My brother, Israel, was an amazingly talented artist. (I say "was" because although he is very much alive and well, he no longer draws or pursues art.) Although he had no formal lessons or training, as a teenager, he spent hours sketching. When our brother Ben became a youth pastor, Israel decorated the wall of Ben's office with a mural-size pen and ink drawing of a lion's head. The mural was so dramatic that it became a conversation piece for the church.
When we wrote The Twelfth Juror, the character of Megan Cleary was originally a brown-eyed redhead. But in the mid-1990's, a couple of years after we wrote the manuscript, Israel sat down one day and sketched an image of a beautiful blonde girl with green eyes. What I found interesting about the sketch was that the entire pen and ink was black and white, except for those amazing emerald eyes. We decided then and there that if we ever published The Twelfth Juror, we wanted to use that drawing for the cover.
By the year 2010, when we actually decided to publish The Twelfth Juror, Israel had moved around several times. He had lived in Dallas, Oregon, Arizona, California, and Colorado. He had let go of many of his worldly possessions during the course of those moves. Most of his portfolio of art from those early years had been lost or discarded. So I was not very optimistic when I placed the phone call to ask him, "Do you still have that picture of the beautiful girl with the green eyes that you drew about 15 years ago?"
"Actually," he answered, "I do. I just saw it the other day. Most of my portfolio is gone, but this picture I still have." He told me that someone had offered to buy the drawing from him, and that as a struggling pre-veterinary student he had been tempted to sell it, but he just could not bring himself to part with it. On my promise to take care of the picture and allow no harm to come to it, he shipped it from Colorado to El Paso for us to reproduce it.
We changed Megan's description to reflect the features of the drawing, including those amazing emerald eyes. And I have to smile every time I think about this drawing that survived through my brother's numerous travels and moves across the country, that withstood the temptation to sell that comes from financial hardship, and that made its way back to become the cover of our novel. In the story she represents Megan Cleary, but in our family we call her simply, "the girl with the green eyes."