I haven't read many romance novels, but Sarah MacLean's books make me want to pile them on my nightstand and tear through stack and stacks of them. I am a FAN. I also love her gorgeous, three-dimensional covers.
Here's the story behind the cover of her new release, Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord:
"Romances have a really particular look—you know what I’m talking about... the ravishing (sometimes ravished) beauty, the handsome gentleman, and the famous clinch. Now, some people don’t like the idea of a clinch... but I love them. They tell me that the book in my hands is a broad, sweeping love story, and that it’s going to end with a happily ever after that will leave me sighing and wanting more.
"I knew from experience with my first romance, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, that the cover of the book would showcase my heroine and that peeking underneath the cover at the 'stepback image' would reveal a gorgeous piece of art—my hero and heroine in one of those famous clinches.
"And I couldn’t wait!
"The brilliantly talented team at Avon Books – Art director, cover designer and the incredible artist Ricky Mujica – had done the gorgeous cover of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (left) and they’d been really careful to establish a 'Sarah MacLean look' with that book, which was the first of three romances. So, I knew that Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord would follow in that theme. The art for my book is all original, created by Ricky Mujica. It starts with a photo shoot with models, which is then recreated into beautiful pieces of art.
"I knew that the front cover image would be Isabel, my heroine (I’d been asked me all the standard questions—hair color, eye color, temperament, was there a particular place or a particular dress that she wore that was important). The only real question I had was what would happen on the inside cover? You see Nicholas, the hero of this book, is the twin brother of Ralston, the hero of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, so I wondered if the same model would be used for both covers. I was prepared for the answer to be no... and thrilled when the answer was yes!
"The first glimpse I got of the cover was actually without text (the book hadn’t been titled yet!)... and it was an early version of Ricky Mujica’s fabulous art (right). What’s not to love? There’s nothing better than seeing your characters come to life... and the Ten Ways cover is exactly what I imagined Isabel and Nick to be. The model they chose for Isabel is stunning. I mean, she could easily be Angelina Jolie. And the inside stepback? With Isabel draped across Nick’s lap and against his broad, lovely chest and his hand tangled in her hair? Yowza. (Below)
"I remember being surprised that the art department had chosen a lavendery-pink color for the cover... I’d never given much thought to what color the cover would be, and when I saw that lovely, pearly pink, I was thrilled.
"The effects also make the cover... when I first saw the cover complete with my name and the title, it was glued on a black card stock for me, with all the sample paper swatches, the pearly pink base, the foils for the hand-lettered title and name that their in-house artists had done.
"My editor is a genius. Seriously. I think the covers must go through several rounds with her before I ever see them, because while she always gives me a chance to give feedback, there’s usually little else I can do but gasp and babble in adoration.
"Aside from text color and Ricky putting the finishing touches on his art (see the stepback final version, left), there were no changes. The team at Avon knows how to make a cover pop... and they nailed it on the first try, I think!
"I love this cover. It’s my favorite so far... mostly because the inside stepback is so perfectly Nick and Isabel. The book is about Isabel’s journey to finding love with someone she can trust, and the image perfectly captures the way that Nick feels about her—I love that he’s wrapped around her, as though he will protect her from anything that comes her way. It’s perfect!"
Thanks, Sarah! I love that there's a shoot, then a painting, then a book cover. That is intense—and it pays off gorgeously.
What do you guys think of this cover?
Melissa Walker is the author of four Young Adult novels, including the Violet trilogy and Lovestruck Summer. She is co-creator of the popular teen newsletter I Heart Daily, and her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com.
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