I've had such a tremendous response to the CROW MOON cover that I thought it would be interesting to show you some of the developments it went through before it became the stunning, modern-yet-esoteric image we know and love.
Quercus went through a few different concepts before coming to me with the beginnings of the cover which uses US artist Alex Cherry's Little Bird graphic of a girl's head in profile. As you can see in these initial "mood" designs, the profile is blanked out against a seascape background, but the idea for the crow profiled against the girl was there from early on. These initial images were sent to me with a firm message that they were for me to get a rough sense of the feel they were going for, rather than being finished pieces. The feel was romantic but mystical, with a nod to the Cornish sea which is a huge part of the imagery of the book. It was also an early decision that it would be a girl's profile rather than a boy's, even though the main character in CROW MOON is a boy, Danny. The rationale was that even though Danny is the point of view character, the story itself is driven forward by a cast of strong female characters; and, realistically, the main readership for the book would likely be girls rather than boys.
The next stage of the cover was one I really liked actually (though I prefer what we ended up with) - it was more representative of the feel of the Greenworld, but I think ultimately Quercus knew they should go for something with more of a sharp, modern edge. So we went from the green-tinted folded paper texture background and a light green font to the red, black and white of the final. You'll notice that the shape of the crow changed, though. Interestingly, red, black and white are the classic colours associated with what pagans call the triple goddess: the three stages of womanhood, often reflected in mythology - maid (white, crescent moon, virgin) mother (red, full moon, fertile woman) and crone (black, dark moon, wise woman). So I like to think that the Goddess had a hand in the final colour scheme.
MAGIC JUST GOT REAL was mine, I'm proud to say; I've always had a fondness for copy and titles.
In terms of titles, also, CROW MOON went through a few. It started off at a very early stage as THE YOUNG WITCH'S SURVIVAL GUIDE, which I'm still going to use somewhere. Then it became THE FIVE HANDS, which was pretty rubbish (although it makes sense in the context of the story) then GREENWORLD, which I liked, but it was apparently "too middle grade fantasy" - which I could see. A WANTED WITCH was suggested, but I didn't like that. The path to CROW MOON involved a day of brainstorming about circles and spirals, curses and witches and spells (I put the question up on Facebook and a summary of the book for title ideas - one friend suggested PASTY SPELLS in response to "a book about witches in Cornwall" - obviously the best suggestion ever). CROW MOON was in a list I emailed to my editor and my agent in the late afternoon; I really didn't think they'd go for anything so (to me) obviously witchy, but they did. And I knew it was the right choice.