The Evolution of a Book Jacket

Over the past few months, I was privileged to work with a talented artist, Alex T. Ross, who created the book jacket for my new novel, The Incident at Montebello, which was just launched on Amazon this week.

The story is based on a true event— In 1930, the Italian Premier Benito Mussolini was driving through the Italian countryside with Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. when his car struck and killed a little girl, Sofia Buonomano.  Mussolini never stopped the car and was quoted as saying to Vanderbilt, “What’s one life in the affairs of a State?”

This first sketch features Mussolini’s car–a Fiat Mille Miglia.


The Buonomano family is torn apart by Sofia’s death and is caught in a political firestorm that spreads from their village to Rome and across America and Europe. The child’s mother, Lucia, finds out the truth about the accident, voices her disapproval of Mussolini.  She comes in conflict with the police and her husband Donato, an ardent Fascist.

I wanted to include Lucia on the cover, so we pushed the car into the background and added her.


Alex and I went back and forth about how Lucia looked, the color palette, and the prominence of the car:

3  5

And finally we came up with the right colors and proportions.  Alex also softened Lucia’s face to reflect her sadness.


Then we tweaked Lucia’s features.  The last step was to add the graphics..  I wanted the look and feel of Italian Futurism, reflecting the time period and place.


What do you think of the final product?  I am delighted with it.   I invite you to check on the book, which is now on sale on Amazon. Here’s the link:

7 replies »

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