The Making of a Book Cover: To Tempt a Viking by Michelle Willingham
by Michelle Willingham, author of To Tempt A Viking
On June 24, I had the experience of a lifetime. I was allowed to watch the photo shoot of book two in my Forbidden Vikings series, To Tempt a Viking. (Photos courtesy of Jon Wayne Brown).
In Toronto, I met the cover model, Taylor David, along with the makeup artist Jukka and the stylist Marie-Eve. We talked about Taylor’s character and I was asked, Do you want scars? Battle wounds? Bearded or clean-shaven?
To ensure that the book cover was unique, we made some changes to Taylor’s hair, pulling it back and adding war braids.
Then it was time to dress our Viking! Taylor put on a pair of leather leggings and an amber-colored shirt that looked as if it was made of a fishing net. He also wore a black leather tunic with red embossed cross studs.
Metal arm bands were added, along with a helmet as a prop. Now we were ready for the photo shoot!
Many of his facial expressions went beyond the fierce warrior and became more like those of a wounded hero or a tormented man. Midway through the shoot, he changed costumes.
Often more than 600 photographs are taken during a single photo shoot. Ninety-five of them might make it to the next round. Even the slightest change in angle or a costume detail can make the difference on whether a photograph makes the final cut.
There were so many good ones, it was difficult to choose! I had several that I liked, but they chose one that was evocative of a Viking warrior after a shipwreck.
After the final photograph is selected, it’s sent to an illustrator who fills in the setting. Robert Papp created the background, and this was the final illustration before the cover details were laid over it.
The publisher’s branding and imprint are overlaid on top of that, as well as the title and author name.
Here’s the final cover of To Tempt a Viking.
If you’d like to see a video of the photo shoot, you can watch it all come together here: https://bit.ly/1drxC15. More details about the photo shoot are available on my website: www.michellewillingham.com/book/to-tempt-a-viking. Book one of the Forbidden Vikings series, To Sin with a Viking, is available now.
What’s your favorite part of the book-cover process? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!