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Saturday, August 5, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth by Sheila O'Connor (Putnam, 04/18)


Sheila O'Connor is the critically acclaimed author of Tokens of GraceWhere No Gods CameKeeping Safe the Stars and Sparrow Road. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is a professor in the MFA program at Hamline University, where she also serves as the fiction editor for Water~Stone Review. As a longtime writer-in-the-schools, Sheila has encouraged thousands of young people to write their stories. Today I have the absolute pleasure of revealing the cover for her 2018 release, Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth. Find out more about the book and view the truly excellent cover below!
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About the Book


Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, one young girl is determined to save her brother from the draft—and gets help from an unlikely source—in this middle-grade tale, perfect for fans of The Wednesday Wars
When eleven-year-old Reenie Kelly’s mother passes away, she and her brothers are shipped off to live with their grandmother. Adjusting to life in her parents’ Midwestern hometown isn’t easy, but once Reenie takes up a paper route with her older brother Dare, she has something she can look forward to. As they introduce themselves to every home on their route, Reenie’s stumped by just one—the house belonging to Mr. Marsworth, the town recluse. When he doesn’t answer his doorbell, Reenie begins to leave him letters. Slowly, the two become pen pals, striking up the most unlikely of friendships.
Through their letters, Reenie tells of her older brother Billy, who might enlist to fight in the Vietnam War. Reenie is desperate to stop him, and when Mr. Marsworth hears this, he knows he can’t stand idly by. As a staunch pacifist, Mr. Marsworth offers to help Reenie. Together, they concoct a plan to keep Billy home, though Reenie doesn’t know Mr. Marsworth’s dedication to her cause goes far beyond his antiwar beliefs.
In this heartwarming piece of historical fiction, critically acclaimed author Sheila O’Connor delivers a tale of devotion, sacrifice, and family.
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Interview

What was the cover design process like? Were you very involved in the process? 

I had my first glimpse of the cover while on vacation in Mexico.  Its arrival was completely unexpected, and I was thrilled to open an email that contained another artist’s vision of the work.  For me, it’s incredibly exciting to discover what someone else sees in my books.  Also, there’s something about a cover that makes a book real, that turns it into a tangible object beyond my own imagination.
I’m not a designer, so I try to respect the expertise of the artist in the cover process.  Early on, I offered some small suggestions, minor concerns connected with the book’s content, and I think we had a couple of more rounds where I was able to weigh in, but mostly this was in the hands of the good people at G.P. Putnam’s Sons who understand marketing and sales, and what makes a reader pick up a book. 
What's your favorite part of the cover treatment?

From the first, I was struck by the designer’s ability to capture the essence of the book with a central image.  It’s a story about an eleven-year-old girl, Reenie Kelly, and a reclusive neighbor, Mr. Marsworth, who begin a friendship via letters when he learns of her fear that her older brother Billy could be sent to fight in Vietnam.  I love that the designer was able to capture the relationship between Reenie and Mr. Marsworth, and also so many other aspects of the book in that central image: 1968, peace, war, Reenie’s spunk and Mr. Marsworth’s desire to be left alone.  It’s an epistolary novel that unfolds entirely through letters, so I also loved what the designer did with font.  
And here’s a story that says it better:  Not long ago, I showed an early draft of the cover to a young friend, and I asked her what she thought the book was about based on the cover.   It was kind of a quiz, I guess, to see what the cover would say to my target audience.  “I think it’s a story about a girl who wants to be friends with an old man, and he isn’t sure, and so she starts writing him letters.”  I was amazed she saw that in the cover, and to me it’s evidence that the designers really do work magic.

What qualities will the ideal reader of your book have? 

That’s a great question!  As someone who writes for both adults and young people, I’ve always said I write my MG books for readers of all ages, and that’s true of this one as well.  I think the ideal reader of Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth, probably shares some qualities with either Reenie Kelly, or Mr. Marsworth, two characters who are opposites in many ways.  Readers who share Reenie’s voracious curiosity will be eager to learn about this period in history, particularly the ways the Vietnam War divided America.   Readers that share her spunk, her perseverance, or her hunger for friendship and justice, will also find a home here.  At the same time, the book will speak to thoughtful, quiet readers, readers with a commitment to peace who can relate to Mr. Marsworth.   The one quality both characters share is their great love for humanity, and in the end, that’s the most important thing I hope for in a reader.  I am writing for a reader who desires to be moved and changed by someone else’s story.  
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Reveal 

 And now for the much-anticipated cover reveal of Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth!


DRUMROLL PLEASE!

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Publisher: Putnam
 Release Date: 04/03/2018

I'm honestly in love with the color choices and font used for this cover! Share your thoughts in the comments and be sure to add Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth to your Goodreads and upcoming reads list!

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