The wonderfully talented Deeanne Gist joins us today to talk about the making of her latest cover for It Happened at the Fair.
I got a call from my editor. “Do you remember back in the 90s when Christina Dodd’s cover had a heroine with three arms?”
“Well, look at It Happened at the Fair. Do you see anything unusual?”
I quickly grabbed the book. The cover model had the right number of appendages. Then, I looked closer …
“Get out!” I half-choked. Then I giggled. Then I laughed out loud. “This is awesome!”
My editor gave a sigh of relief followed by light laughter. “I thought it was pretty funny, too.”
Can you see our little surprise—“little” being the operative word?
Yep. A bug. The heroine has a bug on her shoulder. That is not supposed to be there. I’ve already received fan mail about it.
A gal from Australia sent: “Why is there a bug on Della’s shoulder on the cover of the book? Once I knew about Cullen’s allergies, I spent the rest of the book dreading him being stung by a bee and going into full anaphylaxis or something!” LOL.
Am I upset? Quite the contrary. I’m delighted. I think it adds a wonderful bit of flavor to the cover. My only regret is that the publisher has already Photoshopped it out of all electronic images on the web and has corrected the color plates so that any subsequent printings will be bug-free. (So if you want the collectible edition, you’d better get it before they run out!)
I interviewed Jeff Miller, the graphic designer, and after learning how many steps are involved in making a cover, it’s easy to see how a little bug there or an extra arm here could be overlooked. Here’s the shortened version of his process:
Step One: Jeff offers three design directions for It Happened at the Fair.
I think it’s so interesting how each design reflects different moods, perspectives and character emphasis. My publisher chose the first option—the cover in which we see the heroine through the eyes of the man who will fall in love with her. This was also my favorite of the three. (Btw, no one—not me, not the photographer, not the designer, not the publisher, not my editor, no one—noticed our “friend” on Della’s shoulder, yet it was on there from the very beginning. LOL.)
Step Two: Since the cover model’s hair style was too contemporary and the color didn’t match the heroine’s, we needed to make some adjustments:
Step Three: The hair color on the right is now correct, but a woman in 1893 would never go out with her hair down. Quite scandalous! So she needs an updo.
Step Four: As you can see to the left, the updo looks great on the model, but once it’s tucked up under the hat, the texture becomes too coarse. It Happened at the Fair’s hero, Cullen McNamara, says, “Her light brown hair was silky and in a soft twist.” So … new hair, please.
Step Five: Much better.
Jeff is now ready to do the final tweaking. He meshed together several coloring and texture techniques to give the book an antiqued look which serves as an indicator to the reader that the story is an historical.
“The below image,” he says, “shows the final cover with all the pieces in the process that it took to construct one cohesive design that effectively and accurately depicted a window into the story.”
Pretty crazy, huh? You can see how there’s so much going on that it’s easy to miss some puny little ol’ thing like a cricket bug. But bug or no, that dress is yummy, the heroine’s curvy, her hair is perfect, and the backdrop is provocative. Everything you’d want in a cover.
So, have you ever thought much about how covers were made? What surprised you most about the process? Leave a comment here for your chance to win an autographed hardback, limited *bug* edition of It Happened at the Fair.
Contest ends midnight, Central Time, May 18, 2013. Must have continental USA mailing address to be eligible to win.
About the Author:
Speaking of great hair…Deeanne Gist—known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee—has rocketed up bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very fun, very original historicals. She has received four RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, and rave reviews. Deeanne has a background in education and journalism and a degree from Texas A&M. She has written for People, Parents, and
Parenting. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and has four grown children. She has a very active online community on her website IWantHerBook.com and at Facebook.com/DeesFriends. Read more about It Happened at the Fair here.
Deeanne is celebrating the release of It Happened at the Fair with an iPad Mini Giveaway and a Live Author Chat Webcast event on May 22! Details here.
Don’t forget to leave a comment on Jaunty Quills for your chance to win an autographed copy of It Happened at the Fair!