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The Story Behind the Art in Brighter Than Her Fears

The Novel In 1868 North Carolina rewrote their state constitution to include the abolishment of slavery and to institute universal male suffrage. This was a requirement of the Reconstruction Acts after North Carolina was readmitted into the Union. Did you know that the new constitution also granted new rights to women? “the right to own property and businesses, to work for their own wages, to sue in courts, to make wills, and to make contracts without their husbands' consent.” (North Carolina Museum of History) In Brighter Than Her Fears, Alice’s sister Jennie sketches plant life and embroiders her designs on tea towels, pillow covers, and ladies’ accessories. She finds a market for her work. Jennie is one of the characters, who benefits from the 19th century’s expansion of women’s rights, including the right to earn a living. My daughter Molly is learning to put her artistic talents to work. As a future tattoo artist, Molly creates an array of designs for permanent display. I’m excited to share some of her artwork here and you can find more about Molly on Instagram at mollztattooz. Jennie would be proud of her 4xgreat niece! Her mom is!

The Publishing Journey Like picking a forever body design, choosing a book design is important. A great cover attracts readers, grabs their attention, and conveys the story. The interior design, or book layout, continues that expectation of the story through typesetting (font, type size, space between the lines) and layout (margins, columns, and art). Book layout decisions start with trim size. How big will the physical book be? Art books are often large, poetry volumes small, and novels somewhere in between. Typeface sets a tone for the book. Fancy ornate font or modern sans-serif? Publishers consider line spacing, headers, footers and margins to ease readability and convey information (page numbers, chapter titles, etc.). Brighter Than Her Fears is now in layout design. In September I'll reveal the cover design and the back cover blurb. Right now (drum roll, please) I'm excited to share this magnolia branch designed by my daughter Molly, which will appear as an ornamental break throughout the novel. Isn't it beautiful?

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