One upon a time, as all good stories should begin, my editor would ask me to contribute some ideas for the way the cover of my book should look when it was finally produced. I used to think long and hard about this – describe my hero very carefully, give glowing descriptions of my heroine’s beauty, the style of her hair . . . I’d give a scene that I thought would look great, something atmospheric, sensual, passionate. Hopefully something that would really represent the book I ‘d written. But when the covers finally appeared, often it seemed that – well, either I hadn’t written the book I thought I’d written, or the art department didn’t see my story – or my characters in quite the way that I thought they should.
There was my very first book – The Chalk Line (1984) . The hero was described as having jet-black hair - I got an ice-cold blond . Admittedly I’d asked for a snow scene, but I’d never imagined that the weather was going to bleach my hero’s hair quite so badly! Then there was The Golden Thief. The hero, an actor
I’d hoped for either. In fact I did rather wonder if she was meant to be the hero’s mother, rather than the sexy, passionate love of his life.
Fast forward a few years and there was Wife For A Day ( 1998)– obviously being the wife of my hero Ronan Guerin, even if just for a day, had all been too much for Lily! Her hair – her strange, wild, crazily bouffant hair had turned totally grey or
I began to wonder if I really had written the book I thought I had. Or were my heroes developing some strange mother fixation? I’m still forced to wonder at times because the cover of Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride (2007) seems to show a mother – in a bridal dress – together with her tall – v-e-r-y tall . . er – husband? No, he only looks about 16. Or perhaps I’ve got it wrong again and I really wrote
There was my first ever sheikh book – Desert Affair (2002) - and I was truly sheikhen when I saw the cover. My son thought someone had spilled ink all over the book - and for ever after this one was affectionately known as The Blob because of the big dark stain that spread across the cover. It doesn’t look too bad in the paperback, but believe me, when it was in a hardback edition with the top of what is now clearly a towering sand dune cut of by the title and my name, it just looked exactly like – The Blob. The title was a little iffy too – you see, Desert Affair was actually set mostly in London – in a wild, fierce snowstorm. But even with the Blob
I tried everything I could – I went into even more lyrical and detailed descriptions, I cut picture out of magazines, I pointed out just who had been my inspiration for the hero of each book (Hugh Jackman as a Spaniard, Hugh Jackman as an Italian, Hugh Jackman as an Argentinian. None of them looked at all like Hugh Jackman.)The Proud Wife (2011) really wasn’t bad at all – it featured a glamorous, beautiful woman – it was a stunning photograph. But – well, my heroine was a passionate, voluptuous heroine, red-headed, fiery and feisty, not the glacially calm creature on the front of this book.
So when my latest book – A Question of Honour (Honor if you’re in the USA which is where this cover will appear in June, was accepted, I really just gave in. A tall dark hunk was my hero. I probably added a sheikh’ or some such. Nothing more. And I didn’t hope too hard and I got . . . .
Perfection! That’s my hero just as I imagined him – he’s dark and sexy . . .. He has that look of distance, of pride that he should have. There’s no blob, no sign of his mother . . . it’s just Karim Al Khalifa, - the hero of A Question of Honor very close to the way I’d imagined him. I even like his heroine - and that dress (well it's meant to be an embroidered robe - but it's just the right colour There’s a moral to this story – say little, keep it zipped – and hope, just hope that someone in marketing has read the book and decides to give it the cover it deserves.
Of course, I have yet to see the UK cover but I love this one. For now, I’m happy – so I’ll settle for that
A Question of Honor/Honour will be out at the end of May 2104
If you want to know any more about Kate's books - and the covers - the details can be found at her web site
The more up to date news is on her blog
And there will be some news about another, very successul cover coming up there for March.