Author Joyce Maynard heard about my earlier post on the striking cover design of her new novel, Labor Day, and was nice enough to email over the weekend labordaywith some reflections of her own about the cover. "First off," Joyce writes, "I WAS consulted and came up with a number of very bad ideas. This is why I'm a writer, not a designer, I guess." She says she was immediately taken with designer Mary Schuck's vision for the cover, which includes an image in matte gloss of a heart shape traced on a window pane. The idea appealed to her "because I am one of those people who draw on misted-up windows (also one of those people whose own car gets so dirty that I've been known to find the message 'Wash Me' written on the back windshield. But that's another story)."

Here's an interesting coincidence about the cover: "Mary did not know this at the time she came up with this design," Joyce tells us, "but three joycemaynardof my novels, before this one (Baby Love, Where Love Goes, and To Die For) all feature some form of heart-shaped image on the jacket. I'm sure this has something to say about my obsessions, and I freely admit to this: I am interested in love, and all the things it makes us do, and in broken hearts, and their occasional mending."

This revelation prompted a flurry of emails about other heart-shaped objects, including the heart-shaped rock collection of a favorite blogger of mine. Another coincidence! "It's so interesting that you mention heart-shaped rocks," Joyce replied.  "Until you said this I had totally forgotten this, but here is a surprising story:
"Labor Day was written in a little cabin at The MacDowell Colony, deep in the woods in New Hampshire, last September. This cabin was a full mile away from the main lodge where I would walk in every evening for dinner. Evidently the previous resident of my cabin had taken to collecting stones on her walk to the lodge every day—but only heart-shaped stones. So when I moved in, there was a row of heart-shaped stones around the front porch.

I loved seeing that row of stones every day, and added a few over the weeks I was writing there. When I left at the end of September (having finished Labor Day) I left them for the next person."

We hope the next resident of the cabin appreciated the surprise.

Our discussion of broken hearts, book covers, found objects and faded love began last week with a post and a chance to win a copy of Labor Day. There's only one day left to enter the contest by joining the discussion on book covers you love or loathe. Here are some of the jackets that have gotten the thumbs-up so far from Book Case readers:

And here are a couple that have gotten thumbs-down:

Which cover sets your heart a-flutter?

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