Choosing the images I need for my books is always a challenge. I typically scour stock photo sites for hours looking for the perfect picture and I end up with “something” that works. I’m always frustrated by the fact that I need the model to look a certain way to match the sweet romance genre. I often find the images I want, but the model has too much makeup on or she’s dressed in an outfit that is modern. Showing a lot of skin won’t work for an inspirational or a western cover.
Then there is the matter of the expression on the model’s face. My heroines are typically suffering and in some sort of peril or adventure. A smiling woman is a beautiful thing, but I need a girl that looks pensive, even slightly melancholy. The Old West was a harsh and unforgiving place to live, and the cover has to reflect that to some degree.
An author friend generously gave me a few photos from photographer Phil Marley, which I have recently used on the cover of Gillian: The Oregon Trail (The Brides of the Rockies) and the soon to be released Madeline: The Outlaw’s Redemption (The Brides of the Rockies). Not only are these women young and pretty, yet they also convey the mood of my stories perfectly.
I feel really lucky to have the use of these photographs. It’s made publishing recently a lot easier, and saved me hours going over stock photo sites. The end result is exactly what I had hoped for. They are some of my favorite covers, and I look forward to using more of the same photos for soon to be released projects.