The Val & Kit Mystery Series

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Go Ahead! Judge Our Books by Their Covers!

Many generous people have asked how the covers of our books originate. And we’re happy to elaborate. When we are working on a new book and reach the stage that signals it’s time to turn our attention to a cover . . . it’s a yippee!!! kind of day.

Its like a bride, working with a wedding planner, putting the details of the event together and finally coming to the part where she gets to pick THE dress.

In our case, picking a cover is a collaborative effort. There are many family members and friends consulted. But once we’ve culled our short list of photos from the hundreds we have taken and then agreed on our final choice, it’s off to Laura Eshelman Neuman for the final fitting. Laura is an amazing woman (and Patty’s daughter-in-law) who takes our photos and turns them into incredible covers.

When we started with our first Val & Kit Mystery, The Disappearance of Mavis Woodstock, our original idea was a hand-drawn sketch showing our protagonists standing next to a real-estate sign. But it was bad. At least Roz, the artist, thought so. Then someone suggested using a photo of a front door. As it happened, Patty’s daughter Melissa had just posted a photo of her own front door on her blog, Mel’s Green Garden. That photo was taken by Melissa’s dear friend and then-neighbor Amy Spreitzer Windsor of the Bitchin’ Wives Club blog. Laura worked her magic with the design of all the elements, and we were thrilled with the results. Networking at its best!

This set the scene for our next book, The Murder of Susan Reed. This was serious stuff: a real gun belonging to a real police officer and a single bullet depicting a murderous act. Thank you, Sheila (Lauras friendand ours too!)!

The cover for Death in Door County was pure joy. We, along with one of our proofreaders, Sarah Paschall, spent a fun four days driving around the beautiful Door County and stopping to take pictures, among other things (eating, drinking, sightseeing, and just generally having fun). The result was an ominous winding road, perfect for our purposes.

Lethal Property was simpler. The cover was shot by Mike Gerbino using Roz’s kitchen chair as the backdrop and her Jackie Ohh sunglasses strategically placed. Val’s business card was whipped up on Roz’s computer. Once again, the final result was sent to Laura, who managed to turn it into Patty’s favorite cover.

Speaking of Laura, and covers, our NON–Val & Kit book, Dressing Myself, features our favorite cover girl posing as our protagonist Jessie.

Which is YOUR favorite?
Our latest Val and Kit mystery, which is nearing its final stages, will be titled Palm Desert Killing. Lucky Val and Kit—not to mention Patty and her husband, Johnny—are currently in California. Patty and Johnny are taking pictures of palm trees, mountains, and the desert on their daily hikes. Poor them, forced to enjoy glorious California and capture it on film, er, iPhones.

Mission Accomplished!