One of the things I love about being an indie author, I have full creative control. Being an artist and a photographer, I maintain many outlets for my creativity other than writing, and I like being able to meld the three together. Creating a book is just another venue of my creative life so I wanted the book cover to be special. When it came time to make the book cover, my Fred (who is a professional book designer) was so kind to take what I gave to him and turn it into what I’ve declared to be something akin to a “birthmark”—this cover will always be the recognizable image associated with “Dusty Waters”.
There is a history behind the book cover photo, it is perhaps too complicated to get into too deeply here, but in a nutshell, it is from one of many photographs that I took of the Fox Sisters homestead in Hydesville, New York, (the birthplace of the Spiritualism movement.) The sisters were made famous when they claimed to hear rap-tap tappings in their house and started to hold séances for a living (exploited by their elder sister.) The noises were either real knockings from the other side or fabricated by toe-crackings under the table, the sisters wavered in their stories later in life, they recanted and then took it back, so no one really knows for sure what the truth is, but it was one of those fascinating stories that ignited my imagination way back when I was impressionable and made up stories about the ‘suchthings’ that I write about in Tanglewood.
I’m glad that I took the photos at the time because the place was burned and destroyed not long after.
The phrase, “There is no death, there are no dead” was engraved on a stone outside the old house, and it certainly offers something to think about—What happens after we die? This question terrifies people—and ghosts are downright scary because anything we don’t understand is just that way.
Although I’m not a follower of Spiritualism or aligned with any religion that dictates any particular doctrine about the afterlife, I’ve always had a natural curiosity about belief, it’s fascinating that there are so many possibilities. I draw my own conclusions regarding the yea or nay of ‘suchthings’, and I’m certainly not going to attempt to impose anything I come up with on anyone. It’s just a story that I made up after all, and the chosen image is—if anything—perfect for the unsettling thoughts people have about what happens after we die.
Well, that’s my story about the book cover, well, some of it…you have no idea. When I held the first proof copy in my hands it was one of the most beautiful things I ever saw in my life.