BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE has a cover!
Teen Librarian Toolbox with School Library Journal helped reveal the cover and here is what I wrote about both the book and its new face:
I’ve been fascinated by apples. When I was little, I was intrigued by the seed star nestled in their centers, imagining the apple was its own night sky. As I became older and read more widely, I became intrigued by their literary lore. They are presented as Temptation, Knowledge, Beauty. We see apples created by gods in myths spanning different cultures, regaled as an object of Beauty in poems, depicted as the forbidden fruit in the Edenic fall in the Old Testament, and even becoming a method of poisoning in the famous fairy tale Snow White. And, in America, we have yet another interpretation of them as wholesome icons, seen in apple pie, a gift for a teacher, and the idiom, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
So it was from this rich landscape that I got the first seeds of inspiration for Before the Devil Knows You’re Here. I’d grown up hearing about Johnny Appleseed and always loved the idea of someone traveling far and wide, planting seeds wherever they went. But, I asked, what if Johnny wasn’t planting typical apple trees? What if his apples were poisonous? Cursed?
As a triracial author, I love focusing on American history through the lens of my heritage, which is its own unique tale. My family’s history is full of hope yet also full of hardship, from struggling to find the American dream while laboring in fields after immigrating from Mexico to being wrongfully incarcerated in Japanese American internment camps during WWII. For this story, I told it from the point of view of a Mexican-American poet, who is drawn into a surreal world full of peril. I hope readers will discover the fun, love, and beauty that comes when you have parents from two different cultures, even as the main character faces heartbreak, death, and wrestles with the monstrosity of the world—and the monstrosity within her own self.
I’m so excited to share a glimpse of the book today via the cover. I love how the book stares back at you just as much as you stare at it and that it hints at the bizarre world to come just inside the cover, as indicated by the hand with the black nails. And though it features the progression of an eaten apple, beware the apples encountered within its pages. I’ve heard they taste incredible—but that they may just kill!
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