My interview with Jeroen ten Berge, a Dutch-born designer who lives and works in New Zealand, brought to light a startling coincidence yesterday. It seems that Jeroen greatly admires author Ron Rash, a noted author who writes books based in Appalachia, where Rash’s family has lived for generations.
This surprised and delighted me, because I happen to live smack dab in the middle of Appalachia, in Asheville, NC, where Mr. Rash is regarded not only as a literary giant but is also likely to be hailed on the street with an effusive, “Hey, Ron, how’s it going?” (He’s also a professor at nearby Western Carolina University.)
It gets more interesting, and beautiful, depending on your perspective. Here’s what Jeroen had to say about one of his favorite authors:
“One of my favourite authors is Ron Rash, who writes amazing stories set in the Appalachians. I love his style, the dire realism of his work, the love he has for nature and how he describes his characters, their relationships, the choices they make and how it affects them. I’ve read all his work except for Serena, of which I read the first two chapters only. I’m saving the rest for the perfect moment, whenever that may be. For my own pleasure I designed nine covers last year, for some of his short stories. After awhile I found the courage to send them to him, hoping I could sway him to publish his work as eBooks, featuring my covers. He said he found the illustrations wonderful, and referred me to his agent. Sadly it ended there. Rash did give me permission to show the covers on my website — haven’t done so yet.”
Jeroen shared the covers with me, and I’m posting them here, as sort of a testament to one artist’s love for a fellow artist’s work.
Since I’m anticipating some readers of this blog will be interested in buying Rash’s books, I suggest they visit the website of Asheville’s local bookstore, Malaprop’s, where buyers have the highest probability of finding autographed copies of Mr. Rash’s books.
If you do call, tell ‘em you heard this charming story, and who knows? Maybe someday Jeroen will be designing those covers for real.
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