Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Choosing The cover for A Conscious Englishman.

Frank of StreetBooks gave me a fairly free hand in choosing an image for the cover but was clear that his designer must agree to it.
I had always envisaged a Paul Nash picture: Nash was in the Artists Rifles with Edward Thomas and they were kind-of friends. Also most recent books about ET have used Nash - notably Edna Longley's marvellous Annotated Collected  Poems, 2008.
The best-laid plans - I wanted a landscape reflecting downland, but I found the only one really suitable had just been used by Matthew Hollis on his Selected Poems of Edward Thomas.

Then I began thinking about May Hill - an inspiration to Thomas and Frost, and I discovered Valerie Mclean ( of Ledbury. Valerie was lovely, very helpful, even created a new collage/painting for me, but I felt it wasn't right, far too bright and cheerful for Edward Thomas.
Frank had an open mind.
Marc my husband had painted May Hill after we'd been there for my research and he still had one of the pictures.

Marc Thompson

 Frank took Marc's painting and Valerie's image to his designer, Andrew Chapman (

Andrew chose Marc's, had it professionally photographed with high definition and was ready to go ahead. Frank was unsure about the sheep but as he lived with the painting for several weeks they grew on him and stayed. Andrew cleverly extended the colour around the back cover and inserted the wording as I had envisaged. I think it looks beautiful and others who have seen the image do too.
I was in Malvern last Sunday with fliers(of that later) and the response from the locals was 'That's May Hill,' and 'Lovely picture.' So that's good.

Now, the reflective part of Edward Thomas's October
The rich scene has grown fresh again and new
As spring and to the touch is not more cool
Than it is warm to the gaze; and now I might
As happy be as earth is beautiful,
Were I some other or with earth could turn
In alternation of violet and rose,
Harebell and snowdrop, at their season due,
And gorse that has no time not to be gay.
But if this be not happiness, - who knows?
Some day I shall think this a happy day,
And this mood by the name of melancholy
Shall no more blackened and obscured be.

Next: Writing one-liners, short summaries, long summaries, blurb.  AAAAgh!


  1. I like the cover very much. And very fitting that you are using Marc's painting. Writing a blog is a clever way of building up to publication. So glad the novel is coming to fruition at last and it will be fun for us to follow its progress through the final stages. Blog on!

    1. Thank you - yes I feel the cover at least will be a hit!