I’m editing Letters from a Belfast Gardener in preparation for publishing it on Smashwords. The next step is to prepare a cover.
I’m really enjoying rereading this novel as I edit it. The complex personal story of the characters is set against a backdrop of dramatic historical events. Although it is my favourite book in the series of The Compleat Gardener, I think it would be the least popular commercially.
The story takes place in Belfast between 1790 and 1795. The period is a tumultuous one as the French Revolution is in full sway and the Irish have sided with the French against their British occupiers. There is a growing republicanism in Ulster as both Catholics and Presbyterians join forces to create the United Irishmen. Every Bastille Day is celebrated with a parade and fireworks. John Dean abhors the revolutionary and anti-British spirit of the place.
John tends the garden of Henry Joy, the editor of the Belfast News-Letter. John’s oldest son James works in a cotton mill owned by Joy’s nephew, Henry Joy McCracken, one of the founders of the United Irishmen. John’s oldest daughter Eleanor weaves muslin for the cottage industry set up by Mary Ann McCracken. John’s wife Susan falls under the spell of the handsome Henry Joy McCracken and is strongly influenced by the “feminist” views of his sister Mary Ann.
In spite of all their hard work, John sees no future for his family in a place where the British are hated. He starts to save all their money towards emigration to the New World, but before he can get it all together, something happens that changes their life forever.
So what kind of cover would do justice to this novel? Any ideas?