Making a fun site for a first time novelist

We launched to introduce Sophie as the young and promising author she is through her first novel, The Registrar’s Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages. The protagonists’ journeys provide the metaphor for the lateral movement through the site, along the meandering dotted line. The rolling waves move below as well, recalling the opening scene of the book as well as the cover art.

Nominated for Site Of The Year 2011 is now in the top 3 for “Best Site of the Year 2011” having beat out sites by Nike and Toyota amongst other great projects.

Perhaps people liked the little engine that could story of a solo craftsman finding his way into such amazing company. My Message in a Bottle campaign/experiment got passed around a bit as well and converted visitors into voters.

… Off to London for the awards ceremony :)

12,500 Pageviews in one day,
thanks to an innovative touch

Zeldman's tweet

The Contact Form, received a few mentions in design blogs before being picked up in a slew of Tweets and retweets from industry leaders and consumers alike, including (and very much because of) “the King of Web Standards,” Jeffrey Zeldman (@zeldman). The contact form, a postcard to which the user must affix a stamp (a true German 90s artifact), was fun to make, but more importantly, it brought many more eyes to Sophie’s site.

Sophie Hardach


My editor described the site as

‘absolutely stunning’,
‘completely charming’

and one of the nicest she had seen,
and I could not agree more.

It is a site that invites
people to linger…

read more

When I asked Jonah to design a website for me, I had only a very rough idea of what I wanted: basically, an enhanced business card that would look pretty and tell readers a little bit more about me and my book.

What Jonah did was create a gorgeous site that fulfilled all those functions, but was also a fun and intriguing work of art in itself.

As soon as I showed it to my friends, they began playing with the virtual postcard and exploring the trail on the map. At the same time, the layout led them to the most important part of the site: the first chapter of my book. And they all wanted to forward the link to their friends – a sign that even with so many websites around, people can still get excited over one that is beautiful and easy to use.

My editor described the site as ‘absolutely stunning’, ‘completely charming’ and one of the nicest she had seen, and I could not agree more.

It is a site that invites people to linger. The design subtly picks up on all the major themes of the book, from the moving waves to the German-stamped postcard to the dotted line, which could be either a liberating trail or a confining border. It’s a real homepage, a place that reflects my work and taste and that I am proud to own.”

Thanks for all your work!


WordPress + jQuery

That means Sophie can edit her content easily and users can experience the interactive and animated elements on mobile devices too (yup, iPhones and iPads).

Hwahafeis – a Kurdish Farewell

So check out her site,, and if the excerpt grabs you, why not pick up a copy? As for me, I’m already looking forward to Sophie’s next novel also coming from Simon & Schuster.

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