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Monday, May 13, 2013

Cover Reveal and Q&A with Carolyn Graziani, Art Director for Love Inspired Historical

Hi everyone!

We've all heard the chestnut about judging a book by its cover. And you know what? As an author, there is nothing more thrilling or exciting about the book publishing process than seeing your final copy with its beautiful cover. As a writer for Love Inspired, I can only take credit for this joyous moment in the sense that I describe my characters to the art department. The magic--the artistry that brings tears to each Love Inspired Historical author's eyes, and that makes you buy my books or at least give them a second glance--is all due to the talent of Carolyn Graziani, the head of the art department at Love Inspired Historical.

I decided to interview Carolyn the moment I saw the cover for my third book, Healing the Soldier's Heart. I was so delighted when I saw the proof that I cried a little. And then, I wanted to speak to her, to understand how she was able to take these characters that I created in my mind and which I describe to her in page after page of questions that I submit to the Art Department after my final draft.

These questions are intense. It's not enough to say that my heroine, Lucy Williams, has brown hair. No, I have to tell them if her hair is brown with a reddish tone, or mahogany, or the color of chocolate--the descriptions can be quite exhaustive. And yet--when I see the end results, I see why we have to be so very detailed. Carolyn and her crew take these descriptions for characters they've never met and then make them art.

So I had to know more about her process. And even though Carolyn is terribly busy, she graciously agreed to answer my questions. And so...on to the interview!

LG: Tell me a little about your background--how you came to work at LI and how long you've been working there.
 
CG: I started out in the television industry and worked up from being a junior designer to being the Art Director of a national tv station – where I was responsible for all of the branding and advertising.
I moved from there to an Ad agency in Bermuda. From there I came to Harlequin, where one of the book lines that I work on is Love Inspired Historical. I've been here for 2 years.
 
LG: Can you tell us a little about the process of designing a book cover? I know as an author, I submit a lot of data to LI about my characters, scenes they're in together, and even do a photo montage to help artists visualize my characters.
 
Here's the studio shot for the cover of the Temporary Betrothal.
Used with Carolyn Graziani's approval.
CG: Myself and the editors have a creative brief meeting to discuss which scene we feel will work best for the cover. Once we have decided that, I take your reference images and I use them to source stock photography that will be the background of the covers. Once I find the background I want to use, I do a sketch of the hero and heroine doing whatever was described in the scene (i.e. Taking a walk in a field) and place it over the background stock image. From there, I circulate the concepts to Marketing and Editorial dept's for approval.
 
Once approved, I send to my photographer who begins to source model options for me. I try to find models who match character descriptions as closely as possible. I also work with a wardrobe stylist to source the clothing as described in the scene selection. I then shoot all 4 covers in a day in a photographers studio downtown. Once I have chosen my image (from about 600!) I send that to a digital finisher, who takes the hero and heroine and adds them to the background image. He also adds painterly effects in photoshop to give it a painterly feel. 
And here, the final product.
LG: Where are your artists located--in New York or all over the world?
 
CG: I am based in Toronto and my photographer and digital finishers are here in Toronto too.
LG: Is everything done digitally, or is there a physical mock-up of the cover?
 
CG: Everything is pretty much done digitally, except for my initial sketch that I pop onto the cover as I mentioned earlier.
LG: What, to you, makes a good book cover?
 
CG: First and foremost, there has to be a 'connection' between the hero and heroine. I look carefully over the many photos I get for each cover for the one that I feel has a real emotional presence. The finishing is important too – it needs to be at a very high level, and it should never be obvious that the hero and heroine were put onto a stock background.
LG: What's the cover you feel most proud of?
 
 It's actually one of yours! I really liked how The Temporary Betrothal turned out.
 
LG: As a side note, that cover actually took second place in the Judge a Book By Its Cover content sponsored by the Houston Bay Area RWA!
 
CG: I also really like Colorado Courtship and the Mail Order Holiday Brides covers.
LG: What was the first cover you ever designed?
 
CG: My first cover was The Cowboy Tutor, by Linda Ford.

I'd like to say thank you to Carolyn for agreeing to this interview, and thank you to both Carolyn and her entire department for creating such beautiful, opulent covers. Without their magic, our books would be quite plain, indeed.

And now, I'd like to reveal the cover for my third book, Healing the Soldier's Heart. It's coming out in August 2013 but is available for pre-order through all the major retailers or through the Love Inspired website.

Ta-DAAAAAA!
 
And here's a little bit about the book. It's the final on in my Brides of Waterloo trilogy. The first two were Captain of Her Heart and the aforementioned The Temporary Betrothal.

Healing the Soldier's Heart

Ensign James Rowland was fortunate to return from Waterloo unscathed--at least in body. But guilt from that terrible battle has left him almost mute and crushed in spirit. Only in the company of sweet, compassionate Lucy Williams, a volunteer in the Veteran's Group in Bath, does he begin to feel that happiness is within reach.

Penniless governesses can't afford dreams of romance. Lucy Williams is resigned to lifelong spinsterhood--until James enters her life. His mother opposes the match. Lucy herself is sure the chasm between their ranks is too wide. But now that she has helped heal James, he intends to overcome every obstacle between them...and emerge victorious in the battle for her love.

As a celebration, I am giving away two autographed advance copies of Healing the Soldier's Heart today. Enter a comment below to win, and be sure to include your email address!

50 comments:

  1. Lily, I've loved all of your covers. :) I'd say Carolyn and her team have done a fantastic job!

    Carolyn, thanks for stopping by and giving us a little insight into how covers are born!

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    1. Thank you, Catherine! I feel so fortunate to have such a talented group backing my books. :)

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  2. Lily,
    What a fascinating process! Thanks to Carolyn for giving us a behind the scenes look at how a cover comes to life. I agree with Catherine. I've loved all of your covers and your newest looks great!

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    1. Thank you so much, Samantha! I agree--I think Carolyn and her team are some of the best in the business.

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  3. Thanks for the interesting insight into the book cover process. This is a lovely cover, I like the softness to it and the background.

    I have read the first two books and am eager to read this one.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    arieljo12(at)hotmail(dot)com
    -Janella

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    1. Thank you, Janella! I am so glad you enjoyed the other two books in the series. Hoping you like Lucy's story too!

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  4. This is an interesting insight. I never thought about how covers are created, or how much time and energy goes into them. There is nothing better than beautiful art on the front of a good book.

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    1. I agree, Amanda. And though I know it's wrong to do so, I've often picked up a book to try it out based on its cover alone. :)

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  5. Beautiful cover. Thanks for showing us how a cover comes to be.

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! It's fascinating how it comes together, isn't it?

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  6. What fun to learn how they do this. Thanks, Lily. I'm always pleased with my covers. BTW, I love your books.

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    1. Thanks, Louise! I love my covers too. The team at Love Inspired is so amazing at what they do.

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  7. I love the Love Inspired Historical covers. They are always so beautiful. Thanks to Carolyn for her part is this process and for the lovely cover on The Cowboy's Tutor.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Linda! I agree--the Love Inspired Historical covers are just plain gorgeous.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this insight. I love LIH covers.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christina! I agree that LIH covers are just gorgeous.

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  9. Great interview, Lily. And great covers! It was wonderful to find out how our covers come about. I loved the cover of my first release and can't wait to see the cover of my September release. Carolyn and her team are wonderful at what they do and I'm so glad they are working on our covers!

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    1. Hi Janet! We are so blessed, aren't we? :)

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  10. What an interesting process! Thank you Lily and Carolyn for sharing with us.

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  11. Lily,
    Your covers are beautiful! The Love Inspired art department does a great job at taking our descriptions and turning them into gold. I'm just on my first book, but when I saw my cover it brought tears to my eyes. Kudos!

    Belle Calhoune

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    1. I cry every time I see one of mine, Belle. They do an amazing job.

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  12. Wow! I've always wondered about the art department!! I didn't know if they were overseas, or here in the US. How very interesting!! And I loved my debut cover and can't wait to see the others!

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

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    1. Hi Virginia! Congrats on your debut. I love seeing everyone else's covers at LI--all of them are just beautifully done.

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  13. This is so cool. I've always wondered how book covers are designed!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Blond Duck!

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  14. These covers are so sweet and romantic :) Thanks for the sharing the behind the scenes!

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    1. No problem, Erin. Glad you enjoy them!

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  15. I love your covers, they always turn out great.
    countessofmar(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Aw, thanks Melody! Thanks for coming by!

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  16. What a fantastic interview!! I would LOVE to talk to the artist(s) that work on my covers, but for some reason Penguin seems reluctant to connect us. It *may* be that I come across as a bit stalkerish, lol. I just love my covers so much! That's a good thing, right?!

    Carolyn, gorgeous job on Lily's covers - I especially love the new one!

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    1. Your covers are beautiful too, Erin. I would totally stalk the Art Department at Penguin, LOL!

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  17. Oh my gosh! Anytime I see a book about a governess, I actually jump on it! That is my favorite plot and I always sigh when I read those novel. *busily adding to my Wish List!*

    Connie Fischer
    conniecape(at)aol(dot)com

    SIGH.....

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    1. Hi Connie! I hope you enjoy Healing the Soldier's Heart. I really loved creating Lucy's character--to me, she felt more real than anyone else I've written about.

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  18. Hi Lily and Carolyn!
    I loved reading about the process of building the perfect cover. It's amazing how much goes into one project! Great job!

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    1. I was kinda amazed, too, Andris. I couldn't believe how many people have a hand in the process!

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  19. I love the details in the covers!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win a cover of your book.

    thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

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  20. This is a great blog!! I've always wanted to know how a book cover was made. Thanks for sharing it with us! And...GREAT cover!! I've loved all your covers.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Marie! It's a fascinating process, isn't it?

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  21. What a fascinating interview, ladies! I love learning about the cover process. And you have definitely been blessed by the cover fairies, Lily. These covers are simply ideal!

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    1. "Blessed by the cover fairies"--I love it and I am stealing it, Louisa. ;)

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  22. Oh my gosh, this was an amazing interview. I LOVE that you shared the process AND the images that went into making the book. It actually made it real to me in a way, that I never before considered. Does that make sense? And, by the way, your cover is gorgeous! Great interview!

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    1. I was so amazed when Carolyn showed me the photo from the shoot. That really brought the process home to me. I'm kinda in awe of the whole thing!

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  23. I wish there was an easy, as in inexpensive, way to purchase covers as prints to hang in my office. Love them.

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  24. Fantastic interview!!! Love the book covers, such wonderful talent. strgth4yu@hotmail.com

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  25. Wow! I've always wondered how the cover was designed and whether or not the author had any say in how the cover turned out! Thank you ladies for all your hard!
    jennydtipton[at]gmail[dot]com

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  26. Mikayla WarfieldMay 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Mrs. George,
    I'm so excited about your new book! The cover art looks amazing and I can't wait to read it! You have inspired me to start up writing again and I hope that I can shine God's light in my words the way you have in your books! :)
    ~Mikayla Warfield
    Mikayla.Warfield95@gmail.com

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  27. Hi Lily!

    I love that your story Healing the Soldier is a story for all times whether set during the times of Waterloo or the wars being fought today all over the world.

    Some things and feelings are universal and not just for the families at home but for the men and woman who may survive the battle but return home as you say of Ensign James Rowland being "crushed in spirit".

    Congratulations for winning an award for the cover of Healing th Soldier in the Judge A Book By It's Cover contest! It was well deserved and really helped to give me a feeling for the characters.

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  28. And the lucky winners of the advance reader copies of Healing the Soldier's Heart are...Mikayla Warfield and Janella! Thanks ladies, I will be in touch!

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