Sparrow Migrations: A Novel
by Cari Noga
Neurotypical author, autistic artist team up on debut novel, Sparrow Migrations
TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The novel that has led northern Michigan’s paperback fiction bestseller list for most of April has a unique cover that is not only grabbing readers’ attention, it has its own story to tell.
Written by award-winning author Cari Noga, Sparrow Migrations is the story of Robby Palmer, a 12-year-old boy with autism who witnesses the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane crash from a ferry and becomes obsessed with the birds blamed for it.
Robby’s obsession provides a precarious perch from which he ventures, for the first time, beyond the bunker of his brain to forge real-world relationships. The novel goes on to reveal those relationships— with crash survivors, Robby’s own parents, and two mentors.
“Because autism is a major theme in the novel, I wanted a cover designer who understood it,” Noga said. “I found more than I could have hoped for in Anie Knipping.”
Knipping, of Montclair, N.J., is an autistic artist and the author of her own memoir, Eccentricity.
Noga, 43, and Knipping, 31, were matched by a mutual publishing connection, Arielle Eckstut of The Book Doctors. A former literary agent, Eckstut now advises authors on their best route to publication, and had worked with both Noga and Knipping separately.
“Cover design is one of the most important and least appreciated pieces of the publishing process. People do judge a book by its cover,” Eckstut said. “I couldn’t have been more excited to team these two up–one a brilliant graphic designer with an utterly unique point of view, the other a brilliant writer with a story that grips you from beginning to end.”
The entire cover design process was conducted by e-mail between December 2012 and March 2013. Knipping first read the manuscript, and then created the concept of a plane composed of interlocking sparrows. The M.C. Escher-esque design is a more eloquent representation of the puzzle piece often used to symbolize autism.
The result is a cover that has been turning heads since Sparrow Migrations was published April 1, in conjunction with Autism Awareness Month.
Noga wrote Sparrow Migrations as a way to navigate the emotional turmoil that followed her own son’s autism diagnosis in 2010. The first draft finished as a semifinalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.
Knipping said she doesn’t usually take on outside projects, especially in winter, when she struggles with depression. But she agreed after she read the novel.
“I couldn’t have done this cover if I didn’t believe in the story,” she said.
Sparrow Migrations (342 pages, $14.95 paperback, $2.99 Kindle) is available on Amazon.com, as is Eccentricity (330 pages, $21 paperback, $9.99 Kindle.)
For more information, visit www.carinoga.com. To download high and low-resolution versions of the novel cover, click the yellow “Press Downloads” button.