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We all do it. I’ve bought books on the strength of a good title and gorgeous cover alone – of course I have. But the content has to deliver on its promise as well.

I have an idea of how I want my books to look when I’m writing them, and was dreaming about this new one long before I finished it. So when HarperCollins asked me to come up with a few suggestions, I jumped at the opportunity.

You might remember I wrote a post about the mood board and process I went through for Precious Things here. This book has a completely different vibe. It’s lighter and less anxious (as I was saying here). It’s very girly and gossipy and younger in feel (not just the characters, but the subject matter as well – less about a mid-life course correction and more about a mid-to-late twenties meltdown (which is kind of hilarious and a rite of passage… I’ve been there).

I loved the look HCP came up with for Precious Things; the title and the font and (ego speaking here) my name glowing in large gold font… But I’m not sure it’s right for novel two. Here’s how I briefed the cover concept for my new book:

“Catherine,” I said to my publisher, “can we make it more frothy, please… Can it be pink? Or baby blue?”

You might think I’m being horribly reductive here, but here’s some of my favourite books. Take a look at the covers. I’d be honoured to be considered in the same league with any of these authors. So I’m pushing for pink, I’m pushing for illustrations, and I’m pushing for whimsical font and a picture of a dress or a handbag or a couple of champagne flutes.

I’ll let you know how I go, but fingers crossed I haven’t completely missed the mark.

Because I wrote this book to provide comfort. It’s not literary with a capital ‘L’. It’s not going to win any awards and it’s not going to change the world, but it might just give someone a pleasant afternoon or two, and a place to escape to when life seems a bit ‘meh’. Pink says that in spades. And I love those reads myself. Books about friendship and fashion and worrying you’re a bit of a lightweight. This next novel, in particular, is about coming home with your tail between your legs, licking your wounds and then brushing yourself off to start again. My heroine – Sylvie, her name is – is the poster child for that.

So, Sylvie, here’s to you. I hope you end up pretty in pink.

*Artist Jeff Delgado created this magnificent artwork exclusively for Fandango capturing Andie and Duckie in their triumphant moment at the prom.