Cover Love . . . With Karen Coles

Posted on 12th March, 2021


This week it is a special pleasure to welcome my friend Karen Coles to my blog to share the cover design of her debut novel, The Asylum. Karen is a painter and sculptor. She lives in Wales, not far from a town which once had three Victorian asylums. Their history inspired the writing of her novel.


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Thanks so much, Susanna, for inviting me to appear on your blog to talk about cover love. Love is certainly the right word in my case. Having been a visual artist for most of my life, I was really hoping to like one of the cover designs Welbeck created. When I saw this one, I didn’t just like it, I loved it! A shiver ran over my skin when I saw the beautiful design. It was everything I could have wished for and made me quite emotional.


I still can’t quite believe what’s happened in the last two years. It already felt like a dream come true to be represented by the brilliant Victoria Hobbs at A.M. Heath, but then to have an editor like Welbeck’s Rosa Schierenberg, whose ideas about the book were so utterly in tune with my own, felt almost miraculous. I didn’t think it could get any better, but when I saw the cover designed by Welbeck’s brilliant art director, Alexandra Allden, which so perfectly encapsulated the story, it was just the icing on the cake (sorry about the cliché). I couldn’t have wished for a better experience.




I love the way Alex has included elements of the story in the lovely cover design. The brain, unravelling on the right side, dotted with flowers, moths and butterflies. The wrought iron decoration that brings to mind the gates of the asylum, the gates of Ashton House too. And that colour! Blue has always been my favourite colour, but this particular shade is my favourite of all.


As you can probably tell, I’m besotted with my book cover, and feel hugely lucky to have such talented people working on my book.


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1906: Being a woman is dangerous, being different is deadly.

Maud Lovell has been at Angelton Lunatic Asylum for five years. She is not sure how she came to be there and knows nothing beyond its four walls. She is hysterical, distressed, untrustworthy. Badly unstable and prone to violence. Or so she has been told.


When a new doctor arrives, keen to experiment with the revolutionary practice of medical hypnosis, Maud's lack of history makes her the perfect case study. But as Doctor Dimmond delves deeper into the past, it becomes clear that confinement and high doses are there to keep her silent.


When Maud finally remembers what has been done to her, and by whom, her mind turns to her past and to revenge.


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Publication day is April 1st. Click here to go to Amazon.



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