Unveiling Wide Awake and Dreaming’s Book Cover

by julie on December 10, 2012

The story of my book cover begins with friendship and tears.

Last summer, I sat at a fancy restaurant booth with one of my best friends, Melissa, in Palo Alto, CA and unraveled a large rolled-up piece of paper – a birthday gift from Melissa! Inside was an original etching called “Dreaming” by the rising talented San Francisco artist, Lucy Hillenbrand.

Seeing the image, tears fell quickly down my cheeks. The woman was elegant and strong, yet weak and vulnerable – supported by balloon strings.

Melissa explained that for her, the five balloons represented our five best friends – and how we lift each other up at times. I loved Melissa’s interpretation, but for me, it also evoked living with narcolepsy and cataplexy, at times not able to lift my own legs, arms, or head. 

A few months later, I began working on my book cover with graphic designer-extraordinaire, Ceci Sorochin. I’d spent years on the inside of my book, yet the outside remained a blank question mark. Yet, everyone judges a book by it’s cover…

Late one night, I remembered the balloon woman. I showed the image to my boyfriend and he agreed, it was striking. I sent it to Ceci and she agreed – striking. But I still needed permission from the artist. Would she want her image on the cover of a narcolepsy memoir?!

Through my friend Melissa, I emailed Lucy, the artist. She responded, “Being a part of this project with you is like a dream to me.”

She went on to explain:
“I talked with my mom today to tell her this exciting news and she informed me that my grandmother had narcolepsy. She told me that she had to stop driving at the age of 40, would fall asleep cooking in front of the stove, and that her knees would give out! I never knew this until today when I mentioned this great possibility of having my art on the cover of your book. This does seem to be fate!” 

This brought more tears. Not only was Lucy willing to work with me, in an odd twist of fate, she learned that her own grandmother had suffered from narcolepsy – the project was now personal for her too.  In the following months, Lucy, Ceci and I worked together to develop the final cover – shown below!

I love the cover’s striking beauty, but also the layers of friendships beneath it. Thank you to Melissa for supporting me for many years. Thank you to new friends, Lucy and Ceci for your beautiful art, positive spirits and willingness to work with me. Thank you also to Alex Withrow for your pro photography converting the drawing into a digital file.  

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine such a beautiful meaningful cover, but now that it’s here, I can’t imagine it any other way!

Check Out:
Lucy Hillenbrand’s Website and Etsy Store
Ceci Sorochin’s SoroDesign Website (for Book Covers, Book Interiors and Authors Websites)

Pre-order Wide Awake and Dreaming on Amazon today! 

 

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Patterson December 11, 2012 at 3:28 am

That’s a great cover and background story, Julie. Can’t wait to see it in person. Only 5 more days!!

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julie December 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Thank you so much, Mark! I can’t wait too. 🙂

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Alex Withrow December 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm

It’s almost heeeere 🙂

So exciting, congrats Fly!

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julie December 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Thank you, Alex! You helped me through the process. Can’t wait!

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Phoebe December 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

That is such a nice story Julie! It is a beautiful cover.

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julie December 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Thank you, Phoebe! You are one of my balloons (and best freinds ever). 🙂

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Kathy Hirt December 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I love the cover! My son has narcolepsy. I know what a struggle it is for all of you with this illness. My wish is for your book to be a great success so others will know.

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julie December 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Thank you so much, Kathy! I’m so sorry to hear your son has narcolepsy, but thank you for supporting his experience. I hope the book opens people’s hearts up to narcolepsy too. With gratitude, Julie

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Amelia December 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I came over here because I saw the facebook post today, and I’m so glad I did. What a beautiful story, it makes the image even more amazing.

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julie December 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Thank you so much for your comment, Amelia! I’m so glad you like my cover and the story behind it. With gratitude, Julie

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Debbie December 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Fabulous cover and what a wonderful story behind the cover. I look forward to reading your book. I will be getting the Kindle version since I trip over all the books in my house 🙂 Happy Holidays!

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julie December 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Thank you so much, Debbie! Look for the Kindle version on sale this Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012.

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Peter Mansbach December 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm

It looks like there are now SIX balloons (though perhaps still only five strings). Is there more to the story here?

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julie December 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Great observation, Peter. No more to the story here – just an addition by the artist. Thanks for reading and commenting! -Julie

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Lindsay December 12, 2012 at 3:01 am

I just ordered my copy – can’t wait!

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julie December 12, 2012 at 3:57 am

Thank you so much for ordering my book, Lindsay!

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