by Julia Buckley
When I decided to put my mystery novel Madeline Mann on Kindle, I was immediately thrust into the realities of the new and fascinating technological world. The decisions that once would have been made by my publisher (who orphaned the novel) were now going to have to be made by me.
For example, I couldn't use the publisher's original art. But I knew that I wanted Madeline, my character, to be on the front. So one day, while I was grading papers in the school library across from my new colleague, Valerie, I found myself assessing her for book cover potential. She was young and attractive. She taught speech; she had been in student productions, which meant she had dramatic talent.
"Valerie," I asked, "would you have any interest in posing for a book cover that's going to be on Kindle?"
You might ask: How awkward is it to approach a relative stranger to ask her to pose for a photograph you'd like for your personal use? Answer: very. Not only is there a potentially creepy element to it (read: stalker), but there's also the possibility that the person might find you strange when you explain that you just need to take some pictures in which they look vaguely as if they are in danger.
Luckily, Valerie found the whole thing intriguing and rather a lark. She said that she could tell her brand new husband to download the book and then she could surprise him with her own image.
So, along with Kelly, the art teacher I had asked to design the whole thing, we trudged out to the tree-lined lane in front of the school and Kelly started posing Valerie in different scenarios. We have a whole series of photos that involve Valerie looking mysterious, like this:
I had to decide between several really great photographs before I chose the one that you see above.
When I selected the one I liked, I approached Kelly, the artist. "There's just one thing," I said as she put away her expensive equipment. "Madeline is blonde. She actually dyes her hair in the story, and it's sort of important in the plot. And Valerie is a brunette. Is there any way you could make her blonde on the cover?"
"Sure," Kelly said. And that was it. Photoshop magic, and something entirely beyond me.
So Madeline Mann has now been launched online, thanks to the talent and collaborative spirit of my colleagues.