1. J.D.- As a first time author how did you go about finding a cover artist?
J.D.: Surprisingly, Regina and I found one another on Goodreads; we became friends. When she learned that I would be coming out with my books soon, she offered to do my covers. I took her up on her offer and we became great friends during the process.
2. Regina- Does a cover artist need to read a book in its entirety or is a very detailed summary all that is needed?
Usually all that is needed is a good description of what the book is about or the character the author wants portrayed on the cover. Each author has different views on what they envision for the cover. Therefore conveying those ideas to the artist is important. Some authors give me their book with free range to come up with something. While other authors are detailed in exactly how they want the cover to look, right down to pose, clothing, and scenery.
3. J.D.- Do you feel it is one of the perks to being a self published author that you are able to have more input on the final cover?
Yes! I put my soul into everything that I write. I would hate having someone else in charge of deciding how the final product will look. Besides, being able to choose my own artist and editor gives me piece of mind. I trust them and I know my book is in good hands. Choosing my final cover is great because Regina involves me in the entire process.
4. J.D.- Where did you get your idea/inspiration for Caged in Darkness?
I love to read paranormal books, but recently shelves have been overly stocked with vampire novels. I still love a good vampire book, but I was craving something else. When I sleep, I have lucid dreams that create a vivid world. My unconscious mind must have caught on to my need, because I started dreaming about the plot for Caged in Darkness. When I sat down write the outline and the book, I used my psychology background to create a more multi-dimensional character. I wanted Savannah to be a unique character and I think I succeeded.
5. J.D. & Regina- What was your initial vision for the cover of Caged in Darkness and did that vision change during the making of the cover?
Regina: Actually, yes. The initial idea was completely different from what was approved. The first idea was to have the character further away, but after a lot of discussion, we chose Savannah to be in a portrait shot because of the details described in the book.
J.D.: As the author, my original vision for the cover was based on the prologue of the book. I wanted Savannah to be running through a forest, while looking back with a terrified expression. However, the vision completely changed and I am happier with my cover, than I would have been if we went with my original vision. Regina is a phenomenal artist and the covers she has done with me since Caged in Darkness, are even better! Her work gets better with each cover.
6. Regina- How did you get into this profession and how wide is your field?
Regina: I studied visual communications at Brown College, in Minnesota. That is where I learned the basics. However, being a good designer takes a lot of practice and creativity. Graphic design is a saturated field, but finding the right artist for your project can be time consuming. It’s best when you have a personal referral, who has worked with the artist before.
What I mean is do you only design book covers?
Regina: I don’t limit myself to only book covers, but it is a passion of mine. I love the creativity and portraying the story on the cover. It’s challenging, and I love a good challenge! I actually do a lot of branding, logo design, website design and photography, as well as many other things. A complete list of my services can be found on my website at www.maeidesign.com.
Regina: As far as doing photo manipulations and book covers, it’s something I stumbled upon. I was looking for something closer to drawing and painting, which is something I used to do more often. However, having two children under 5 makes it difficult to bring out the canvas and acrylic paints! I am an avid reader and LOVE covers, whenever I am looking for a book, I analyze the cover first, and realizing that, I knew I wanted to do more design with book covers.
7. J.D- If you had to say you were most like one of the characters in Caged in Darkness who would it be and why?
J.D.: I think that each character has some of my own traits. However, I am most like Savannah, Willow, and Izzy. If I had to choose one, I would go with Willow. I’m a loyal friend and I am extremely shy. However, when I am with people I know that shyness flies right out the door!
8. Regina- How is the world of digital publishing going to effect what you do or will it?
Regina: I don’t think it will. Even if the cover is as small as a thumbnail, people are shopping for a visual representation of the book. It’s the same if you are walking through a department store. People tend to look at the packaging of the prettiest perfume on the rack. Since you can’t always smell the perfume, you trust the packaging to hint at the allure of the scent. It’s the same with covers. I’m providing a design or image that creates the mystery or allure behind the book.
9. J.D. & Regina What are some of your favorite covers of 2011?
Regina: Obviously, I love the ones I’ve done. I also love Firelight, The Fallen series, Hush, Hush, The Hollow, Paranormalcy, Across the Universe, Revealers, and way too many to list!
J.D.: There are so many beautiful covers out there! I really like Lauren DeStefano’s cover for Wither, Falling Under by Gwen Hayes, and The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney. I tend to be drawn to emotive or gothic looking covers.
10. J.D. & Regina What are some of your favorite books of 2011?
Regina: I love all the above except for the ones I have yet to read (Across the Universe, and Revealers). Plus, I am really looking forward to J.D.’s books, as I have had the teaser, I am looking forward to the full story. There are a few other releases I’m looking forward to by authors like Rita Webb, Richelle Mead, Cassandra Clare, and many more!
J.D.: I really enjoyed reading Paranormalcy. I haven’t had much time to read this year, because I’ve been focusing on my writing. However, there are many books I am looking forward to reading! Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins, Supernaturally by Kiersten White, and Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward are ones I am looking forward to reading the most.
11. J.D.- What feelings and/or thoughts do you hope your readers will experience as they finish Caged in Darkness?
J.D.: I hope that they enjoy my book and appreciate its unique qualities. That they recognize the underlying messages and feel a special bond with Savannah. I also hope that they are shocked at the twists I threw into the book. Mostly, I hope they are excited to read the next book in the series! Caged by Damnation releases on October 14, 2011.
12. J.D.- What is the link to your website?
J.D.: http://jdstroube.weebly.com/ If anyone wishes to contact me, feel free to fill out the contact form. I try to response as quickly as possible.
13. J.D.- Where will we be able to purchase Caged in Darkness?
J.D.: On August 1st, you will be able to purchase it in ebook format through Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and many other sites. On September 1st, it will be available in paperback through Amazon and Createspace.
A witch raised in a cage of darkness...
Savannah Cross was born into a life of isolation and abuse. As a child, she witnessed her parents perform acts of malevolent evil, and now feels permanently tainted by their dark deeds.
When a coven discovers a tear stricken child, wounded on their elders lawn, they offer her a sanctuary she has never known. Savannah spends the next several years shattered, continuously looking over her shoulder, waiting for the darkness to claim her.
On her 16th birthday, Savannah’s life takes a drastic turn.She is consumed by overwhelming power that forever alters her emotionally and physically.
She must choose between two loves; the one who taught her to smile or the darkly seductive stranger who tempts her towards another path. Savannah must decide between the coven that was her haven and another one vying for her initiation. Just as Savannah begins to grasp what fate has in store for her, an evil looms over her loved ones; coming to claim an unbreakable debt.
How will she choose and survive the greatest evil she has ever witnessed... long enough to have a choice to make.
Thanks so much for joining me today J.D. and Regina!