Choosing a Book’s Cover, Part 1

Readers ask about how I decide what goes on the covers of my books. As I feel the veterans who I write about should be showcased, I’ve chosen to place their photos on front back covers.

Willig Ray old (3)
Ray Willig was only 17 years old when he served in the Army at D-Day.

At the top of the front cover of D-Day: Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen Tell about Normandy, you see two Army guys standing — they are Ray Willig and Gene Cogan. Here is an excerpt of Cogan’s story:

Cogan Gene old stand
Gene Cogan’s story of his heroism at Normandy is excerpted below.

On June 6, 1944, Eugene Cogan of Avilla, Ind., prepared to lead troops of B Company, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division down the gangplank onto Omaha Beach. His excellent marksmanship skills had caused Cogan to be chosen as first scout. He would be vulnerable to enemy fire from the Germans, but Cogan, 21, felt confident. “I was a good shooter and carried my 1903 Springfield scope rifle,” he said. “I didn’t think about dying.” As Cogan would find out, not everything in war goes as planned.

Scheer Leo uni (6)
When Leo Scheer (left)’s boat exploded as it approached Omaha Beach, the Navy corpsman was forced to jump overboard and swim to shore. He administered medical attention to wounded soldiers.

In the center at the top of the book’s front cover is a photo of Navy corpsman (medic) Leo Scheer holding a German Nazi flag (the man on the right is unidentified). All three men survived at Normandy and lived to tell me their stories decades later.

Later this week, I’ll talk about photos on the back cover. As a former school librarian, I believe in using every opportunity to educate and interest people in a book. Hopefully these photos do that.  What do you think? What does looking at old photos mean to you?

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