One of the questions people ask me, when they hear I have a children's book coming out is, "How many pictures does your book have?" They seem to think that because GFTW is a children's book, it will be heavily illustrated. My book is a children's middle grade novel and is almost 200 pages long. Some MG novels do have illustrations, usually line drawings every now an then, but most MG novels have only the dustjacket art. So the answer to the question is one.
One day, as we worked together on the editing of GFTW, my editor, Michelle Poploff, emailed me and asked for my thoughts on the cover art. I told her I envisioned the main character, 11-year-old Daniel Sartain, standing in front of the woods. I suggested the lake in the book be visible in the distance and maybe a rabbit and birds. We both agreed that no gun should be visible on the cover.
A few weeks later, Michelle sent me the cover art. I was immediately captivated by the boy. He actually favors my nephew, Joe Sanger, who was one of the models for Daniel. At first I thought the boy's hair style might be wrong -- maybe too contemporary (my book is set in 1992). But when I looked back at some of my own son's photos from that time, I decided the hair was okay. I also wondered about the jean jacket, since I didn't "dress" my character in a jean jacket in the book. But when I looked back at my son's photos, again I had to admit that Daniel could have been dressed that way.
I was a little disappointed when I didn't see a rabbit on the cover or the lake and birds. Then my daughter told me to look closer. If you stare into the trees and sky area you begin to see subtle things there that are in the book. I'll leave it to you to figure out what those things are.
The real boy on the dustjacket is model Luke Kitson of Canada. The dustjacket artist is Blake Morrow. If you go to this website you'll see his bio and representive art, including the cover of GFTW. He has done other book covers. I think he did a wonderful job of illustrating GFTW, packing the whole essence of the book into this one illustration.