novel THE HUNTED. Overall, the product was well done with one minor complaint. Certain on-line photographs aren’t copyrighted and so are available for selection in the design of your cover. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you make do with second best. With DEVOLUTION, my latest novel, the publisher, Imajin Books, made the design with my input. The cover shows the face of a creature, half girl, half chimpanzee a reflection of the drama about a girl who can communicate with chimpanzees using sign language.
In my office taped to the wall behind my desk is a big poster of my cover. It captures the attention of everyone who comes in, stirs conversation, and often leads to a sale. That alone validates a well-done cover enhanced by reviews from well-known authors. Besides that, whenever I feel alone and needing a little self-love, I can pick up my novel and gaze at the stunning cover art and feel just a modicum of pride in my accomplishment. Clicking on my lap top or i-thing-a-majig and seeing the cover on a mechanized screen just doesn’t have the same effect.
What does it truly mean to be ‘Human’?
Chiku Flynn wasn’t raised to be human. Born in the Congolese rainforest, she spends her first eleven years as part of an experiment. For her, the aboriginal—the primitive—is ‘normal.’
Just after her eleventh birthday, Chiku witnesses the horrifying death of her mother, and her father sends her ‘home’ to the United States, to a normal teenager’s life. But she can’t adapt. She is the proverbial wild child—obstinate and defiant.
When her father disappears, sixteen-year-old Chiku heads back to the primordial jungle, where she uncovers her own dark past and puts to use her greatest skill: she can communicate via sign language with the wild chimpanzees of Chimp Island.
But there is turmoil in the rainforest—civil war, environmental upheaval…and murder. The lives of the chimps and the safety of the people she loves depend upon one teenaged girl who refuses to be messed with—Chiku Flynn.
“Peter Clenott’s story of a troubled teen searching for her father in the African jungle skillfully combines the breakneck pace of a thriller with the emotional tug of a coming of age novel while providing a fascinating glimpse into the relationship between people and chimpanzees that will leave readers questioning which species is more humane. A thought-provoking read.” —Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Behind the Shattered Glass
“Devolution is an enthralling, action-packed and fast-paced jungle thriller from beginning to end. The story is set in modern day Africa and is centered on the book’s heroine, Chiku, a firecracker of a girl full of energy and spirit. She can also talk to chimpanzees! The backdrops to the story are as old as time itself—war, racism, hunger and greed. Can a strong-willed sixteen-year-old girl and a band of chimpanzees survive in war-torn Africa? Or will death find its way into this strange yet wonderful family! This book is an interesting coming of age tale full of intrigue, wonder, romance and danger. A truly exciting and original read! This is not your grandparent’s Tarzan tale!” —Christopher P. Obert, founder of the New England Authors Expo
“If it takes a bipolar teenager and some chimpanzees to save their piece of the Congo, then Chiku and her primate friends are the ones to do it. Label them superheroes. Peter Clenott has captured diverse characters in a vibrant setting and added snappy dialogue for this unique and interesting novel.” —Shirley Ann Howard, author of the Tales series
Genre - Young Adult
Rating – PG
More details about the author