Author Regan Walker gave me some excellent advice last year on book cover design, advice which I took into account when I designed the front cover for Watermark. You’ll probably notice I carried over some of the same design themes found in Clingstone to Watermark. A portrait of my hero and heroine, for example, and a panoramic scene that reflects the setting or a scene from the book. The band separating the two images is also carried over. There’s a practical reason for doing this, of course: Similar imagery in cover design helps an author’s books stand out for readers. Also, I just think it looks pretty! That’s more whimsical than practical, but there you have it.
Now for the fun stuff! What’s it all mean? The panoramic scene at the bottom of the cover is of the Mississippi River, which is where my novel takes place. The background in the upper section is a pretty wood grain that also doubles as water ripples. Clever, huh? Since I write historical romance, I like the idea of the hero and heroine’s image coinciding with whatever methods were available to capture it at the time the book takes place. In Clingstone, which occurs during the American Civil War, daguerreotypes were popular, and so that was the style of photography I simulated in the cover design. Watermark takes place in 1828, and so I thought a painting of my couple would be fitting, but I didn’t want bold, bright colors. I wanted their image to look slightly faded, much as if it had been painted on a piece of wood nearly two hundred years ago and the grain was now bleeding through the paint strokes. Hair colors are no longer very distinct. Skin tones are mottled. And yet their portrait is still very beautiful and timeless.
As for the couple themselves, there are a lot of great websites out there that offer cover model photography. For both of my covers, I’ve used Jenn LeBlanc/Illustrated Romance. The prices are reasonable and I think her poses are gorgeous.
Last but not least, I’m crazy about that font! I love those blotchy edges and how it looks as if the nib of an old-fashioned quill scratched those letters across the cover. Perfection!
Overall, I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. I hope my readers agree! Come back next week and I’ll share an excerpt to tide you over until Watermark’s release later this summer!
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