How to be Free From Sin
While Smoking a Cigarette

The book for people with weaknesses
© 2007 by Martin Zender

Paperback. 105 pages. 25 illustrations.

The story behind the cover (with photos)
Front Cover
Back Cover


Published by Starke & Hartmann
P.O. Box 6473
Canton, OH 44706




The story behind the cover

Iíd been thinking about this cover long before I actually finished the book. Iíd envisioned a close-up of my friend Charlie, a long-time smoker. I wanted a fish-eye type photo, the kind of thing youíd see from the little security lens in a front door: big nose, cigarette looming large in the foreground, face receding quickly into the background.

I finished the book, and for the first desktop printing in booklet form, I needed an instant cover, something I could slap temporarily in place before giving it to Melody for the first reading. So I went online and Googled images under the title "smoking." Scrolling through, I came across an intriguing black and white shot of a guy in big glasses, white umbrella behind him, puffing away, looking very worried. I loved it; it was just the kind of expression I needed for a person suffering guilt over his vice. I couldnít use it for the finished product because it was copyrighted, but I could use it for the mock-up that Iíd give Melody.

Melody loved that cover, and so did everybody else I showed it to. I showed it to my son Aaron, and he said, "Thatís Elijah Wood." I hadnít realized that. "You kind of look like him in this photo," I said. Then it hit me: I could reproduce this cover with Aaron. I asked him if he wanted to do it. "Iím in," he said. The first order of business was ordering the crazy glasses. Aaron went online and in a week had the eyewear necessary to make himself into this strange person.

I sent the mock-up to my sisterówe hadnít shot the cover yetóand she actually thought it was Aaron. "You guys did a nice job on that cover," she said.

"Thatís Elijah Wood," I said.

On Sunday, March 25, 2007, we set up the shot. We already had a white umbrella, used by my oldest son Artie as a reflector in movie shots. And though no one in my family smoked, Artie had a pack of cigarettes heíd bought two years before for an anti-smoking ad heíd filmed for his school. The only thing Aaron had to do was get the cigarette started and then hold it in his mouth.

It was strange lighting a cigarette for my son. Melody didnít care for it at all. "What if this is the day he starts smoking?" she fretted. Aaron rolled his eyes.

"He can always read the book," I said.