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Creating a Book Cover

Creating a book cover is a lot more fun than creating a book, at least for this author. You get to collaborate, a pleasant rarity for sufferers of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘midnight disease.’ Plus the finished product looks cool.

That’s been my experience working with graphic artist Kathleen Bennett in any event. She has done the covers for all three of my American Spy Trilogy novels. Back in the 90s I had a small commercial production company in LA. One of our products was animated TV packages for retailers and so I dealt with many an artist/animator. What a bunch of drama queens!

I got lucky with Katie.

I would start the process by sending her a few chapters to set the scene. Book Two, “A Despicable Profession,” was set in 1946 Berlin so the bombed-out city was the obvious backdrop. I sent her a few pix from a photo book about post-war Berlin. The Brandenburg Gate flying the Soviet flag, for instance. She did a rough sketch.


Another post-war photo was a woman drinking coffee at an outdoor café, a pile of rubble towering behind her.

cover2But Katie came up with the one that worked.

She has a talent and a passion for drawing vehicles for some reason. Book One featured a 40s streetcar, Book Three a C-45 twin tail. But in Book Two she lavished her love and affection on a famous German luxury car, a 1937 Horch Cabriolet. Here’s the initial sketch…

cover3However, the drawing lacked a key element necessary to all spy fiction – a gorgeous female. Katie addressed that problem in the following flesh-out.

cover4It was then that the nail-biting commenced. I had a release date to meet. I wasn’t paying Katie enough to demand that she neglect her day job to finish the cover on deadline, and every author knows you shouldn’t rush the creative process, right?

Right. But I was enough of a pest to nudge her along.

Until I got a finished product that took my breath away.


Published indespicable professionhard boiled fiction

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© Copyright John Knoerle 2015