[Note: This isn't the emotional post I alluded to earlier on Twitter. That one's still being wrung out of me.]
First I asked Jen: Why did S&S decide to change things up, and how did you choose this direction?
She said: From the beginning we thought of the FURY series as paranormal Pretty Little Liars. We worked really hard to create our original FURY jacket, and absolutely loved it (still do!). [However,] with a little bit of Monday morning quarterbacking, we realized our gorgeous image could be seen as “fantasy” with the other-worldly girl, maybe even “faerie”—popular genres, to be sure, but not representative of this book. So we thought back to our original “paranormal PLL” approach and decided to repackage with that in mind: a revenge-centered/realistic theme. Yes, our girls are Furies, but the stories are set in a small New England town and school, and the characters feel very authentic with problems like the stresses of never feeling good enough, crushing on the wrong boys, etc.
That's called a "repackage," right? What does that mean and how often does it happen?
JK: A repackage means taking the same material and giving it a new package. When a book’s cover becomes outdated or doesn’t quite connect with its intended audience the first time around, we’ll look at the cover image and discuss whether we can give it a “facelift”. Usually by then we’ve got some new perspective...and that really helps. Repackaging happens often, and sometimes it’s heartbreaking but it almost always lands us with a great new image.
You talked last year about how it was hard to land on a cover, given the FURY's combination of horror, paranormal, and contemporary elements. Was it easier this time around?
JK: It really was. I think that’s partly because we’d done so much collective thinking and talking about the books by that time, and partly because we stopped overthinking it (when we were originally concepting, girls and flowers felt really overdone...the second time around, we felt more open to it). We also had the luck of timing, as “revenge” has become a cultural touchstone in movies, books, and TV, and this series fits right into that!
Associate art director Jessica agreed. I asked her, "Was this new direction easy to find, or did you have to hunt around for it?
She said: Because we spent so much time exploring a myriad of directions for the original packaging, these new covers came together pretty quickly. When we started to rethink the covers, we already knew what we wouldn't like, what wouldn't work, etc. It was pretty evident early that we wanted to show the three Furies, that they should look obviously teen, and to highlight the orchids.
How do you find the models?
JH: The first step in putting together a photoshoot is to hire a photographer. Jill, our photographer, (jillwachter.com) contacted all of the big modeling agencies in NYC. We sent them the three character descriptions and they sent us photos of teen models who matched our descriptions. We then narrowed it down to our favorites.
The new look is beautiful, but there's still an underlying creepiness -- how did you balance pretty girls/flowers with a menacing tone?
JH: I think the overall mood comes from the models' expressions. The creepy, yet serious stare, really implies that you don't want to mess with these ladies. [E says: I concur!]
***Thank you so much, ladies, for opening up -- I know I'm fascinated by this part of the process, and I'm sure many readers are too!