A full cover (landscape) design is required initially for a Kindle ebook only. The whole back-cover/spine/front cover should be used for the picture.
The target audience is children 8-15, with a possible crossover to a more adult readership, so the cover shouldn’t be TOO childish. The story is a comedy, with perhaps some Spike Milligan influence, although there’s an underlying message of rehabilitating a group of people with personality defects, removing their dependency on the trappings of civilization, and of animal welfare.
In some cases I’ve just included excerpts from the book to describe the characters.
BACKDROP AND MAIN THEME: To give a general flavour, some or all of these could be used to form the backdrop:
Paradise island setting… sandy beach flanked by rocks, a clearing with straw huts, jungle interior, volcano, caves. Ancient galleon moored in bay, dolphins.
A beach café to the left, with a cheery black bartender with pearly white teeth.
To the right, a small kiosk with a hand painted sign ‘INMORFATION’, manned by a very old man, with a few wisps of grey hair, squinting through thick spectacles made from bottle-bottoms, and clutching a hollowed-out sheep’s horn to his ear.
(Note – all characters could be either cartoon style, realistic but caricatured, or somewhere in between. This is a comedy about an island full of mostly eccentric and/or demented people, so there should be a wackiness to the characterisations.)
MAIN CHARACTERS: Should be present and in foreground or near foreground.
Oswald – puny, chartered accountant look, serious expression.
Boris – burlier, a simple buffoon, bewildered but cheerful look.
Both stubbly and wearing blue, stripy pyjamas, barefoot. They have both been kidnapped in their sleep and dumped on an island, hence the bewildered look and pyjamas. Actual appearance left to your imagination!
SUPPORTING CHARACTERS: Preferably all or most of these should be depicted, although can be small/distant.
“An odd looking couple loomed in the doorway. The wife, a well-built but badly designed woman, was larger than life, blocking most of the light from the entrance, and not blessed with good looks. Her husband, approximately half her height, was alarmingly puny, and as bald as a snooker ball.”
“‘Please welcome, The Mist Brothers.’ These brothers were quite clearly identical twins, but there were two easy ways to tell them apart. The first was, that one looked as miserable as sin, had a deeply engrained frown, his mouth turned low at the corners so that it looked upside-down. His brother, by contrast, had a smiley face, his eyes graced with crinkly laughter lines, and seemed altogether more cheerful. The second way one could tell them apart, was that one was wearing a sandwich board with the sign ‘WE’RE DOOMED!’ while his brother sported a board saying ‘NO WE’RE NOT!’”
“One fellow had arrived on his own, wearing a grubby white lab coat, peppered with burn holes of various sizes. He was skinny, wore thick black glasses, and seemed a little quiet, lonely and self-conscious. He had been introduced as Professor Klaus Leswig-Schmidthausen.”
“Then, two dusky young womenfolk, both pretty and wearing ceremonial outfits consisting of grass skirts dyed with butterfly markings, jewelled bikini tops, and headgear woven from leaves and adorned with yellow and blue flower petals, climbed the steps carrying a crown, also fashioned from woodland materials.”
A tough Australian guy in surfing shorts.
A deranged/deluded seafarer/seadog (possibly in a small boat), smoking a pipe.
Animals are also a very central theme to the story, and these include Galapagos tortoises, dolphins, whales, manta-rays, elephants, monkeys and spiders.
OTHER CHARACTERS ENCOUNTERED IN STORY: Any, all or none of these could be included:
“Oswald was interrupted by a sharp rat-a-tat-tat on the front door. Boris waded across to open it, and a short, gnarled man, who came barely up to Boris’s waist, wearing a navy blue uniform with gold-ringed cuffs and shoulder epaulets, which was slightly too big for him, and a peaked cap shading his silvery-moustached face, stood frowning in the doorway. As they looked more closely, they noticed he had a wooden eye, and a glass leg.”
“After a short while, they came upon a small, red clay building, with a skinny little man sitting outside on an upturned bucket, chewing on a blade of grass. He sported a pair of tattered trousers which came almost up to his neck, with holes in the legs through which his spindly kneecaps jutted. His few wisps of hair fluttered in the breeze as he gazed into the distance with a puzzled frown.”
“Another small dwelling loomed into sight, and this time there was a pleasant looking elderly couple sitting outside on rocking chairs, rocking so hard they almost tipped over with each roll. They appeared to be covered in a dusting of mud, their clothes heavily grass-stained, and had big bruised bumps on their foreheads. [If depicted, could show one of them sprawled on the ground on their face, their arms stretched forward.]”
“After a few more bends and twists in the path, they saw a log, upon which were sitting two men, wearing sacks with holes cut in them for their heads and arms, their feet wrapped in banana skins, wearing pineapple tops as hats. They were both knitting with string, working on opposite ends of the same scarf, which was already some fifty metres long, wrapped around their necks and then around several of the nearby trees.”
POSSIBLE TITLES (undecided!).
- ‘The Involuntary Adventures of Oswald Gribble’ – original title. If it’s difficult to mock up multiple titles, please use this one.
- ‘The Involuntary Adventures of Oswald Gribble’ with small subtitle ‘(Island of the Not Quite Right)’
- ‘Island of the Not Quite Right’ with small subtitle ‘(The Involuntary Adventures of Oswald Gribble)’