Legendary Locals and Cover Photos
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by Ruth Doan MacDougall
July 21, 2015
Last September, Ray Carbone got in touch, saying that he’d like to include me in a book he was working on, Legendary Locals of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. He needed a photo taken at about the time of The Cheerleader’s publication.
Ray’s Legendary Locals of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region has just been published. I had sent Ray the rock-garden photo Don had taken right before the one that became the back-cover photo; they are nearly identical. In addition to its place in the Legendary Locals text, amid the photo collage on the front cover is the photo at the top of this article.
I was tickled to be a legendary local.
I rooted around and found the photos I’d saved of the 1972 photo session for the back of The Cheerleader’s book jacket. As I looked at them, I thought of how for me and probably for a lot of other writers the scariest and most grueling part of the whole project of getting a book from idea to finished copy is the author photo.
We didn’t own a camera when I needed a jacket photo for my first novel, The Lilting House. We borrowed a Polaroid from a friend and Don began snapping photos. The best one was taken on a woodsy lane, at a gate bar on the English estate owned by the U.S. Air Force, where we were renting the laundry cottage.
We were still camera-less for my second novel, The Cost of Living, but a student in the high school where Don worked was interested in photography so Don asked him to undertake this job. Of the photos Bill took, one turned out to be a double-exposure, with my profile superimposed on me standing at a window. We included it in the photos I sent Harvey, my editor, and Harvey enjoyed it so much he decided to use it for the front cover instead of putting it on the back.
For my third novel, One Minus One, I decided to go to a photography studio for a professional shot. The result was too formal, but it served the purpose.
So for my fourth, The Cheerleader, I tried a studio again. No, too posed! By then we’d bought a camera, and thus Don gave it a try. We strolled around our yard testing locations. He got this shot, looking down my top as I was supposedly weeding the rock garden. I found it very funny and sent it to Harvey along with one of me sitting more sedately on a wooden bench. Harvey chose the rock garden, writing me, “This one wins the Miss Cheerleader contest!”
You may be interested in these articles about Legendary Locals:
From The Laconia Daily Sun
From: Arcadia Publishing
From: Laconia Citizen
(Ruth's Blog; updated July 3, 2016)
As her time permits, Ruth Doan MacDougall writes essays about life in and around her neighborhood. Topics vary, but something interesting is always going on in Ruth's Neighborhood!
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