by Anna Sugden
I'm delighted to welcome back a Lair favourite and a dear friend, the fabulous Kate Walker. Kate is not only here to share details of her latest wonderful book - The Proud Wife - but also to tell us some exciting news .... and give away an extra-special prize to celebrate! So, without further ado, I'll have you over to Kate.
Happy April Banditas – I really do think that Spring has started to arrive here in the UK. The crocuses (crocii?) are flowering, the daffodils are starting to open out in glowing yellow, and my new (well six month old) ginger and white kitten is out chasing flies and bumble bees in the sunshine.
I'm really happy to be able to be back with you to say Hi again and to share my good news about my newest title – and one of my older ones. Every new book that I have published is a real thrill. It’s a delight and an excitement that never goes away – no matter how many titles I have in my backlist. This latest, brand-new, beautiful ‘baby’ is one I’ve never seen in the shops before. It’s a ‘first’ for this title and seeing it in all its untouched beauty in a new cover, new title is a very special thrill.
It’s one of the best things about being an author. That feeling of seeing your work in print is something that never fades – or it hasn’t for me.
But with my latest book, The Proud Wife, a March release in UK, there was an extra edge to the excitement this time around. Because this was my very first paperback edition with the new style UK covers.
I’m assuming that you’ve spotted the new covers on the UK editions of the Mills & Boon books – but just in case you haven’t, here’s an example of how they've changed.
My last UK release, The Good Greek Wife, was out in paperback in this style cover
My current title The Proud Wife is in a UK cover like this.
I’ve had a lot of emails and messages from readers telling me just how much they love this cover – and I have to agree that it is beautiful. Stylish, elegant – and quite a long way from the clichéd clinch covers there used to be. I also love the fact that we now have great new titles – well, some are great and they’re all new titles and a long way away from the Ruthless Greek/Italian/Spaniard/Sheikh’s Blackmail and Revenge on the Innocent Virgin Amnesiac Housekeeper Heroine titles that were used for too long. The Proud Wife is a much better title.
But I have to admit that when I first looked at the cover of The Proud Wife, what I really thought was – huh? This may be a lovely cover - but it isn’t the cover to my book. The heroine on the cover my by lovely – but she’s not my heroine – not the Marina I’ve written about. My heroine is a feisty, voluptuous redhead, a woman of spirit, full of defiance. This woman looks cool, calm and collected - a bit icy perhaps. Can you imagine her throwing the papers containing her divorce settlement in the face of the man she once loved to the point of madness?
No, me neither! So I have to admit that, clichéd as it might be – maybe even a little old-fashioned - but as an author I like the cover of my Presents Extra edition that bit better. At least here my heroine looks as if she has a bit of a spark about her. She also had the red hair that so attracted her hero Pietro when he first met her.
But as a reader, and a buyer, I do like the new covers that Mills & Boon have brought out. I like the way that they have a freshness, a less stylised design. I like the way that the picture of the heroine/heroine/any combination of the two is above the title and underneath the title and the author’s name is another photograph that gives a clue to where the book is set or what happens in it. I love the way that every line – from Modern Romance Medicals, Historicals or the brand new RIVA – all have their own individual looks, designs that tell the reader only too clearly that these books all have their own flavour, they’re own style, they are not just more of the same, ‘cookie-cutter’ stories – which of course they are not.
Thinking about the new covers started me thinking about the way the covers of my books have changed since I started out over 25 years ago. (I was a child author, honest.) My very first cover looked like this (The Chalk Line) and they couldn’t even get the hero’s hair colour right. Then we had the ‘half a heart’ design (Flirting with Danger) The first set of photographic covers , the blue ‘swoosh’ (Good Greek Wife) and now we’re back to photographs again.
Of course, as an author, I have to say I love the emphasis given to the name of the person who wrote the book in the new style covers. And the change in the design of the covers shows how romance writing is a living, growing developing thing. Not just something set in stone and never altering. The new look M&B covers seem fresh and interesting on the bookshop shelves. But then again that Presents cover with it s white cover, the red banner at the top and the image in the circle has become a real icon over time – I know lots of people would hate to have it changed.
What do you think? Do you like the new-style covers? Would you like to see the Presents design given a make-over? Or would you prefer things to stay the same? And what are your favourite covers? Cover designs you really love – or the opposite? What about the ones you hate? Are you one of the readers that journalists claim are part of the boom in ebook buying because you’re embarrassed by the covers on the books? I’d love to know.
Which sort of brings me to my great news and my cause for celebration. Because one of my books with a cover I don’t like very much at all is The Konstantos Marriage Demand. It’s a cover that just doesn’t appeal to me. But I’m very very fond of that book because, as I’m now finally able to announce, The Konstantos Marriage Demand, has just been awarded Best Presents Extra 2010 in the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards. I just wish I could be at the RT convention next week to pick up the award – but I’ll raise a toast to the book – and to everyone who’s going to be there anyway!
And as anyone who knows me knows that when I celebrate I love to share my joy – so to celebrate this award, I’m adding in a copy of The Konstantos Marriage Demand to my giveaway this time. I have two pairs of books – The brand new The Proud Wife and the Award winning Konstantos Marriage Demand - to give away to someone who posts a comment about the covers you like – or not.
You can find out all about Kate's books, and all the latest news by checking out her web site at: http://www.kate-walker.com or her blog at http://kate-walker.blogspot.com/