Setting the Mood: A Cover Story

By Z

I'm the kind of person who reads to escape the real world. I want to lose myself in a book and come out of it with a warm, happy feeling. Although a happy ending is paramount to me really enjoying the experience, I find the level of warm fuzzies in the end usually depends on the contrast to the angst in the middle. A good book moves me enough to cry and then leaves me feeling like love or goodness can overcome anything.


When I pick what book I'm going to read, I often take cues from the mood on the cover. Smiling people and bright colors lead me to expect a good time with an easy journey to ever after. Serious people and dark colors tell me it's not going to be smooth sailing. A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity falls into the second category. Finding the right balance between dark and bright turned out to be a bit tricky.


On the one hand, you want to let people know that this story is not all sunshine and rainbows, but on the other hand you don't want to put people off thinking it's a dark story. Instead, it needs to show that this is definitely worth going through the difficult downs to get the lovely ups. How do you say that in a single image that also needs to provide a sense of place, time, character, and plot? 

Set the mood through lighting. The phrase "a short period of exquisite felicity" implies a bright shining moment flashing in the middle of darkness, like the sun breaking through a gap in a stormy sky for a moment. The sun seems all the more precious and the gray clouds seem all the more gloomy by the contrast of the two extremes, especially when all that remains is the memory of the light. 


Yet, the moment referred to in the title, important as it may be, is only an ingredient in the drama that plays out. There's so much to discover about the obstacles standing in the way, who put them there, and how they will be overcome. This led to augmenting the mood with the color palette. Rather than an extreme contrast between sunshine and shadows, there's darks around the corners, and drab grays in the architecture, with subtle warm tones in her face and a deep red wrapping her like a cloak of strong abiding love.


Expressions and body language also speak of the mood. She stands alone looking determined, maybe even a little bold with her direct eye contact, like she's learned to persevere in her circumstances. He watches her from a distance. He could be judgmental, or longing, or sad. Maybe he's all of that at some point of the story. His body turned to walk away from her speaks of furthering the distance, but he seems indecisive. Will he be the one to turn around and shorten that distance, or will she be the one to make that bold choice? However it comes about, rest assured it will be worth the read.

A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity is set to be available on Amazon on February 14, 2018. To celebrate, A D'Orazio's award-winning book, The Best Part of Love- Kindle Version goes on sale the same day on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

A D'Orazio Also Wrote
The Best Part of Love
Sale on Kindle Version
Next Meryton Press Publication:
The Child, March 2018

One Response

  1. Carole in Canada

    The cover (back and front) can play an important part in my decision to buy a book. The clues/image conveyed on the cover draw me in. I am so looking forward to this book coming out! I need to know why…