Monday, November 01, 2010

Covering the Subject

About a week ago, my December cover flats – printed covers showing both front and back – arrived in the mail. The artist did a great job of capturing the little stars of The Holiday Triplets, along with my pediatrician heroine and my hunky, dark-haired hero.

He’s an obstetrician and hospital administrator with whom she butts heads while adopting the triplets after she learns she can’t have babies the traditional way. This is a love story multiplied by their growing feelings not only for each other but also for the little ones.

It’s impressive that the artist got everything right, from the genders of the babies (two girls and boy) to the hero and heroine’s coloring. Of course, we writers fill out a form for Harlequin, providing this information in advance, but the artist has to find models who fill the bill, compose the picture and capture the warm, loving spirit of this family-to-be.

Recently, I’ve loved all my covers, but that hasn’t always been the case. Before I start grousing, though, I should explain that there’ve been far more hits than misses among my 84 published books (with three more scheduled for next year). Also, I appreciate the work of the professionals even more now that I’m designing smaller, simpler covers for reissues of my early, non-Harlequin books for the ebook reading devices Kindle and Nook.

One outstanding cover received special recognition. In 1999, Harlequin published The Art of Romance, subtitled A Century of Romance Art. This small volume contained 30 postcards, each an actual Harlequin cover beginning in 1914 and ending in 1997. I was impressed to find that the collection included the cover of my 1996 Harlequin American Yours, Mine and Ours. The cover shows the hero, heroine and three small children arrayed pinwheel style, head to head, lying on the floor, and it’s really cute. I only wish the artist had been credited so I could compliment him or her.

What’s my least favorite Harlequin cover? (I have a few least favorites from other publishers too, which I’m very happy to replace as I post the ebook editions). Ironically, it’s The Runaway Bride from 1995, the book that came out right before Yours, Mine and Ours (it was not the same artist; I recall the editor mentioning that). My heroine had an outdated hairstyle and wore an ugly, short wedding gown.

But that beats a historical romance cover I once saw from another publisher. If you looked closely, the hero had three arms. That might have made for some unusual love scenes, but no thank you.

Although we’re all warned not to judge a book by its cover, readers can’t help doing that. As for us writers, we’re grateful and appreciative when our covers match or surpass what we hoped for.


Estella said...

Yes, that is a great cover on The Holiday Triplets

Gillian Layne said...

Oh, I can't wait to snatch up all these holiday romances! Your cover is adorable. :)