The Quilt of Best Intentions
My latest book is called Pieces of the Heart. It’s part of the Abingdon Press Quilts of Love Books series. The main theme of the series is that “every quilt has a story.” Well I’m here to tell you that the quilt on my cover has TWO stories!
The centerpiece of this novel is a traditional African American quilting pattern, the Pinecone Quilt, or in some circles it is also called a Pine Burr Quilt. It was designated the official quilt of the State of Alabama by their Legislature on March 11, 1997. There was a Pinecone quilt in my family, but it was lost in the flooding of Wilkes Barre, PA during Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
Try as I might, I couldn’t find a Pinecone quilt photo to use for my cover. I did find one. A gorgeous example Oprah bought for Maya Angelou as a gift. I didn’t think she’d let me plaster her gift all over the cover of my book. So I came up with what I will now refer to as a Lucille Ball moment.
Okay so my idea wasn’t really as hair-brained as an original Lucy! But it sure felt that way.
I’m a novelist, a seamstress, and clothing designer by profession. My first thought was, “How difficult could a Pinecone quilt be?”
I’m extremely good at making my own clothing patterns in the natural world but I forgot to tell you—I loathe picky small stuff—especially crafts. I would rather have a root canal with a rusty nail than be forced to scrapbook or the like. No disrespect meant to scrapbookers, I’m just not a craft kind of gal!
So to continue with my Lucille Ball moment… I announced to my publisher, Abingdon Press, that my search was fruitless, and I would see if I could make one. (Okay, I hear the laughing out there now.) I threw away, rather than rework, my first couple of pathetic attempts. About forty hours later, I found my rhythm. It started to come together. I had about a three-foot circle.
Now at this point you would think I was cheering and giving myself high-fives (well, I was…but we won’t talk about it). I chose reds, whites, and blues because this is a WWII story and I was feeling the whole patriotic thing. About that time Abingdon Press sent me the first cover copy.
They had found a gorgeous quilt in oranges, yellows, and greens…and the perfect matching kitchen scene for the lower third of the cover. Exactly the kitchen I’d envisioned. Only one problem! It was a Chrysanthemum quilt instead of a Pinecone quilt. On a Chrysanthemum the points face outward. On a Pinecone quilt the points face inward. My quilt color scheme and Abingdon’s color scheme were polar opposites. I cried on the quilt and pulled my hair out (not really, but it sounded like a great idea at the time).
About a half an hour of thinking and I had a solution…Thanks to the creative magic of electronic photo-shopping techniques, and the amazing cover department at Abingdon Press, my sample quilt now has the correct colors on this cover!
Would you like to see the real quilt and compare it to the cover? Invite Bonnie Calhoun to speak at your event and she’ll share the quilt along with many other entertaining stories.
Bonnie S. Calhoun is owner of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, publisher of the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for ACFW, ACFW’s ‘Mentor of the Year,’ for 2011, President of Christian Authors Network, Appointment Coordinator for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. http://bonniescalhoun.com