Laina Villeneuve on how “Kat’s Nine Lives” cover art reveals much about the characters and the author too

You’ve heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’d like to take the opportunity, if I may, to do just that. My sister and I found, without too much trouble, an image that matched a scene from the book, and Bella pulled together a cover for Kat’s Nine Lives that pleased us both immensely. I am grateful to have a cover I feel proud to show off, and once the book came out, I printed a copy and taped it to the window on my office door.

A colleague stopped to congratulate me on the book. He’s old school, a sage on the stage, and in my office door, he struck his lecturer pose and said he appreciated the symbol of the flame, imagining that love burned brightly for my two characters. Leaning closer, he said, “but I see that one is more sure of herself.” I gladly played along with his symbol analysis, supplying that Kat’s sexuality has, indeed, wavered over the years while Wendy has always been steadfast in hers.

“And love is center stage.” He pointed to the red flower-shaped candle floating. “And the wind blowing from the east, signifying…” He prompted me, and I tried to think of something sufficiently intellectual. The yellow candle caught my eye. “Yellow symbolizes friendship. Note how it is moving aside to let love blossom between Kat and Wendy.”

He tapped the door frame with a wide smile of appreciation for my tying the flowers to the act of blooming. He bowed and continued down the hall, and the exchange has flitted around in my mind ever since. Surely the pink flower must mean something as well. I turned to Google and was surprised to find that pink is actually the color associated with romance, not red. Red signifies life, vitality, passion, and fire. Well, the issue of life is tied to the title, and Kat is certainly vital and passionate, though she has spent much of her life dampening that fire.

And the blue of the cover?  I’m glad you asked because Google says it reflects depth and stability, qualities Wendy certainly brings to Kat’s life. With Wendy’s help, over the course of the novel, Kat finds her true self. She resolves her role confusion in order to find her identity. But now I’ve shifted from formal criticism to Erik Erikson’s social development theory. Perhaps a doorway conversation for another time… Thanks for stopping to chat.

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2 Comments

  • Karen Moore
    Posted April 5, 2019 2:10 pm 0Likes

    I like it when symbolism is organic and wisdom is tongue-in-cheek. Keep corralling those words, Laina; they touch this reader.

  • Roberta Roberta Eisel
    Posted April 5, 2019 2:57 pm 0Likes

    Nice analysis!

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