After years of madly scribbling away in the privacy of my office, I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to finally know that actual people are reading and enjoying my book. A huge majority of the comments note the lovely cover. I agree!
At the very beginning of the design process, my editor asked me to write up some notes about what the characters look like and the setting of the book. Unlike many inspirational romance novels that are set on the prairie, The Lady of Bolton Hill takes place in Baltimore during the gilded age, so it was important to communicate the setting so people knew what they were getting. Hence, the skyline through the window. In my design notes, I spoke a lot of the heroine, Clara, as a very refined and gentle woman. This quality really comes through on the cover.
Aside from those initial notes, the cover illustration is an aspect of the book I have almost zero control over, so I was sweating bullets over what it would look like. In my head I have a vision of the tone, setting, and atmosphere of the book, and it is a huge leap of faith to turn all that over to someone else. I was very lucky to be paired up with such a gifted artist, Jennifer Parker, for my first cover.
It was late at night when I got the email with the cover image attached, and my computer was unusually sluggish. I remember the wave of nervous anxiety as I waited for that image to load. I think I was clenching my teeth so hard I almost gave myself lockjaw. Anyway, what a huge relief to be greeted with something so lovely!
I never realized how much work goes into the design process. The cover illustrator actually came up with several mock-ups of the cover before settling on the lady in the blue dress. Here are the rough drafts of alternate cover ideas:
Once they decided on a lady standing before a window, they hired a model, a photographer, and went to work. Here are the two, almost identical versions of the cover that made it to the final round:
They ultimately decided on the version on the left. After that, they began working on the artwork, text, spine, and layout of the back cover. All in all, I was immensely pleased and humbled to have such a great team of people working on my cover.