Working with The Artist
How did you work with the artist? Did the pictures in the book match the pictures in your head while you were writing?
I haven’t yet met the artist. Even though publishers don’t want writers and artists to talk to each other, I was granted the right to approve the drawings for historical accuracy. For example, were the costumes right? It was difficult finding out what New England police wore in rural Massachusetts in the 1830s. No photos exist, and it seems few artists in that time and place wanted to sketch lawmen. Kathryn’s first sketches showed formal tall helmets, but that outfit seemed wrong for a country village. Yet without some bit of a uniform on the scene, readers would have a hard time distinguishing the officials from regular town folk. Kathryn settled on blue shirt and pants, and rings of keys for the jailer. I think that decision works just fine.
As for the pictures in my head while I wrote the book, I mostly imagined that last page — with an empty chair in the road, and the Palmer family dancing home together, off in the distance. Kathryn twisted the picture around, so that the family dances near us, and the empty chair sits in the distance. Her version works even better because you can see the Palmer family’s faces!