That About Covers It
People of a certain age remember where they were on June 17, 1994, the night of the O. J. Simpson slow speed chase through Southern California. My husband and I ordered pizza, sat on the couch and hoped we weren’t going to end up watching Simpson get shot by the police.
I even rooted for him.
These days, Simpson is no one’s idea of a hero. He got away with murdering two people, avoided paying the $33.5 million awarded to the families of the victims when he was convicted in a civil trial, and served 9 years of a 33-year prison sentence for a stupidly botched robbery. He’s out now, a frequent Twitterer, if you care to follow him.
I don’t recommend that you do.
Still, those images of that night are iconic--the white Ford Bronco coasting over Southern California freeways, Simpson in the back seat supposedly holding a gun to his head. The stream of police cars following the Bronco. The news helicopters overhead. All those people standing on freeway overpasses and the freeway itself, cheering for O.J.
She Writes Press is publishing my novel, "The Lockhart Women" in June of 2021 and their Creative Director, Julie Metz, suggested we use an image of the Bronco for the cover of my novel, “The Lockhart Women.” Her initial design looked terrific and seemed a perfect choice, since my novel starts on the night of the chase. But then she realized there were editorial restrictions on the Bronco image, that Simpson is very protective of his ‘brand,’ and that he might even sue me if he saw my novel and felt litigious.
So, no to the Bronco idea. And on to an even better one.
Scrolling through images of freeway/palm trees one morning I found a photograph of an empty freeway shot through the bars of an overpass. I liked the rust on the bars, the oil on the asphalt, the glimpse of the ocean off to the side and I love how Julie Metz cropped the image and centered the text and captured exactly what my novel’s about and (more importantly) what it is NOT about.
"The Lockhart Women" is not about O. J. Simpson, it's about a woman who sits down in front of her TV because her husband has left her for an older, less attractive woman. She gets hooked on the media coverage of the trial and believes for a long time that Simpson is innocent. Her daughters are busy making their own mistakes. Their lives fall apart and come back together again in ways they never expected.
"The Lockhart Women" is also not about the glitzy Hollywood world of glamourous, privileged people driving up long palm tree lined driveways to billion-dollar houses overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The characters in “The Lockhart Women” catch occasional glimpses of the Pacific Ocean, out in the distance, but they live in working-class neighborhoods in Huntington Beach and Anaheim. They have jobs at the Post Office, they drive vehicles they can't exactly afford, and they shop at Target.
"The Lockhart Women" will be out in the world June of 2021 and available for pre-purchase soon, so be on the alert for an upcoming onslaught of shameless self-promotion.
Thank you so much, Julie Metz and She Writes Press.