I just received the cover art for my next book, A Love Like Ours! Thus, I thought it might be fun to dip back into my computer files and remember where the cover-making process began for this particular novel.
A Love Like Ours will release in May. LAST May, Bethany House contacted me to discuss titling and cover ideas. The working title that I’d given to the novel was, This Love of Ours. My editor liked it and came up with a slight variation: A Love Like Ours. Other titles I sent in for consideration: Only Hers, Only His, His Alone, Hers Alone, Hers for Keeps. (We’d used the possessive pronouns Yours and Mine in the first two books in the series, so I was trying to brainstorm titles with possessive pronouns in them).
The team at Bethany House chose A Love Like Ours as their favorite. They then asked me to submit information on the book’s characters and setting so that they could begin forming a plan for the novel’s cover art. They always request ‘my heroine and hero look like,’ photographs as part of the process.
Confession time. Unlike a lot of authors, I don’t use photographs during the writing of my novels as inspiration for the physical appearance of my characters. I prefer to “see” them in my imagination and fill in the details there. So when the time comes to send photos to Bethany House, I always have to rummage around and search out pictures of people who slightly resemble the characters in my head.
Here’s what I sent the graphic design team at Bethany House…
Heroine: Lyndie James
Lyndie is short and slim. She’s an exercise rider for Thoroughbred race horses, so probably wouldn’t exceed 5’4″ or weigh more than 115 pounds. She has long and wavy blond hair (darker blond with paler highlights), a dusting of freckles, and brown eyes. She’s spent most of her life in California, so she has a light tan and a ‘California girl’ vibe. She wears big hoop earring or long and dangly earrings. She likes scarves, shirt dresses, trendy patterned tops. She tends to wear mint green, pink, peach, white.
She’s an optimistic dreamer. In addition to riding horses, she’s also an artist. She writes and illustrates children’s books — so she has a great imagination. She loves animals. She’s brave and determined enough to have made her way in the male-dominated world of Thoroughbred racing. She’s also tenderhearted enough to take care of her sister (who has cerebral palsy). She’s always been, innately, a healer.
Hero: Jake Porter
Jake is over six feet tall with dark brown hair, a hard athletic body, and hazel eyes. He’s extraordinarily handsome, except for the scar across the right side of his face. It runs from his nose across his cheek down to his jaw. He wears jeans, cowboy boots, and a black Stetson throughout the novel. He also wears a hunting jacket that resembles this one. His shirts/sweaters are all in dark colors: brown, dark gray, black. He tends to wear crew-neck shirts or waffle-knit shirts like this one.
Jake was serving overseas in the Marines when an IED killed three of his men and wounded him. He returned home from the war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has been fighting it ever since. He’s a wounded, brooding man. Bitter. Guarded. He works as a Thoroughbred racehorse trainer and only has one soft spot and one weakness: the heroine.
The novel is set in the spring in a small town named Holley, located in north Texas. The land is slightly rolling, sometimes wooded, sometimes prairie-like.
Cover Art Ideas that Work with the Story:
Because this is a contemporary romance, I’d love to see:
- A cover with the same modern, romantic, sophisticated vibe as my previous books.
- Both the hero and heroine on the cover.
- Another light and bright color scheme. I think turquoise, lime green, and coral would all work well.
- Perhaps another band of color across the cover, like my previous books.
- I prefer partial faces instead of full faces so that readers can fill in some of what the characters look like using their own imagination.
Specific cover ideas for A Love Like Ours:
- It would be wonderful to have Jake on the cover, but he’s going to be tricky to depict because of his facial scar. I was thinking it might work to hide the scar with his black Stetson. [I attached a few book covers that had used this technique as examples]. Another option is to crop the photo so we can see only his jawline.
- Jake is brooding and it would be great if he could give off that impression on the cover. However, Lyndie is the opposite personality type. I think a cover that manages to capture their differences would be terrific.
- Jake would prefer not to fall in love with Lyndie. But he can’t help himself. He irresistibly drawn to her. It would be great is we could see that represented on the cover.
Using the above information, here is what the graphic arts team at Bethany, the editorial team, and my AH-MAZING cover designer, Jennifer Parker, came up with:
Do you see how carefully they integrated the story details and character details I’d supplied? What do you think of my new cover, everyone? I’d love to hear your feedback!
P.S. A Love Like Ours won’t release until May, but will be available for pre-order by the end of this month. It’s already listed on Goodreads and ready to be added to your ‘Want To Read’ shelf. 🙂
P.S.S Do any of you live in the Plano/Richardson/Garland/Dallas area of Texas? I’m going to be representing inspirational romance in a multi-author romance book signing this Saturday! It will be held at the Firewheel Barnes & Noble in Garland, TX from 2-5. I’d love to meet you there!