Welcome to my stop for Shadows, Shells, and Spain by John Meyer. I would like to thank John for visiting today. I am a cover girl and always curious about an author’s contribution to the final product. Let’s see what John has to say.
Tell us about the cover and its creation.
Shadows, Shells, and Spain is definitely not the first book to take place on the exhausting and exhilarating Camino de Santiago. Even if you do a cursory search on Google, you will be presented with dozens of books about the Camino. However, my book is presented as a fictional travel memoir i.e. a travel book packed with accurate local descriptions and historical anecdotes—inside a completely fictional story following a desperate husband in search of his estranged and mysterious wife.
Now look again at your Google search of Camino books. They’re all so brown! Most of those covers represent the dreaded Meseta section of the Camino path, “the two-hundred-kilometer stretch of barren plateau that lies in the center of the country. Pilgrims complain of its dry heat, lack of shade, limited food resources, non-existent landmarks, and drab scenery.” Why would you want to showcase that kind of scenery for your book cover? Will that kind of cover inspire a reader to temporarily leave his or her family and friends to walk 800 kilometers across northern Spain? Probably not…
So just like the interior of my book represents a different kind of Camino book, I wanted the exterior of my book to represent a different kind of Camino as well. When I walked the path in June of 2014, most of the landscape was green and lush and absolutely lovely. Therefore, I was determined to create a cover that reflected that majestic beauty.
So the main front photo was taken by me on a stretch of road outside Los Arcos. My designer only manipulated it a little by enlarging the two pilgrims. They looked fine in the original photo but when it was presented inside a smaller cover photo on some of those ebook websites, they were a little difficult to see.
The back cover photo of the pilgrim statue in León was also taken by me because it had it all: the shell and yellow arrow (which are prominent symbols on the Camino) painted on the cement in front of a tired, reflective pilgrim. It had perfect symmetry. It just didn’t work for the front cover. The front cover is supposed to inspire you to temporarily leave your family and friends to walk 800 kilometers across northern Spain. Probably…
Thanks John. I am a photographer and love that you took the photos yourself and that you chose to show a path that I would love to travel too. Wonderful job.
And now, let’s put our walking shoes on travel.
by John Meyer
GENRE: travel fiction
John Meyer’s “Shadows, Shells, and Spain” is a thrilling new adventure where a husband desperately searches for his missing wife along the ancient Camino trail across northern Spain. It’s also a bold, new take on a modern-day pilgrimage that feeds the mind and soul of every character while testing the limits of their bodies… and their comfort zones.
It became a miserable daily existence, made worse by a George Bernard Shaw quote that singly gnawed at me: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
George was right. I had to do . . . something. Anything! Teaching teenagers wasn’t fulfilling me; I needed to find a more creative outlet—and I thought I had found it when I started writing novels.
I tried several genres. My young adult novels only reminded me of my apathetic students, and my science fiction books always morphed into Star Wars. My dystopian novels were too depressing. My horror novels gave me nightmares. My political thrillers gave me headaches. I settled on detective novels starring rugged private eyes and leggy dames.
I wasn’t very good at it.
In fact, I never came close to completing any of them. I wasn’t clever enough to conceal the credible clues. My attempts at misdirection were too misleading. I was heavy-handed when I needed to be charming, and I was lightweight when I needed to be conclusive. And anyone who read any of my early chapters always deduced the killer right away.
I even gave my early chapters to my brightest students as an extra-credit homework assignment.
“So, what did you think?”
“Sir, I didn’t finish it . . .”
“Never mind that. What did you think?”
“What is this, a murder mystery? Am I supposed to guess who the killer is? What does this have to do with my history project?”
“Never mind that. What did you think?”
“I don’t know . . . Was it the chambermaid with the stutter?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links
John Meyer writes fictional travel memoirs—unique adventure stories that combine fun facts of history with present-day drama and humor—always revolving around a fictitious love story and always based on his own thrilling journeys. His previous publication, Bullets, Butterflies, and Italy, was selected as a November Best Book by Chatelaine magazine. Meyer is also the studio writer for Entertainment Tonight Canada and has been ever since the popular daily show launched back in 2005.
Buy links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble