Category Archives: Writing the book

About the Cover …

The cover design is based upon some of the central images in Trout Kill: the tree rings of a Douglas fir, sword ferns and a child’s doll. My wife Debra, who has a strong background in the arts, helped me conceptualize the design, and John Turley, a former art teacher at Canby High School, did the layout.

In the story, “god dot” is mentioned several times. It refers to the centermost circle of growth in the heartwood of a tree and, metaphorically, might suggest the human heart. In the design, you can see the god dot is cracked through. How might that be symbolic? The ferns, of course, along with the tree rings, are suggestive of the Northwest, where the story is set. Eddy, the central character, is a former logger, as was his father and grandfather. The doll is first depicted in the Prologue, then appears several times throughout the story, and it figures in the last scene. What might the doll symbolize, and how might it serve to tie the storyline together?

Serendipity, too, played a role in the design: This past summer I was helping my friend Tom to repair a porch in Long Beach, Washington, and we needed a few materials. When we walked in the door of Oman & Sons Building Supply, the first thing I noticed was a huge cross section of a Doug fir standing by the entryway. I took several pictures and sent them to John, and what you see on the cover is based upon one of those photos.

For me, one of my main joys in producing the novel was figuring out the cover design and working with Deb and John to get it just right. Thanks again, Deb and John!