Hello! Welcome to the eighth post in my blog mini-series: The Creation of a Novel, where I’ll be sharing behind-the-scenes information about my upcoming debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness. I hope you’ll join me on this journey toward launching my story into the world and leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below. I love connecting with readers!


If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this series, you can find them here: post one, post two, post three, post four, post five, post six, post seven.


As a reader I always love seeing what goes into designing the covers of my favorite books, so today I thought it would be fun to share with you the process we went through before settling on the official and final cover for Waltz in the Wilderness.


Before the cover artist created their first mockup, my publisher sent me a questionnaire asking about things like setting, important objects in the story, descriptions of the main characters, and whether there was anything I especially wanted to be included on the cover. I was also asked to provide a selection of currently published book covers which I felt represented a look or feel that would best represent my story.


I have to admit it was a lot of fun filling out that questionnaire, but nothing topped seeing the first rendition of my debut novel cover. It was a moment I’d looked forward to for years and it didn’t disappoint! Here is the first version the cover artist shared with me:



I absolutely LOVED this design! The overall feel was exactly what I was looking for and it is gorgeous, right? The trouble came when I began looking at the details and comparing them to Waltz in the Wilderness. Although I was positively thrilled that the cover artist found a boat which perfectly represented the transitional steamship my characters take down the coast of California, there are other details that didn’t quite fit. In this version of the cover, the woman’s hair is blonde but my heroine’s hair is brown. Her dress (although beautiful and my favorite color, teal) is more reflective of the later nineteenth century styles while my story is set in the middle of the century when skirts were fuller leading up to the huge hoops of the civil war. Lastly, the landscape put me in mind of the east coast rather than Southern California.


Thankfully, both my publisher and the cover artist are wonderful people who were willing to make adjustments to bring the design more in step with the details of Waltz in the Wilderness.


Here is the next design I received.



As you can see, they’ve replaced her dress with one that is better suited to the 1850s and the landscape is more reflective of our Southern California coastline, but her hair still isn’t brown and the overall image is much darker than the original one. So the cover artist took another run at it and this time she got every detail exactly how I was hoping it would look.



Here’s the full description of Waltz in the Wilderness:


She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help. 

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancé is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

Ebook preorder links: 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

Paperback preorder links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million



If you want to learn more about my fabulously talented cover artist, you can visit Evelyne Labelle on her webpage, pop by to see her on Facebook, or check out her Instagram feed.


Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing about the process of choosing a title and the various layers of meaning behind the final selection, so be sure to stop by!




Did you enjoy seeing how this cover came together? What’s your favorite part of this cover?




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