Thursday, February 4, 2016

What We're Writing Week: @LucyBurdette


LUCY BURDETTE: The seventh Key West foodie mystery, Killer Takeout, will be on bookshelves soon (April 5.) Last month, that seemed a long distance away, but now the time will rush by. I have blogs to write, and proposals for new books to create, and recipes to develop, and the Key West Friends of the Library newsletter to produce. In other words, I am all over the place with what I'm writing. If I started to list it all, I fear I'd spin off into a great big ball of anxiety. 

So instead, I thought you'd enjoy a little peek into the cover story for KT. I've mentioned before that I create a Pinterest board as I work on each book. This seventh book in the Key West series takes place at Fantasy Fest, a New Orleans-style 10-day adult-themed party. As you can imagine, adult themes and cozies mysteries are not a natural mix. So I edited what I pinned to my board, so the powers that be would not freak out. No naked people in other words. I concentrated on costumes and food and pets--things that might give the cover artists a good starting point. (PS, I love my cover artists!)

Here's the first draft of what they sketched. All going in the right direction, though I wasn't sure what was up with the expanse of pavement...or the stop sign...or the blue building in the background. None of this reflected the reality of the scene (which is okay, really.) But it also distracted the eye from the fabulous display on the picnic table, including requisite cat--this time on the hunt for a lizard. My editor agreed, so back it went for another draft. I should also mention that I was writing the book as this was going on, so the artwork sometimes changed what I had imagined in a given scene. For example, I added the food truck that they had drawn in the scene...such a cool process!



Here's the second draft, minus stop sign and with reduced blacktop...and with the addition of some kind of bead shop, who knew? And notice that the truck's name has changed to Beach Eats (suggested by Celia Warren Fowler.)

Back to the drawing board for more blacktop reduction. (I'm not kidding!)







And here's the "final" draft--but purple? Oh no, I had been lobbying for orange. Because the purple seemed too close to the blue of FATAL RESERVATIONS. We certainly didn't want readers getting mixed up and thinking they already bought the new book! 

Was I wrong? I didn't think so. Was I displacing all kinds of other writer worries onto this cover? Absolutely!

Meanwhile, my editor had taken to Googling Fantesy Fest. And she'd come across photos of many naked people, albeit, painted. She called.

"Roberta, I can't quite believe what I'm finding online."


Me: "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, some of it is a little x-rated. But don't worry, I didn't write about that stuff. None of that's in the book, you'll see." 

Not much anyway. And then I begged for a chance to have orange on the cover.

She went to bat for me. Did I mention I love my editor?

You are invited to preorder KILLER TAKEOUT today!

(And PPS no, I am not going to post the naked people here either...only thinking of Hank, who is very modest. Though the truth is I do have some photos, because these painted people are not one bit shy about posing for a camera. Yeah, Hayley didn't get it either...)

22 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

I love how the orange cover makes the picture "pop" and I'm looking forward to reading "Killer Takeout" [even though I don't quite get the naked painted people, either] . . . .

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

This is so great! I love the evolution, and it came out perfectly! Plus, so impressive that they take your suggestions!

Edith Maxwell said...

What a great process. I love that they zoomed in for the final cover - as they should, to feature the table. And you were absolutely right about the orange. You're lucky you get a say in the cover revision!

Brenda Buchanan said...

The genesis of a cover - how cool! I like the orange very much. It really pops! I'm off to pre-order.

Hallie Ephron said...

Lucy I love the evolution of this cover! I'm not nearly as discerning when I look at my proposed covers. It's usually HATE IT or LOVE IT. When I saw the pearls on the cover of NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT (there were none in the book) I wrote some into it during the copyedit.

Going to preorder now.

Deb Romano said...

Just looking at your covers relaxes me! (Hard to believe there will be a murder before long:-)It's fascinating to hear the whole process of coming up with a cover, from start to finish.

Can't wait to read the book!

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

It is kind of amazing that they would listen to me at all--I think the key was that my editor is such a good listener. Sadly (for me) she's become an agent now. My new editor is very sweet too--boy does that make a difference!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Love, love, love the cover!(And makes me want to book a trip to Key West!)

Mary Sutton said...

I love the orange. I think you were right to say something about the purple. The orange is makes a definite statement.

I've seen the painted people and...I don't get it either.

FChurch said...

"Beach Eats" next to the beach seems more appropriate than a road and shops not part of the plotline--and, of course, a focus on the food is perfect. The orange is strong--and reminds me of sunshine (hello, it's Key West, people) ;-)

Can't wait for a copy!

Julia said...

The evolution of covers is always fascinating, and I'll add to readers who are unfamiliar with the way they happen that Lucy gets a LOT more input on the art than most writers do. Which just shows how much her publisher values her!

The expanse of blacktop was kind of awful. A good cover illustration can evoke a sense of actually being in the scene - and when I see a swath of asphalt in Key West, it makes me think of unpleasant heat and the scent of tar. The final version (with orange!) is much better - I can hear the pleasant crunch of the beach walkway and feel the breezes off the ocean.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

thanks Susan and Mary and FChurch!

Julia, not sure what was with the blacktop! though of course KW has its share of parking lots LOL. We'll see about the publisher business...

Jennifer Rummel said...

Love seeing the color evolution and love how you matched it to the book!

Deborah Crombie said...

LOVE the orange and think you were absolutely right to protest on the blacktop and the purple. That food-laden picnic table makes me want to be there. And I love the food truck!

Lisa Alber said...

I love the evolution of your cover. The orange is great, and so glad the food truck is parked next to the beach now! Also, I love the title. There's nothing like some killer takeout, especially when it's a picnic in the tropics.

Pat D said...

I imagine all the blacktop was for the food trucks that congregate in parking lots. But where were they? I like the final version of the cover MUCH better. As for painted naked people. . . usually those folks are the ones who really should have kept their clothes on.

Kathy Reel said...

Oh, the orange is absolutely the best choice for this cover! Bravo for your persistence, Lucy. And, good riddance to that blacktop. Now you have a gorgeous cover. Of course, I love all your covers.

I missed seeing Fantasy Fest when my daughter lived in Key West, and I had hoped to see it. I know from her reports how wild and crazy it is. Now, I prefer my trips to this wonderful place a little less crowded.

Can't wait to read Killer Takeout! Preordering it today!

Debbie S said...

I love seeing the progression and what a little change will do to a picture. I love the orange (and normally I hate that color) it does make the picture pop. Congrats on your upcoming release.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

thanks for the comments ladies--I'm so glad we went with orange too. The covers do a lot for this series, I think anyway, so I hated to slack off!



Kait said...

The cover is so evocative of Key West, especially with the suggestion of palm frond throughout. Orange was definitely the way to go. Can't wait to dig in.

Elwood said...

Love the orange and the evolution of the cover. Been to Fantasy Fest myself, but that's a whole different story.

Denise Ann said...

Incredible cover!! Congratulations. Such an interesting process. Can't wait!!