The defining moments of young Ethan Opochensky’s life occurred during the summer he spent with his cousin Alice in the small, rural town of Meddersville. Three children disappeared that summer, his cousin among them. Nine-year-old Ethan believes he knows the killer, but his story is so fanciful, it is dismissed out of hand.
Twenty-five years later, children are once again disappearing in Meddersville. Ethan returns to Meddersville to separate fact from childish fantasy, to discover the truth behind Alice’s disappearance, and to bring her killer to justice.
The Summer We Lost Alice is a story of loss and grief, of courage, of family, and ultimately, of healing and the triumph of an enduring spirit.
Full length novel. Contains paranormal elements, a trace of mild language, no explicit sex. No child violence.
I was really sweating the cover for Alice, struggling to find an image for “little girl is kidnapped, presumed murdered” that wasn’t cheesy as hell. A shadow with no figure. A dotted outline of a little girl. A pair of girls shoes by a riverbank, one shoe on its side. And so forth.
Then I stumbled upon this photo of a little girl… where was it? Iceland?… walking with her mother, looking back over her shoulder, shooting us a smile. I presented it to Cindy Vance who cleverly cut off part of the girl’s face and slicing that smile in two, and voila, I had the image I wanted, an image that spoke of sweetness and love and loss and a promise of something beyond.
Here’s a version of the cover that appears on iTunes. Cindy cropped it for dramatic effect for other outlets.
For the print book, just to mix things up, I tried another approach and a different graphic artist. Shayne Hellerman took the little girl image, tore it in half, and rephotographed it in a leaf-strewn gutter. I like this one very much, also.