Cover Me: The Art of Jose Roberto

One of the most common questions I get regarding Timely Persuasion is about the cover artwork.  Where did it come from?  How does it relate to the plot?  Is that you in the picture?  I was surprised to realize I haven’t told that story on this blog before now.

The original painting

The original painting

Way back in June of 2005 I stumbled onto a (now defunct) surrealist art website based out of the UK called the Hammond Gallery.  It turned into an extended Internet time wasting expedition as I got lost in the site and spent a couple of hours browsing the various paintings and artists they had listed.  I was particularly fascinated by the work of an artist named José Roberto.  And when I saw a piece of his entitled “Lost In Time,” I immediately stopped and said “That should be the cover to Timely Persuasion.”

I loved the title for starters.  The clock played nicely with the time travel theme.  The floating, egg yolk face about to drip off the table could symbolize what the narrator was experiencing.  (It also inspired the narrator’s “new look” in the alternate present when I rewrote parts of that scene to resemble the cover art.)  But what I loved most of all was the shadowy man of mystery off in the distance towards the upper right hand corner, who in my mind has always been the old man standing at a distance while observing and influencing the whole series of events.

Modified Book Cover Version

Modified Book Cover Version

Unfortunately the email address for the artist on the Hammond Gallery site was invalid.  Google searches for his name proved elusive as well.  (Today his website is the first hit for his name, but that wasn’t the case in 2005.)  Eventually my wife managed to track him down via a Google Groups reference to his project/business.

José turned out to be a very kind and generous guy in addition to a wonderful artistic talent.  He granted permission for me to use “Lost In Time” as the book cover and even sent me a slightly modified high res file that allowed some extra room at the top and bottom for the title and author credit while better fitting the dimensions of the paperback.  I can’t thank the guy enough for being so helpful and down to earth.

You can check out José’s paintings, sketches, and digital works at his website,

(Be sure to check out an original sketch of “Lost In Time” in his second gallery of sketches.)

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