I also want to say a big thank you to everyone who has and is continuing to spread the word and review Willow! I'm so thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful group of supporters.
So, here's fellow RNA and romance writer extraordinaire Kate Walker, on 'Finally Getting the Book Cover I Wanted'.
One upon a time, as all good stories should begin, my editor would ask me to contribute some ideas for the way the cover of my book should look when it was finally produced. I used to think long and hard about this – describe my hero very carefully, give glowing descriptions of my heroine’s beauty, the style of her hair . . . I’d give a scene that I thought would look great, something atmospheric, sensual, passionate. Hopefully something that would really represent the book I ‘d written. But when the covers finally appeared, often it seemed that – well, either I hadn’t written the book I thought I’d written, or the art department didn’t see my story – or my characters in quite the way that I thought they should.
There was my very first book – The Chalk Line (1984) . The hero was described as having jet-black hair - I got an ice-cold blond . Admittedly I’d asked for a snow scene, but I’d never imagined that the weather was going to bleach my hero’s hair quite so badly! Then there was The Golden Thief. (The hero, an actor named Leigh Benedict was the ‘Golden Thief’ of the tile –he was meant to be gorgeous – tall, blond, devastating. A Robert Redford in his heyday type. Hmmm – what I got was RR well past his heyday – or perhaps it was Robert Redford’s older, fatter, uglier brother. And his heroine wasn’t quite the young, fabulous blonde I’d hoped for either. In fact I did rather wonder if she was meant to be the hero’s mother, rather than the sexy, passionate love of his life.
Fast forward a few years and there was Wife For A Day ( 1998)– obviously being the wife of my hero Ronan Guerin, even if just for a day, had all been too much for Lily! Her hair – her strange, wild, crazily bouffant hair had turned totally grey or again perhaps that was his mother the hero was trying to force feed with a strawberry.
I began to wonder if I really had written the book I thought I had. Or were my heroes developing some strange mother fixation? I’m still forced to wonder at times because the cover of Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride (2007) seems to show a mother – in a bridal dress – together with her tall – v-e-r-y tall . . er – husband? No, he only looks about 16. Or perhaps I’ve got it wrong again and I really wrote a story about a cougar heroine and her 16 year old toy boy?
There was my first ever sheikh book – Desert Affair (2002) - and I was truly sheikhen when I saw the cover. My son thought someone had spilled ink all over the book - and for ever after this one was affectionately known as The Blob because of the big dark stain that spread across the cover. It doesn’t look too bad in the paperback, but believe me, when it was in a hardback edition with the top of what is now clearly a towering sand dune cut of by the title and my name, it just looked exactly like – The Blob. The title was a little iffy too – you see, Desert Affair was actually set mostly in London – in a wild, fierce snowstorm. But what with the Blob and Desert Affair, it sold pretty well!
I tried everything I could – I went into even more lyrical and detailed descriptions, I cut picture out of magazines, I pointed out just who had been my inspiration for the hero of each book (Hugh Jackman as a Spaniard, Hugh Jackman as an Italian, Hugh Jackman as an Argentinian. None of them looked at all like Hugh Jackman). My very first cover in the ‘new style’ covers that came out recently – The Proud Wife (2011) really wasn’t bad at all – it featured a glamorous, beautiful woman – it was a stunning photograph. But – well, my heroine was a passionate, voluptuous heroine, fiery and feisty, not the glacially calm creature on the front of this book.
So when my latest book – The Return of The Stranger - the one that’s out on 2nd September (4th October if you’re in America) was accepted, I really just gave in. A tall dark hunk was my hero – the book is inspired by Wuthering Heights so I probably added ‘gipsyish’ or some such. Nothing more. And I didn’t hope too hard and I got . . . .
Perfection! That’s my hero just as I imagined him – he’s dark and sexy . . . and everyone I’ve shown this cover to loves him. There’s no blob, no sign of his mother . . . it’s just Heath Montanha - the hero of The Return of the Stranger, very close to the way I’d imagined him. There’s a moral to this story – say little, keep it zipped – and hope, just hope that someone in marketing has read the book and decides to give it the cover it deserves.
For now, I’m happy – so I’ll settle for that
Standing high on the windswept moors, the lone figure of Heath Montanha vows vengeance on the woman who destroyed the last fragments of his heart...Lady Katherine Charlton has never forgotten the stablehand with dangerous fists and a troubled heart from her childhood. Now the rebel is back, his powerful anger concealed under a polished and commanding veneer. When ten years of scandal and secrets are unleashed, with a passionate, furious kiss, Heath's deepest, darkest wish crystallises...Revenge - and Kat - will be his!
Kate is generously giving away one copy of her novel, Bedded by the Greek Billionaire (pwoar!) to a lucky commenter (commentator?). Thank you, Kate! Happy weekend, everyone.