Sunday, September 27, 2009

What I love about my Simon Pulse Ro Com Cover

What I like most about the cover of Love, Hollywood Style is what I love about all the covers: Walk into a bookstore, any bookstore, and you instantly recognize the books from the series. This is especially important since many different authors, with many different last names, write these books so they are shelved all over the young adult section.

The deceptively simple, classic designs from Amy Saidens and the Simon Pulse production team stand out against a sea of covers that, in many cases, are simply trying too hard. The Ro Com covers may seem modest in design, but as the other authors have already pointed out, they are filled with brilliant little touches from the stories. Don’t underestimate the value of a book cover that actually reflects the story inside. That doesn’t always happen in the publishing world (as seen recently with Justine Larbalestier’s Liar cover, where they initially used a model that looked very different from the narrator … to put it mildly.)

The colors pop off the shelf, but not because they are flashy. No angry streaks of red across a black background. No shiny, reflective foil embossing. All the covers are warm, inviting, and just a shade brighter than you might expect from the color choices. The covers work with the editorial tone of the Ro Com line perfectly. They’re fun and youthful and make for just the kind of book you want to curl up with in a comfy chair like in the cover of Aimee Friedman’s A Novel Idea.

In short, what I like about my Ro Com cover is pretty much everything.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What I love about my Simon Pulse Ro-Com Cover

Yay! I like this month’s go-around question. It’s the perfect opportunity to give a shout out to Amy Saidens and to thank her for her awesome work.

The cover of Perfect Shot is, well—perfect. When I first saw it, I was super excited. How very cool to come face to face with the characters in my mind’s eye. It’s also a thrill to see a cover that highlights African-American teens! Amy portrays my main character London in all her volleyball-worshiping glory—rocking a VB jersey with a sporty insignia at the hip. And London's photography intern crush Brent is working that unassuming-cute-boy charm.

There’s definitely some excitement building over the cover. The feedback I’m getting from everyone is positive. Of course, there’s also a bit of confusion. My niece and nephew took one look at the cover and said, “It’s Aunt Debbie!” Funny enough, that’s the same issue that I had with the cover of my anthology Hallway Diaries, which brought on the “Is that you?” questions. (If only they knew that my image was actually once featured on the cover of a novel. Long story.)

Yup. It’s great to know that when it comes to generating Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies buzz, our gurl Amy’s got it covered.

Friday, September 18, 2009

what I love about my Simon Pulse Ro-Com covers

If you're a fan of the Simon Pulse Ro-Coms, you've undoubtedly noticed the cute covers. Artist Amy Saidens and the Simon Pulse team put a lot of thought into the artwork, capturing the essence of each individual book.

I absolutely love the cover of The Secret Life of A Teenage Siren, my first Ro-Com. First of all, it's purple. Second of all, Amy truly captured the appearance of the main character, Roxy Zimmerman, from her bright green siren eyes to her luxurious, long, reddish hair. It also gives a hint of what the story is about, with the flute and the hot guys in the background, drooling over Roxy. I've had so many compliments from teens and adults about this cover, and I'll always have a special place in my heart for it because it was my first YA novel ever.My second Ro-Com, Miss Match, also has a great cover. Sasha Finnegan is not a fashionista, nor is she super skinny or drop-dead gorgeous. In other words, she's an everyday girl who happens to get herself into some pretty crazy situations. Now, as you can probably tell from the title, she's a matchmaker and she loves getting teens together with their crushes. I think all of these elements are captured nicely in the cover, from her appearance to her talent and love of making matches.

What are some of your favorite Simon Pulse Ro-Com covers?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Favorite Writers

I'm often asked about my favorite writers. I've always put Larry Gelbart near the top of the list, so I was sad to see that he passed away this weekend.

Even if you haven't heard of Larry, you've no doubt seen his work performed on screen or stage. M*A*S*H. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Oh, God! City of Angels. Tootsie. The man possessed an immeasurable wit.

If you want to learn about writing, watch a few episodes of M*A*S*H. Study how Gelbart develops his characters, making you love them, flaws and all. Learn from his brevity. Every word moves his stories forward; nothing is extraneous. I still watch M*A*S*H with an eye to learning the craft from the best in the business.

Thank you, Larry. You'll be missed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"What do you love about your Simon Pulse Ro-Com covers?"

Like Whitney, I’ve felt so gratified that Amy included my characters’ signature jewelry on my covers. First there was Virginia’s diamond nose stud on the cover of Major Crush. This was my first book, and my editor made it feel even more special by calling me and giggling to say she had a surprise for me--look really closely at the cover! I mean, really, really closely! You'll have to go squint at a copy, because it's so small that I can't make it show up on the computer.

On the cover, Drew and Virginia are doing the dance move for their drum major salute that they are forced into and that causes them so much trouble. Oooh, check out how he’s looking at her! Imho this cover could not be more perfect.

As Analyn pointed out in the comments on Whitney’s post, Amy also included Adam’s skull-and-crossbones necklace on the cover of The Boys Next Door so you can tell him apart from Sean, since they look alike (which causes Lori all sorts of trouble). The inclusion of a little detail like this made me feel that my editor loved Adam as much as I did. Plus, the lake looks exactly like the lake where I grew up, and Lori looks as un-self-consciously pretty as I’d pictured her in my head (and less windblown, and cleaner). Imho this cover could not be more perfect.

Now, if the cover of The Ex Games were to follow this pattern, Hayden would be showing her lucky four-leaf-clover earring. However, I respect the decision not to put this on the cover. Nothing says “hilarious teen romance novel” like a HUGE EAR! LOOK AT MY EAR! Instead, it was Editor Mike’s idea to have Hayden and Nick standing back-to-back before their snowboarding competition against each other. Nick is so handsome--I expect him to flick his hair out of his eyes with his pinkie any second--and Hayden’s outfit is as cute as anything sold by Roxy. They look excited and happy, and thrilled to be on the slopes together. Imho this cover could not be more perfect.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

“What do you love about your Simon Pulse Ro-Com covers?”

I heard that this is the question of the month for the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies blog, which sounds great to me. The only other thing I can think about right now would be the obnoxious heatwave we're having in San Diego. 102 today, and I live 15 min from the beach!! Anyway, what do I love most about my covers? There are lots of things. I think my favorite part about every single one of my book covers is seeing them for the first time. I love to see what the artists come up with and it's almost always consistent with my vision. I have a bunch of covers framed in my office, and I love seeing the foreign titles for some of my adult books. My agent, Elise Capron, always tells me I look like Natalie on the Love Off-Limits cover. I wish. If I had Natalie's figure I would give away my elliptical machine tomorrow. I love the colors Amy Saidens came up with for Love Off-Limits also. There is something about fall colors that are so alluring and comforting. The cover of Party Games captures so many elements from the book. Sara's blue necklace is small but significant in the story and I was so pleased to see the necklace included on the cover. Not to mention that Ian looks pretty cute and is someone I would've had a crush on. So I can't wait to see what is in store for the next book! I'll let everyone know as soon as I find out.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Where do ideas come from?

This is one of the questions I get a lot - from readers, my coworkers, even my mom - and it's one of my favorite questions to answer. The answer: I get my ideas from really weird places. Take the proposal I'm working on now...I was driving one day, and heard a crazy cool story on NPR's Science Friday that got me thinking about things and BAM! that night I had a concept in mind. Of course, it's morphed a lot since then and is not even polished yet, but NPR was my muse.

Other places where I get stories:

1) Eavesdropping (a lot...especially listening to people gossip in dressing rooms or bar restrooms or other creepy/lurky places like that where I shouldn't admit to snooping on people).

2) The library - browsing around among the books and, yes, okay, snooping on people. As you may imagine, I've read Harriet the Spy many times.

3) Other peoples' book covers that make me think about something totally different than the book they're covering.

4) Ideas that I've stolen from my husband - I'm not ashamed to admit it.

5) Memories and imagined memories of old (especially rotten) boyfriends and crushes.

Idea-gathering is my favorite part of being a writer. Since I started writing books, I've noticed that I'm always sponging up everything around me, stealing little snippets and dialogue and character traits from everyone around me. (So LOOK OUT people who hang out with me!)

What inspires you?