Monday, April 26, 2010

Blessings from the Cover Goddess

Lots of people ask how much influence an author has on her cover. The partial truth is that we just cross our fingers and when we get an awesome cover, say a prayer of thanks to the “Cover Gods.”
But another part of the truth is that we DO have input, at least, at Harlequin. We are asked to fill out an “Art Fact Sheet” which includes a synopsis, descriptions of the hero, heroine, symbols in the story, and the author’s suggestions of scenes in the book that might make good covers.
Here’s the scene description I wrote that turned into the stunning cover for HIS BORDER BRIDE, my May release.
“Wedding night. Unable to relax and release, Clare is unable to respond to him until he trains her like one of her beloved falcons. This means blindfolding her with a silken scarf so she can relax and release her fears and self-consciousness.”
Because I create with words, not pictures, it was hard for me to visualize how real pros might take that short description and turn it into something so yummy the reader must pick it up.
Well, they did that in spades!
What they did NOT do was illustrate a literal scene from the story. There’s no blindfold. The clothes and bedding aren’t exactly what are in the book. But the visual symbolism says it all. Her white gown implies a wedding dress. (And her innocence.) The lush pillow fabric is a reference to the coat of arms of the English royal family. (The hero is the illegitimate son of a prince of England and a Scots woman.) And the plaid tells the reader it’s a Scottish setting.
All told, a beautiful symbol of my story. I think it’s my best cover yet.
So I’m giving thanks to the cover gods. Well, in my case, to the cover goddess, because I credit my wonderful editor for being the “goddess” who guided the team to this gorgeous result.

BLYTHE GIFFORD is the author of five medieval romances from Harlequin Historical. She specializes in characters born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. With HIS BORDER BRIDE, she crosses the border and sets a story in Scotland for the first time, where the rules of chivalry don’t always apply. Here’s a brief description:
Royal Rogue: He is the bastard son of an English prince and a Scotswoman. A rebel without a country, he has darkness in his soul.
Innocent Lady: Daughter of a Scottish border lord, she can recite the laws of chivalry, and knows this man has broken every one. But she’s gripped by desire for him—could he be the one to unleash the dangerous urges she’s hidden until now?
She loves to have visitors at or

Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ®and T are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license. Copyright 2010


Debra St. John said...

Hi Blythe,

Your cover is gorgeous. They really did capture the feel of the story.

Which I finished last night, by the way. I loved it! Can't wait for the next one...

Debra St. John said...

Hi Blythe,

I swear I left a comment here, but it seems to have disappeared.

The cover for "His Border Bride" is perfect. It really captures the essence of the story.

Which I finished last night by the way. Fabulous read! I can't wait for the next one...

Virginia Gal said...

Hello Ms. Gifford!

I went to Borders today to get my hands on the book, it wasn't there, so I'm heading to B&N next - I am dying to read this!!!

Thanks for the interesting insight into how the book cover is created!

Blythe Gifford said...

Debra - it DID disappear - just as I opened it. And I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. I'm writing as fast as I can...
Virginia Gal - sorry your Borders didn't have it yet. I know some do have the line out already. Hope you have luck at B&N!