Monday, September 13, 2010

The inspiration of covers...

We can all say that as children we lolled around in the grass, feeling the heated rays of a summer sun warming our skin while we transformed puffy white clouds into wild mustangs or castles from far off lands. The truth is that penchant for creating something from nothing has never left us-especially for writers.

The writer inside of us loves to create, to shape and mold, until the story that has been trapped inside emerges. Now that doesn’t mean the story is perfect-sometimes far from it-but it is the inspiration for that story that has pushed us to that level.

So what gets your gears working? What is your inspiration? A few of you have already shared it.

For a romantic suspense or dark paranormal writer it could be the barren landscape of a cemetery at night, where solemn headstones stand as moonlight and mist conceal, yet reveal its ominous presence. For a sweet inspirational writer it could be something as simple as a bouquet of roses or the sight of a couple holding hands as they walk down the street. Even a historical writer feels her writing presence awakened by certain things, the gentle strain of a sweeping waltz, the smell of sandalwood and soap or a picture from the past could trigger her instincts.
But for some of us a picture says a thousand words.

Any Romance writer, be it erotica or Rom. Suspense has seen her (or his) fair share of covers out there. Some of them are tame and some push the envelope of being too much to handle.
As a fan of covers (that don’t show faces-like Lisa Kleypas’s new historicals) I like to break down the whole picture, step back and all. The glimpse of the man (usually shirtless) is enough to send my creative writing juices flowing. From his sculpted jaw, defined chest and clean cut muscles to his penetrating gaze (if you can see it), that is all it takes for an image to form in my mind of my future hero-flaws and all.

Who wants to ignore a hot cover anyway?

Getting a glimpse of the hero in the flesh is enough to spawn fantasy upon fantasy. With his strong hand clasping the heroine’s hip in a fierce grip, his whole body screaming “She’s mine” as he holds her close-well, hell-that’s pretty damn inspirational to me! The reader can almost taste his possessiveness as he stands there boldly declaring how much he wants her for his own. Usually in life I don’t care for overbearing, assertive men. (Clayton Westmoreland from Whitney, My Love comes to mind) They annoy the heck out of me, but throw them in a book and BAM! My interest is piqued to say the least.

I consider my inspiration to be anything visual. And usually if I’m stuck on a scene and can’t get my gears going, I pick up the nearest cover, drool a bit, then return to my current WIP, hoping that in the future my covers will be an inspiration to somebody out there.

So, fellow angels, clue us in on your inspiration, be it visual, therapeutic, routine or hanging out with friends. What gets you going? What makes your fingers tingle or your palms itch to write? Share your secret, maybe it can inspire us all!


  1. I do love a shirtless man on a cover. Regan Taylor, Donna Kauffman have great shirtless pics. Donna K. also has an amazing cover with a Scotsman with the most unbelievable eyes. I love just picking that one up and pretending he's staring right at me.
    A colorful cover catches my eye at the store and often, it's enough for me to pick up the book to at least see what it's about.
    I think you've touched on a lot of the things that inspire me. Sometimes when I'm in a slump, reading another romance is enough to inspire me. Sometimes it's a song. Sometimes it's just the fact that I've unwound enough to shut off the busy goings-on in my head to let the ideas flow. As much as I wish I could write all the time, I force myself to take a week-end and not look at the computer. Just spending time with family or friends doing and talking about other things other than writing is enough to have me re-charged for Monday.

  2. Kellie,

    You're's almost like doing revisions, you have to put it aside for a bit then come back to it later.

    And covers REALLY catch my attention but with that being said, I DON'T usually buy a book based on the cover alone, although I DO know people that do that.

    Donna Kauffman has awesome covers! And her books aren't bad either! I LOVED one of her novella's about a woman and man stuck in an elevator, it was written for BRAVA, I think it had BAD BOYS in the title but I don't remember the full name of the book or the story. But it was memorable, that I can say!!!

  3. Awesome blog, Trish! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on inspiration with us.

    Book covers can play a tremendous part with inspiring me in my writing. I have found that certain covers play a role in my creative process; such as seeing a strong female body on a cover gives me a great visual for my heroine in my current story. When the woman is clad in leather and looks like a warrior then it really plays to my senses of my character's own strong physical and emotional abilities.

    I agree with Kellie regarding that you really touched on a lot of different issues which inspire. Music also plays a factor with me. Different music styles can help me with creating a specific scene in the story whether it's a fight scene or a romantic love scene.

  4. See, I like all of thos covers, but there's something about that cowboy...tight jeans...worn in all the right shirt...that hat hiding just enough of his face to make you wonder and worn at just the right angle. Yuuummm!

    Great post, Trish. I don't use book covers to write, as much as to get a good mental image of the hero in the book I'm reading, of course. I use music for that. I listen to a particular song that has inspired my WIP or a certain character and I replay it over and over in my mind. I actually write my best when it's completely quiet.

  5. Good post. There are some great covers out there and I love them. I do not buy books based on their covers alone, but there have been times where I might have picked up a book to read what it was about because the cover caught my eye. That is how I started reading Julia Quinn's books around 10 years ago. The cover caught my eye and then I read the back of the book and next thing you know, I was one of her biggest fans.

    I don't use book covers to write, but I might have to start doing that. It is a great idea!

  6. Oh and one of my pet peeves is when the cover models look nothing like the description of the characters in the novel. It shouldn't bother me so much, but it does!

  7. Kasey, I hear you on that one! I hate it when the cover is of some dark, sexy man, and then you read that he's got blonde, curly hair. that happened with a Lynsay Sands book I read once. I had the dark and brooding image in my head and then it was hard to picture him another way. One editor I worked with once said that it was good to give just enough description of a character so a reader has an idea and then let their imagination fill in the rest.

  8. Oh, and Lori - Lucy Monroe's covers have that kind of man on the cover, you know just enough to wonder without seeing all of him.

  9. Oh, and one more thing - great post, Trish!