Monday, November 2, 2009

Judging Books By Their Covers

If you have been following the process of publishing a four-book series, you will know that it is not something you do overnight.

One of the most interesting things I encountered during the process was commissioning the covers for the four novels by Snow Hill artist Dawn M. Tarr. Now, this may sound like a fairly straightforward process, but it isn't at all.

In the first place, Dawn is busy making a living and while she did her best to keep up with the theme each book represented, I think it was a true labor of love for her to do these covers.

This is what happened: I emailed Dawn and asked if she would be interested in doing the cover for the first book. At the time, one book seemed to satisfy my writing itch, but it spread.

When Dawn said she would do the cover for the first book, I was over the moon. We have been friends for ages, and it meant a lot to me that she would do the art for Chesapeake Harvest. I shot her a brief synopsis of the story and she shot back the cover art.

Same thing with the second book, and the third, and the fourth. Dawn 'got' each story from the brief descriptions I sent, keeping the art in the same colors, but varying costume and hairstyles to echo the differing eras in which the stories took place.

The cover for Chesapeake Destiny was definitely difficult. Jane Elliott marries badly and lives to regret it. She might have given up and become a faceless woman like the one in the unfinished painting in her attic if not for the wandering artist who returned to give her his heart. This novel is set during the Revolutionary War and spotlights the Eastern Shore of Maryland as the breadbasket for both the rebel and British armies.

Dawn caught the story perfectly, and read it a year later! Our telepathy seems to work pretty well, at least I think so.

I will be in Snow Hill signing books at the Adcock Gallery for First Friday this week and at the Bay Country Shop on US 50 in Cambridge from 1-3 p.m. on Nov. 14. See you there! Terry

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