Friday, October 16, 2015

What We're Writing: Debs Reveals All

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Everyone has been so patient with me. It's been more than a year since the last Kincaid/James novel, TO DWELL IN DARKNESS, was published. I am such a slowpoke, and I've been excruciatingly quiet on the subject of Kincaid/ James #17, simply because it can get very confusing if information goes out before the book is actually in the publisher's schedule. 

But the next Duncan and Gemma book is now scheduled for August, 2016! (I know that seems like a long way away, but those months will fly by, I swear.) 

The book is called THE GARDEN OF LAMENTATIONS.



Here's a peek at what happens:



On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill’s private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she’s sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma and Kincaid’s son.

Gemma soon discovers that Reagan’s death is the second tragedy in this exclusive London park; a few months before, a young boy died in a tragic accident. But when still another of the garden’s residents meets a violent end, it becomes clear that there are more sinister forces at play. Boatman and Gemma must stop the killer before another innocent life is taken.

While his wife is consumed with her new case, Kincaid finds himself plagued by disturbing questions about several previous—and seemingly unrelated—cases involving members of the force. If his suspicions are correct and the crimes are linked, are his family and friends in mortal danger as well? Kincaid’s hunch turns to certainty when a Metropolitan Police officer close to him is brutally attacked. There’s a traitor in the ranks, and now Kincaid wonders if he can trust anyone.

As Gemma begins to see a solution to her case, she realizes she holds a child’s fate in her hands. Can she do the right thing? And can Kincaid rely on his friends, both inside and outside the Yard, to stand beside him as he faces the deadliest challenge of his career?


I still have loads to do on this novel--finishing the fiddly bits, editing, copy-editing, page proofs--all the things that go into a finished book. And the art department at William Morrow is working on the cover. I can't wait to see what they come up with--for me, the cover really brings the book to life! 

Readers, how important are book covers to you? Do the artwork and design of a cover influence your decision to buy a book?


49 comments:

Joan Emerson said...
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Joan Emerson said...
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Joan Emerson said...

I'm certainly looking forward to reading this . . . what an interesting story.

Do the artwork and design of a cover influence my decision to buy a book? Not necessarily. Ultimately, it's the author and the summary/description of the story that has the most influence for me.

Edith Maxwell said...

For an author I don't know, the cover can influence me, whether browsing in a bookstore, the library, or online. Covers can signal the genre to browsers.

For you? I'd read it if the cover was a piece of brown paper with some words on it! Can't wait for the new book.

Reine said...

Debs, I am so happy to see this news about THE GARDEN OF LAMENTATIONS!!! It sounds terrific. I've missed Gemma and Duncan so much I've been reduced to rereading the series for a third time and in fact have just now started to reread Duncan & Gemma #9, NOW MAY YOU WEEP. The audiobook arrived in yesterday's mail. I waited so long to get it and just decided I needed to do it. It's a pleasure to hear the reader, Michael Deehy. The story is brilliant, of course, and being able to listen makes a big difference in my ability to read at a normal pace. I've been buying my audiobooks via a download subscription through Audible, but this is the only one of yours I haven't found there. I always buy a hard copy of my favorites and rely on them when I'm on the go. I leave a different book in each room, too, so for someone who has trouble holding a book, I manage to get a lot of reading done.

If I'm browsing for a book a cover will get my attention, but once I'm familiar with an author's work, I look for the author's name. Of course I like to discover new authors to read, and for that I ask friends what they recommend. That always gets me trying new things... lately, science fiction. :-) Browsing is also fun. I haven't been up to Scottsdale in a long time, but when I do I never miss the opportunity to go on a shopping spree at The Poisoned Pen. They are well stocked and very helpful! That—I love!

Kaye Barley said...

oooh, a new Gemma and Duncan - Hooray!!!! Can't wait, Debs! And I love the title.

Covers - man, I love good cover art.

I will always shop by author first, but yes - while browsing through a bookstore I have succumbed to the lure of cover art. I won't actually give in and purchase the book until I've at least read what the book's about, but it will entice me to at least pull it off the shelf and check it out. The one that pops immediately to mind is Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus." The art work grabbed me and then reading the cover flap grabbed me. I was not disappointed.



Margaret Turkevich said...

looking forward to your new book! I'm reading Sue Grafton's X which has the simplest of covers, her name and the letter "X". Is there a trend towards more abstract covers (Penny's Nature of the Beast, Sophie Hannah's Woman with a Secret)?

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Kaye, I also read The Night Circus for the cover — and then loved it!

Debs, congratulations on getting this stage of the book — SO MANY DETAILS! Can't wait to read in August!

Hallie Ephron said...

Garden of Lamentations (love the title!) sounds terrific. Like you I write slowly so next August doesn't seem that far off.

Confession: A cover is more likely to turn me off than it is to make me read. Because the cover often communicates sub-genre and content (cozy, British, military, ....) and as a reader I have my own preferences. It's not the quality of the cover (though if it looks amateurish that's a turn off, too) but what it's telling me about the book.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

oh boy, we can't wait Debs. The description sounds riveting and I love the title, too!

I think the cover definitely helps draw me in if I'm browsing in a bookstore, but I'm like Edith, we'd read your books covered in brown paper if we had to!

Gram said...

What Edith said.

Michele Dorsey said...

Like Lucy and Edith, I would read a book in this series I so love in any kind of cover or without one, but I have to say, ever since e-books, I have appreciated cover art so much more. It just adds another layer of pleasure to the book, as does seeing a title in print. The Garden of Lamentations pulls me right in. I know what I'll be reading on the porch next August!

Kristopher said...

I love the title The Garden of Lamentations. So many possibilities there.

As for cover art, like others have said, I have purchased many an unfamiliar to me author based on a strong cover design. I am less likely to avoid a favorite author based on the cover design, but there are times when I say to my self "what were they thinking."

One of my pet peeves is self-published authors. I know it is hard to get noticed in this industry, but they do themselves a disservice when they don't invest in strong cover art. I am sure it is expensive, but if you are going to place all your hopes and dreams in that basket, I think you should splurge and make the public-facing part of your work as strong as possible. Readers equate the quality of the work inside with the quality of the outside (of course, this is not logical since the author has little to do with a cover most times, but it is a fact).

Brenda Buchanan said...

Hello Deborah,

I adore the title, and am sure the cover will be terrific, as yours always are. The story sounds as wonderfully complex and suspenseful as I've come to expect, and I will look forward indeed to next August.

Edith already said what I thought - I'd buy your books even if the cover were plain as a brown bag. But in general, a cover that captures the mood and spirit of a book can (and does) draw me to buy the books of writers who are new to me.

Brenda

Deborah Crombie said...

You all are so lovely! Of course I'll be biting my nails hoping that everyone will like the new book. I LOVE the title, and so does my editor. Whew. Now, if only people won't ask me what it means...

Reine, isn't Michael Deehy (reading the more recent books as Gerard Doyle, his real name) terrific? He won an Audie for In a Dark House, but I think his narration of Now May You Weep is my favorite of all his readings. And you're so clever to increase the number of pages you can read by keeping books all over the house. (I actually do that too.)

Margaret, yes, there has been a trend towards the more abstract covers, and in my books as well. But I think this one may be a little different, so even more exciting!

I have almost bought The Night Circus a dozen times in airport bookstores because I loved the cover. Next time I will give in to temptation. I like quirky, interesting covers, and will often buy an unfamiliar author just because I like the cover of a book. Covers don't keep me from buying books by authors I already like, or by authors who have been highly recommended, but I enjoy the whole experience more if the book has a great cover.

Kristopher, I so agree--and it was so nice to see you at Bouchercon!

Karen in Ohio said...

Love the title, and the premise. Sending you lots of supportive vibes for the big finish, Deb!

The Night Circus sucked me in with the cover, too. It's such an unusual book, I was really glad when one of our book club members chose it, so I could reread it.

Generally, though, you can tell what type of book it is by the cover, and that helps. No one, for instance, would mistake your book covers for cozies, and conversely, no one would mistake a candy-colored cover, or one featuring cute cats, for the type of mystery you write. And that's a great thing, for me. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a guaranteed no-gore read, and sometimes I'm in the mood for something more dark. It helps to get a clue from the cover, especially if I'm unfamiliar with the author.

Mary Sutton said...

What a great cover and blurb. I am sadly so behind, but as soon as I finish all of Julia's books... That's the nice thing about coming to a series late. There's always something to read.

Like Edith, I'll buy from a favorite author if the book is wrapped in brown paper. But like Kaye, a cover will entice me to pull a book off the shelf and then look at the jacket copy/first pages if I don't know the author. So I guess you can say the cover kind of impacts my decision to buy.

Marianne in Maine said...

Hooray! More of Gemma and Duncan, and the family. Can't wait.

Like many have said, if I like the author I don't care what the cover is. I know what's inside will be awesome. I usually don't buy a book because of its cover but, like Hallie said, I can be turned off by one. There's one out currently - a regency romance, don't judge me *grin* - that I'm not sure I want to read because the hero on the cover is just not attractive in my opinion. How superficial I am, right?!!!

Keep up the great writing, ladies.

Linda Chudej said...

The new Kincaid & Gemma books sounds like a good mystery but they are good characters in every way! I often will pick up a book if I like the cover but reading the synopsis & the reviews are what make my decision to buy it or not. And of course I'm not really good at seeking out new authors since I have my favorites & there are so many books & so little time.

Sherilyn said...

Yes, August does seem a long time away! I love the title of your book - THE GARDEN OF LAMENTATIONS. Both of the words, garden & lamentations, are so evocative. And Lamentations 3:22 is one of my very favorite Bible verses: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
As to covers - yes they are an important influence. Of course the most important is the author, then the genre. But a cover can actually eliminate a book from my consideration. Authors whose covers I really like: Charles Finch, Louise Penny (recent books), Julia Spencer-Fleming.
By the way, always love the photos in your columns!

Denise Ann said...

OOH -- this looks great.
As for covers, I feel as if there is a message in cover designs these days that tells the reader "this is your kind of book." I, for one, don't read books with kittens on the cover (sorry), and the artwork has to have an "edge." That said, I am in a Mystery Book Club, and have read books far outside my comfort zone (for example, "Hit Man") and ended up LOVING the book and reading all of the author's work.

Thank you for sharing this teaser!!

Edith Maxwell said...

Oh, Denise, I hope you won't reject my books because of the cover cats!

Karen in Ohio said...

Edith, I will read your books despite the cats, but I am thoroughly turned off by the current preponderance of books that feature cats, in particular those where the cats are the raison d'etre.

I post this bravely, realizing I'm in the minority in not having affection for the felines. Allergic since childhood, I never got into the kitty love.

Maryann said...

Such great news Deborah! I too am considering re-reading for a third time, just to keep my timelines straight (ok, so I enjoy the characters and the plots and the fiddly bits but I love following things from the beginning so I can dive in without going...wait, when did THAT happen?). Helps me recommend the series to other readers too :)
Book covers? If I'm already a fan of the author, the artwork doesn't always matter, but good art work sets the tone, and draws me to new authors or drives me away...garish doesn't work for me if I'm scanning the shelves at Barnes & Noble. In fact, the last two new (to me) authors I picked up have muted colors on the jackets as well as a simple design overall. That said, I love the creativity on the cozy covers...they're meant to draw you in to a friendly read, and they do.
Thanks so much for letting us know there's a new Jemma and Duncan in the works. I can't wait!

Grace B. Foster said...

I do enjoy good covers -- in the past, it might have induced me to pick up a book. But now that I've given up driving and do most of my shopping via internet, what was always an attraction has become the main influence in my book-buying: the Author! For instance, I always pre-order the top of my list authors (including D. Crombie) in hardcover; those authors I've read but who are not tops become a case of waiting for the reviews; and the authors who I like, but not enough for hardcover, I buy for my Kindle. I look forward to the pre-order info. for Debs' latest -- have all the Duncan-Gemma books and they are on "keeper" shelves!

lynne said...

hip, hip hooray . waiting impatiently. love all your books
.

FChurch said...

I'm as impatient as the next fan, Deborah, but, really, your books are so wonderfully well-written--that your process clearly works for you--take all the time you need!

And what Edith and others have said--when I know the author, I'd read the book without a cover. But, on the other hand, I'm very visually oriented and I love how cover art can add to the story--not just advertise the contents in some way, but actually add another fillip of meaning and pleasure to the whole experience.

RL Anderson said...

Cannot wait!! Well, yes I can because I have been. But jumping for joy that there's a title, a snippet, and an approximate publishing date. Hope Laura has a map in the works for end papers. Thank you Deb for the great news!!

RL Anderson said...

Cannot wait!! Well, yes I can because I have been. But jumping for joy that there's a title, a snippet, and an approximate publishing date. Hope Laura has a map in the works for end papers. Thank you Deb for the great news!!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yes, SO important--but only for impulse buys. I would buy YOURS if it were solid black. Which might be cool anyway. But there's certainly a type of cover that draws me--and apparently, I am against the grain. I'd rather have graphics than a photo. But the experts disagree.

Debs!!! HURRAY!!!!

TFJ said...

I think I may have to copy Reine and start re-reading the series, relishing every bit that gets me to August 2016 and The Garden of Lamentations.

Like Hallie, a cover is more likely to turn me off rather than lure me in. And like many others' comments, favorite authors' books will get purchased no matter the cover, although I can honestly say I haven't seen a cover from a favorite author that wasn't spot on.

As I say to all the Reds, Deb: Please. Write Faster. HA!

~Tricia

Elisabeth said...

The cover's influence all depends upon how familiar I am with the author. An unknown (to me) author the cover can get me to pick it up and the blurb on the back influences the buying/getting from the library. A known or recommended author the cover influences hardly at all. Although with an author I really like whose latest has the "world weirdest" cover (this applies to art work as well as feel...a couple of years ago there was a fad for "bad latex"), I wonder "HOW COULD SHE LET THIS HAPPEN???"
Thank you all for this wonderful blog!

Lisa Alber said...

Yay, Debs! I'm looking forward to it -- time goes by so fast that I hadn't realized that it has been over a year since you're last one. Wow, already? My second (Whispers in the Mist, Midnight Ink) comes out in August too. Seems like forever ... but NOT! I had to laugh reading your line about working on the fiddly bits and then everything after that. Still a lot to do editiorially. Yeeks.

Anyhow, what I most notice about covers these days is how big the author's name is. It's like a signal: this is a BIG author, already popular, so come on, jump on the bandwagon and read this book!

I'm not sure about photos on covers either, Hank. Someone mentioned abstract covers being popular ... Seems like all I notice are close-ups of faces on covers. I'm not sure I like that -- literally, it's too in my face. :-)

Susan said...

So excited to have a new Kincaid & James book to look forward to. With the ending of Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series, this stands alone as my very favorite. Sounds wonderful!

I have to say, cover artwork doesn't usually have much influence on me, but the cover blurb does. I rarely impulse buy a physical book any more. I only invest in those I'm pretty sure I will enjoy, most often based on author or occasionally a rave review. Most of my experimentation with unknown authors comes at the library, and a high percentage of those on audio books, since I listen to them in the car as I rack up my 18,000 to 20,000 miles a year. Depending on who published the audio book they tend to have either no cover art or very little. But I do often select based on the blurb about the story, so I want it to be not only accurate but printed in a large enough font that eyes over 40 can read it!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Has anyone noticed how different UK covers are from the US ones — for the same novel? One of my favorite things do do in London is to go into a bookshop and see all the books I know from home with different covers and wonder about the decision-making process....

blanet j said...

Thank goodness there's a new Gemma/Duncan book coming! How I'll wait till August is another story. Are you sure they need this much time for the cover, the tweaking, and the fiddling? I suppose this is what makes your books so very good. They are, each of them, little gems. Cover art depends. If the book is an author I want to read, I buy the book. Period. Though I have been disappointed in poor covers. I have also bought a few books because their covers hooked me - but not without checking out the contents.

Chris said...

I love great covers on books but I don't pick books because of the cover. If it's a "new to me" author I usually read the synopsis first. If it's an author I know and love, I will buy the book regardless of the cover. I can't wait for the new Duncan/Gemma book. It's one of my favorite series!!!

storytellermary said...

I enjoy a beautiful cover, since I see it each time I pick up the book, but I once I know the author, past reading experience influences me to choose and read books by an author I love. With new-to-me authors, I also use the tactic of reading a random page partway in to help judge, since we'll never have time to read everything.
I do enjoy vicariously the pets that happen to show up in books, but can't get my head around books in which the animal is the detective or main character. Also, I want resolution and am beginning to turn away from writers who leave plots unfinished and end on a cliff-hanger . . . so glad you don't do that.

Kathy Reel said...

Oh, Debs, I so long for the new Gemma and Duncan book, and The Garden of Lamentations is a great title. Duncan has been dealing with that background noise of something-not-quite-right for a while now, and I'm hoping he gets the answers he's been wanting and needing. I can't wait to find out! And, Gemma and murders in Notting Hill sounds so exciting. The Toby connection has me pleased, too.

I'm quite in love with great book covers, and I have a category in my Goodread shelves entitled, "favorite covers." I will, of course, buy a favorite author's books no matter whether I'm taken with the cover or not, but it sure is a bonus when the authors I follow have amazing art work or clever covers. I have purchased a book because the cover is so unique or remarkable, but even then, I do like it to have appeal on the content level, too.

One of the collection-geared purchases at Bouchercon is British covers of U.S. published books I have in some of my favorite series. This time, I was able to find a couple of Debs' books and Elly Griffiths'. Although, with your books, Debs, I am looking for hardback period, as I first read so many of your books in mass paperback. Oh, and I found a couple of Laurie King British covers, too.

Diane_D said...

A beautiful or intriguing cover can certainly make make *pick up* a book by a new-to-me author, but it's certainly *not* going to cause me to *buy* it unless the premise/summary and my sampling of the writing also appeal. When I'm browsing the Kindle freebies/bargains and see a cover made by someone clearly without a clue as to what makes a good cover, I tend to assume they also didn't have anyone with a clue as to proper editing, etc., involved in its publication, so I probably won't even look at its info at all.

Diane_D said...

... Oh, I forgot to say, Thanks for the update! I'm looking forward to this release.

Nancy said...

Deborah, you're worth the "wait"in gold :) . . .Book covers and art influence me less when I already know and like an author's work. With new find, the right art might catch my attention.

Mar (aka mar annabelle jacob) said...

O, I can't wait Debs !!

I did not read the bit about book, like to be
surprised :)

Be sure to let us know when it's available for pre-order

Happy Writing

Mar

Nancy said...

Ooooh, so exciting! Next August does seem a long way away, but I'm so excited to re-immerse myself in Gemma's and Duncan's lives! (and to see you once again in Houston!).

I suppose that, in general, I am influenced by the appearance of a book - but for me that does not apply to your books, Debs - I will jump at the chance to read whatever you write, regardless of its outward appearance!


Nancy GW

Kait said...

What a wonderful book and set in a gorgeous part of London. Raise your paw, who thinks the front door looks like Hugh Grant's in Notting Hill?

Shallow thing that I am, I will buy a hardbound or trade based on the cover. In summer's stifling heat,I'm drawn to snow scenes, and in winter, bring on the tropical beaches. Of course, I will buy a book because I like the "hand" too. The weight, width of the spine and how it caresses my palm, you get the idea. Since the advent of e-readers though, it's the author that attracts me, and the blurb, and sometimes, if I am still on the fence, the reviews. I rarely notice the cover until after I've made my purchase.

ChrisLB said...

I love titles and often they draw me in, but lately I find the covers use to grab me and open those first pages for me but not so any more. The description of the book is the "grab" for me more now!!

Carol Pouliot said...

Years ago you tied Agatha Christie and Martha Grimes as my all-time favorite mystery authors. I am SO looking forward to this next installment in the Gemma/Kincaid series. Maybe I'll go over to Notting Hill next week when I'm there.... Best of luck with your newest book!!

Lyn said...

So looking forward to the new book! I can't wait to hear what happens next for Duncan. As for the cover - it could be plain brown paper - and I'd buy i.! (Simply because I know how good it is going to be!) But yes - I do buy books based on their 'cover' appeal!

Anonymous said...

Like so many of the others, if I know and like an author, the cover doesn't matter to me, but if browsing, it will definitely impact what I choose to pick up: I'm remembering all the good books & excellent authors I've discovered this way at the airport, for example (& this is a situation where the title is going to matter, too). So glad to hear there is a new book coming, I've been worrying about Duncan et l since the end of To Dwell in Darkness!! Make sure you get it done by my vacation, second week in August please! 😀