For my first book, "Our Neighbors, Their Voices: True Stories of Immigrant Exodus," choosing a book cover was not that difficult. I self-published the book using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. The photo is of the actual passport that my wife, Pina, her mother, and two older sisters had when they immigrated to the U.S. in 1962. If you go to my website, you can see it. She's the little one in front.
This time, however, Atmosphere Press has a much more polished approach than my previous foray. I sent to their director of cover design links to a number of book covers that appealed to me. I included the themes for my novel: tragedy cannot define one's life wholly; finding resilience in the face of trauma; hope is critical in order to heal; grief can be a life-long process. I'm sure readers will find other lessons and takeaways that ring true for them when they read the book.
For me, the cover for And Still We Rise depicts the distance and separation from one's home, but the hope that must prevail despite the darkness. I trust that although the book deals with the harsh realities of the Bosnian genocide, readers will find that the characters deep and abiding faith in one another enables them to rise above the trauma in ways that connect us all.
This story is important to shed light on the atrocities that took place in Bosnia, which sadly are denied by many in Serbia and Republika Srpska. In fact, revisionism has led to what's been termed 'triumphalism' on the part of those deniers. That is, they see what twas done to Muslims and Catholic Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina as justified and heroic. The book is based on true events. I did a great deal of reading, viewing documentaries and feature-length films, and talking with survivors. One in particular, Satko Mujagic, was immensely helpful in holding my feet to the fire to ensure its authenticity. At the age of twenty, Satko survived two concentration camps, and those experiences can never be denied. He has dedicated his life to assuring that justice is served, and that the world never forgets.