Shirley Showalter, Author of Blush, Knows How to Captivate Visually
Hey, all. Bringing you August’s post about one hot memoir and a very hot author. I’ve picked Shirley Hershey Showalter’s memoir, Blush, for its tremendous cover appeal. I know you’ll enjoy Shirley’s memoir about a Mennonite girl’s introduction to what Shirley calls in Blush’s subtitle, “A glittering world.”
Don’t you love the title? I did. Here’s a peek at Blush’s cover.
What Is Blush’s Subliminal Message?
When I first saw Blush’s cover, I looked twice, then I got busy digging in, learning more. And isn’t that what cover art does? Goodreads folks say that one main reason they buy books is the appealing cover. I have a simple rule: the cover art must draw us visually into a world, and it must make us want to open the book and take the journey. Shirley’s cover art, coupled with her memoir’s memorable title–love the title’s sweet double entendre, don’t you?–express the subliminal, which is crucial to selling any book.
Finding Your Novel’s Subliminal Message Isn’t Easy
It’s difficult finding our book’s subliminal message, much less conveying it through cover art. What appeals subliminally to romantic suspense readers might not appeal to paranormal romance readers. With Blush, the subliminal lies in the contrast Shirley sets up in her title. In Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World, the message is a “hint” of the fresh-faced, sheltered girl’s reaction to a “glittering” world. What subliminal message do you get? I sense the clash of innocence with a world of superfluity or “glitz” on its surface . . . of possibility. Before I even read Blush, my gut is clenching with fear and yet with anticipation. “Don’t go out into that world, Shirley,” I’m shouting. “It’s not a completely glitzy place.”
See what I mean, though? See how Blush’s cover and title make me connect with Shirley’s subliminal message and want to go straight to Amazon and buy Blush?
Shirley Showalter: Mennonite Author Meets Glittering World of Romance Genre
I don’t usually focus on authors per se–that’s not RGB’s focus. Yet I like Shirley’s memoir’s cover so much for what it teaches us about cover art and for what it does for us as a community of romance readers and writers that I’m adding some extra bio because there’s an important question needing answered. How would a book like Blush fit with titles like Surrender Your Love or Fifty Shades? Can Blush, a memoir, become a genre hopper?
Shirley reminded me that Blush is her memoir, so “it might not qualify for most definitions of romance.” Agreed. She noted her goal was to avoid misleading, and she’s right. She also noted, however, that Blush contains romantic elements that touch on her “parents’ courtship and continuing romance and on Shirley’s own introduction to dating at a box social.”
Do we care if Blush doesn’t fit nicely into any specific romance genre? Not even. What I pounced on was Shirley’s remark that she was only eighteen at the end of Blush, and she hadn’t “met the love of [her] life yet.”
Deep breath–pounce! Pounce point is when I and other readers decide we absolutely must read your next book, Shirley Showalter! Who is the love of your life? As a young Mennonite, what was that courtship like for you? Okay, is he . . . Mennonite? If that story’s not romance–I’m from Billings (not).
Blush will connect with many romance readers via the hot “Mennonite theme” and Shirley’s exploration of the issue of “realism in Mennonite fiction,” which is what Blush is about. I’ll read Blush and also Shirley’s next book because I connect with her cover art and with Shirley as author. I want to hear more bout her “straightforward depiction of the courtship practices she experienced.”
Shirley Showalter, Author: Learn More
It’s not just her cover art that you’ll learn from and enjoy. Shirley Showalter is someone who’s met the glittering world on her terms, thank you, yet she reminds us through her writing and life that she’s grounded solidly in family and Mennonite culture, the reality of which she shares with us in Blush. Visit her on her Web site at www.shirleyshowalter.com. You may also wish to like Shirley’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/shirley.showalter.
Copyright, 2013, Mary H. McFarland. You may freely plagiarize. All images belong to Shirley Showalter.