During the process of publishing a book, one question the author is asked is:
What do you envision for your front cover art?
I honestly had no idea when I first started, but then an image formed in my mind about what I wanted Hostage to appear like to the world as they viewed it on my website and in bookstores the world over (I’m projecting what I want to manifest here folks!).
My original thought was an image of a scene in a motel room, perhaps of a bed with a stash of money, maps, a gun and balaclava in view on the bed, then kind of obscured in the image, a black dress. Why a black dress you ask? Well, you’re just going to have to pick up a copy of Hostage and read it to find out. I gave this simple idea to my publishers, and their designer came back with a photo that was very different, but I liked what they created for me, with just a few simple adjustments.
The original girl featured on the cover wasn’t right for my vision of Rachel. She was blonde and looked a bit uptight, two words that definitely do not describe my character of Rachel. Rachel is a brunette and relatable, the type of girl that people love when they meet her. I wanted the woman who represented Rachel on my book cover to match the character that would be revealed on the pages within.
Luckily, I’m a qualified photographer as well so I set about finding the perfect model to represent Rachel. I put out a model call on my Facebook, asking for anybody I know with brown hair who would be willing to pose for me for the cover and would be comfortable with their image being printed on many, many copies of a book that would be sold around the world. I had quite a few of my friends and family reach out to me, some a suitable match, others close but the hair wasn’t right. Then my beautiful stepdaughter, Ashleigh, messaged me and said she’d love to be my model and I knew she was the one!
I was Ashleigh’s stepmum for only a short time, but I’ve known her since she was a baby because of my connection to her family, and I’ve always believed that just because a relationship ends between two adults that the relationship between you and the stepchildren you loved during the relationship doesn’t end. I’ve been blessed to have Ashleigh in my life since that time, and many years after the relationship between her father and I ended, Ashleigh and I still have a really close bond. When she offered to portray Rachel for my book cover, I didn’t hesitate and knew she’d be perfect. Rachel is feisty, down-to-earth and honest, and Ashleigh embodies all of those traits. I know without a doubt that if she was in Rachel’s situation she wouldn’t sit back and take rubbish either, making her both the physical match for my protagonist as well as the personality match.
We arranged for Ashleigh to come to my house so I could photograph her in my studio and after finding the correct little black dress for her to wear, we started snapping away. This of course was made extra fun because Ashleigh’s gorgeous baby boy was crawling around the studio, popping into the shot when he felt like it, throwing plastic ducks around and of course, needing cuddles too. That’s where my many years of multi-tasking came in handy, as I was able to balance a tired ten-month-old on one hip while balancing my heavy DSLR camera in my free hand. We of course worked our female magic and managed to finish the shoot, capturing a heap of photos of Ashleigh in different poses before bubba got too tired and needed to call it quits for the afternoon.
When I finished editing the final image I had chosen, I sent the high res copy off to my publishers and the designer finished putting together the finished product, featuring the beautiful Ashleigh as Rachel Benson. When the final file was sent back to me for approval, I was extra proud of what I saw, seeing my beautiful girl gracing the cover of my very first published novel, knowing that her image would be the first thing that every reader of Hostage sees when they pick up their copy of the book.
As I await the release of Hostage in a couple of weeks’ time, I’m currently busy promoting Hostage, but also planning for my next published book. I’ve recently completed two different manuscripts, both stories very different and I love them both equally, so I’m incredibly torn about which one to publish first. One is another thriller while the other one is an epic love story. I’m leaning towards the thriller at this stage, and I’ve decided to garner some feedback from my readers by offering the first chapter as a teaser to the first 100 people who order a copy of Hostage.
When the time comes for me to start the publishing process, I will of course be searching for another model to grace the cover and represent my main character (and possibly a male as well), and I’ll once again reach out to my family and friends to search for the perfect candidate. No booking anybody in quite yet, but I will give a heads up: you need to have long auburn hair to qualify.
Pre-sale starts next week folks! Can you believe it's almost here? This year has been tremendously slow but flown at the same time, as I've waited for the time to launch Hostage to arrive. But in a matter of weeks you'll all be able to have your own copy of Hostage, featuring my beautiful girl on the cover.
Have a wonderful week ahead!