For an author, there are many high points on the road to a book’s publication. Getting the first solid idea for the book’s plot is a great moment. So is starting the first draft. And then there’s the giddiness of snapping out a paragraph that just sings, and there’s the satisfaction of finishing the first draft, the relief when you finalize the last round of edits, and the thrill of seeing a copy of the book in a bookstore … but before that happens, there’s an agonizing moment to endure, a moment that’s fraught with angst and tension.
Yep, I’m talking about the day you get the first glimpse of your book’s cover.
This process is different for different authors and publishers, but in my case, I don’t have much hand in the cover design. What happens for me is that my editor asks if I have any ideas for the cover and I almost always say no, because I’m busy writing the book and haven’t given Thought One to what the cover might look like. My editor says okey-dokey and a couple of months later she emails me an image and writes, “Hope you like it!”
I’ve had great good luck with all of my book covers, but the cover for BORROWED CRIME blew me away. It’s flat out gorgeous. The bookmobile is parked in a forest glade, birds are flittering about, books are displayed outside amidst wildflowers, and everything is green and growing and almost magical-looking with the way the sunlight is shimmering through all the green.
There’s only one problem; the book takes place in early winter. And while winter for some people means putting on a sweater and mowing every other week instead of every five days, it’s a little different in northern Michigan, where the bookmobile cat mystery series is set.
Up here, early winter means no green leaves, no grass, and the only flowers to be seen are in flower shops, not outside growing out of the ground. Instead, we have bare trees, cloudy skies, and snow. Wet, sloppy, drippy, snow that chills you to the bone.
As I looked at the beautiful but oh-so-very seasonally incorrect image, I suddenly understood my editor’s comment of, “Just so you know, the cover is a little warm.”
Ah. Now I get it.
My suggestion that the artist paint some snow over the top of everything wasn’t taken seriously. Neither was my other suggestion, which was to save this cover for the next book, which takes place in late spring.
So what’s an author to do?
Well, since there wasn’t much this particular author could do about the situation, I figured I might as well see the humor in the whole thing. After all, it makes for a good story, right?
And besides, it’s hard to be too upset because it really is a beautiful cover!
About the Book “Borrowed Crime”…
- A Bookmobile Cat Mystery
- Mass Market Paperback
- 352 Pages
- Mar 3, 2015
Librarian Minnie Hamilton spreads the joy of reading throughout Chilson, Michigan, with her bookmobile, but she doesn’t ride alone. Her rescue cat, Eddie, and a group of volunteers are always on board to deliver cheer—until one of her helpers gets checked out for good…
When Minnie loses a grant that was supposed to keep the bookmobile running, she’s worried her pet project could come to its final page. But she’s determined to keep her patrons—and Eddie’s fans—happy and well read. She just needs her boss, Stephen to see things her way, and make sure he doesn’t see Eddie. The library director doesn’t exactly know about the bookmobile’s furry co-pilot.
But when a volunteer dies on the bookmobile’s route, Minnie finds her traveling library in an even more precarious position. Although the death was originally ruled a hunting accident, a growing stack of clues is pointing towards murder. It’s up to Minnie and Eddie to find the killer, and fast—before the best chapter of her life comes to a messy close…