It’s cover reveal day for The Clearing by Cassandra J. Kelly. The Clearing takes place in rural Ohio, and it was super important to us that the cover communicated that setting well. We bounced around A LOT of ideas for this cover, ranging from abstract to photo-based, but nothing felt quite like Ohio. (We work with authors from all over, but since our home base IS Ohio, we had to get it right.)
When we first began the cover design process, Cassandra sent us a collection of aesthetic references that reflect the vibe of The Clearing. One of those references was a painting by Ohio artist Michael Miller. As we worked on cover mockups, we kept coming back to this painting. There’s a small white house, non-descript but recognizable by anyone who has spent time in rural Ohio. It sits in a clearing, a farm field or meadow opening up behind it, deep green trees framing the house. You’d think it was a photograph if you didn’t know any better, the faintest blush of pink on the roof hinting at a sunrise or a sunset–an ending or a beginning–frozen in time.
On a whim, we reached out to Michael and asked if he might consider licensing the image for a book cover, and to our delight, he agreed.
We’re so pleased with how this cover turned out, not only because it’s beautiful, and not only because it suits The Clearing so well, but because we–as an Ohio publisher–get to use the work of an Ohio artist, on a book that’s set in Ohio, by an Ohio author.
The Clearing releases worldwide 3/26/24.
About The Clearing
Set in rural Ohio, The Clearing tells the story of twelve-year-old Sadie Watkins, whose world is being uprooted by her mother’s disease: a severe form of multiple sclerosis.
As Sadie faces the impending grief of losing her mother, she also feels the fading of her childhood and longs for her imagination to return. She seeks solace in the woods behind her house, where she processes her overwhelming home life through traditional Appalachian herbology, pressing and cataloging flowers and plants like a budding scientist.
When Sadie meets Cali, a barefoot wild child who seems to come from nowhere, the two become instant friends. Cali re-introduces Sadie to the wonders of the forest and gives her the courage she needs to face the future—the one without her mom.
This novel intertwines grief, love, nature, and wonder. It also acts as a time capsule of the Healthcare Crisis in the early 2000s, and the many American families like Sadie’s who had to make great sacrifices when illness struck.
About Cassandra J. Kelly
Cassandra J. Kelly holds degrees in journalism and environmental science from Ohio University. She continues to call Ohio home and loves spending time in nature with her Australian Shepherds, Bonnie and Eva. The Clearing is her debut novel. Learn more about her and her most recent work at cassandrajkelly.com.