Iskander: Blog

Back to Iskander's Blog

The story behind the cover of "Through my Eyes. Again."

Posted at

I've been asked by a few people about the cover of Through my Eyes. Again. as it's a bit different from the 'usual' modern covers. As I started writing an explanation, I thought that a wider audience might like a glimpse of what goes on behind the final production of the book. A cover is the 'hook' that first attracts a reader and so it needs to be well baited with elements that hint at the story.

The overall design of the cover echoes an East German propaganda poster from 1970 (you can see this on my Patreon) by a Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR - communist East Germany) artist, Klaus Bernsdorf. This was found by Chris during his research and you can see this influence in the cover design.

Initially we planned to use the poster on the back cover and our echo on the front. I got in touch with the German Historical Museum in Berlin, trying to track down copyright. They were very helpful and were able to locate the name of the artist, but could not trace an address. As the copyright had returned to the artist when the DDR ceased to exist with the reunification of Germany, that meant we could not use the poster itself without breaking copyright. Work on the back cover continues - but it will only be needed if I decide to produce a print edition. (I have acknowledged Klaus Bernsdorf's work as the inspiration for the cover design in the front pages of the book.)

The novel is mostly set in Herne Bay and Beltinge, in the county of Kent in the UK during the Cold War in the early 1960s; I felt the cover should reflect this time and location. Herne Bay is a seaside town on the north Kent coast and used to have one of the longest 19th Century piers in Europe. Initially, I thought we could use an image of the pier. However, neglect, fire and storms have practically destroyed the entire structure and I couldn't find the right picture from earlier times. As a result I went looking for some other landmark.

On the Herne Bay seafront, close to what was the entry to the pier, is a clock tower. After considering various options with Chris, I decided that this was an appropriate landmark for the top part of the cover.

One of the important characters in TMEA is a child that grew up in the city of Leipzig in what was then East Germany, before escaping to the West a few weeks before the start of the novel. As with all German cities during World War II, Leipzig suffered extensive damage from bombing by the RAF and US Army Air Corp - and was then fought over in the closing stages of the war. The lower picture is of Leipzig in 1945. Chris came up with the idea of eyes of different ages - picking up the time-slip element of the novel.