Friday, March 28, 2014

The Mascherari - A Novel of Venice

A ravishing cover for a story that is very dear to me. I really hope you like it. 

The elements you see - from the intricate medieval border, to the tower, the dark moon, and the lady with the mysterious light - all hold a meaning that is essential to my upcoming novel, The Mascherari.

For this historical mystery set in 15th century Venice, I was wary of infusing the cover with symbols that have become synonymous with romantic tourism and post-Napoleonic Venice. 

And so I shunned - the canals, the cliche gondolas, the masked carnival revelers, the Piazza, the Basilica of San Marco - all that was readily associated with what we know of Venetian tourism today. While these do feature in my story and were certainly present in the 15th century, I preferred to delve deeper.  So I sought new symbols from those that have been lost to history or have been absent from modern media images of Venice.

With the medieval-inspired imagery, I hoped to conjure a period of Venice that preceded the times of Casanova. 

A mask is portrayed, but it is not prominent. It is a traditional bauta, one of the most common masks from the period. As for the city's lagoon, it is hinted to with just a blue patch of water beneath the cover title.

It will be difficult to expand on the historical meaning of each symbol without revealing too much of the I will look at color only.

Why the gold? 

The original image (not shown), with its pale parchment and light coloring is even more suited to 15th century Venice, but it does not lend itself well to ebook covers. In print, it would look fabulous, so I will preserve it for the Paperback version of the novel. 

I reviewed three versions of the ebook cover before settling on the gold. I loved the green version, which is shown below. 

To me, this dark green held a nauseating and malevolent quality, reminiscent of the evil in the narrative. I also thought it evoked what some authors have described as the Venetian 'miasma' - this fetid air that remains suspended over the lagoon on humid days and from which even Lord Byron was thought to have suffered. 
But the best part of the green, if you do read the story, is that it evokes the emotions of envy and jealousy. How very apt, I thought. 

For now though, I decided on the gold. While also being relevant to aspects of the novel, the gold is vivid, eye-catching and therefore more likely to attract attention in the online sphere. This is an important consideration for a self-publishing author especially when there are so many gorgeous outstanding covers out there.

One last detail...
Engraved on the tower and the hovering moon, are two letters. Shall I tell you what they stand for? Or perhaps you already know.