I want you to design a cover for my short (57,000 words) novel, entitled BUSKER'S HOLIDAY.
I plan to publish through BookBaby. I will release both an e-book and a "real" book, so ideally I need a design for both.
The hero of the novel is a broken-hearted 26-year-old guy from New York City--an English grad student and harmonica player who takes a trip to Europe one summer in an effort to get over a lousy breakup (a five-year live-in girlfriend who has left him for a fellow grad student) and have a little fun in the process. He throws a few harmonicas in his backpack and brings along a small portable amp called a Mouse, determined to break into the Parisian busking scene.
After a dramatic debut in front of the Pompidou Center, he ends up falling in with a manic guitar-man named Billy Lee Grant down in Avignon, going somewhat crazy, laying waste to the waterfront in Cannes, and, to his amazement, witnessing his own birth as a creative artist.
I'll upload a full-length description of the book below. The color and design scheme I have in mind is characterized by the following words: sunlight, sexy, spare-but-enticing, seashore, surf, summer, girls, wine, swinging blues music, guy strumming guitar.
(Since the hero is a harmonica player, one who sports a Panama hat, you MIGHT find a way of including one or both of those elements in your design. He plays Hohner Marine Band harmonicas, by the way. No need to make the brand-name visible; I just wanted you to know, in case you're inclined to image-capture. I happen to be an official endorser for Hohner.)
Here is a full description of the novel:
Desolate and despairing after a painful romantic breakup, a Columbia University grad student named McKay—a Hemingway-Kerouac scholar with a harmonica in his pocket and a blues band in his background--decides to reinvent himself as a street performer during an impromptu European sojourn beginning in Paris. A would-be Dionysus, he’s determined to enter the busking life, sing a song of summer, and accumulate a mermaid or two.
McKay is accompanied on his month-long journey by an alternating pair of foils. The first, a fellow grad student named Paul Goldberg, is paunchy, bespectacled, prematurely balding: a Jewish Montrealer and specialist in Renaissance poetics who plays an irritable Sancho Panza to McKay’s manic Don Quixote. The second is Billy Lee Grant, a wild young guitar shredder whose Memphis-to-Mississippi pedigree and Dylanesque surrealism make him, when he explodes into view, precisely the doppelganger McKay has been yearning for. A self-described “great-great-great grandnephew of Ulysses,” Bill is a fearless, antic Dean Moriarty who goads the scholar-turned-blues-desperado into a sun-drenched four-day bender—stoked by wine, women, mushrooms, and trains—that careens down out of Avignon and across the French Riviera into Italy, leaving broken guitars and all-night chaos in its wake. After parting with Bill and reuniting with Paul in Bologna, McKay staggers down the road of excess toward moral collapse in Florence and San Gimignano, a walled hill town deep in the Tuscan countryside.
Graced with revelation on the banks of the Arno, McKay and the novel turn north to Germany, where healing begins. Ricki, a lithe black dancer in Solingen who is nursing her own emotional wounds, helps McKay find his bearings in one long and unexpectedly passionate night. The final pages of the novel loft McKay south from Amsterdam towards Paris, a light-filled city that now feels like home. He’s a modern troubadour who returns from his wanderings reborn, a song of hope playing through his heart.
A fast summer read for beach and backpack, Busker’s Holiday is also a work of aesthetic daring, a mashup of genres and themes drawn from American and world literature. It’s a comic picaresque featuring a trio of roguish antiheroes; a Hemingwayesque evocation of Europe’s fiesta season crossed with a blues-laced Kerouackian road narrative; a hero’s spiritual fall, atonement, and rise that tracks the plot-curve of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Above all, Busker’s Holiday is a meditation on what it means to live a soulful, purposeful, and authentic life, one that honors “crazy” dreams of personal transformation and seeks joy in the space between spiritual constriction and flagrant overindulgence.