Today I would like to welcome Sophie Turner to my blog to share with my readers the story of how she came to select the final image for the cover of her new release, Mistress. I love this post because it conveys not only Sophie’s wonderful taste and graphic design skills, but it also displays her perseverance when she is creating a wonderful, new JAFF reading experience for her readers.
I am so curious to read your reactions to these covers that almost made it to the final cut!
Mistress started out titled Temporary Mistress, and was such for quite a bit of the cover design process. I changed it based on feedback from readers, who felt it had a negative connotation, which was not what I was trying to portray (I had intended it to be a bit more playful and provocative). But Mistress allows the word to encompass both sorts of mistress, and indeed Elizabeth begins the story as mistress of Longbourn, while, as the summary indicates, a certain someone would like to make her mistress of Pemberley.
I began with the very stark cover above, but got some great feedback that it didn’t connect enough with the story, and that I should try a person on the cover. Although I see the appeal, I’m hesitant of people because it’s so easy to look at someone on a cover and go, “that’s not what I think Elizabeth looks like.” Or Darcy, but as you’ll see in the “outtakes” of the cover, it was Elizabeth I was searching for.
Since it’s a story that’s got some steamy bits, the question was whether I could find a Regency woman who was steamy, but not TOO steamy, and this proved to be extremely difficult.
Paintings even remotely close to that era tended to be all or nothing, when it came to nudity. The above woman was the closest I could find to semi-undressed, but she didn’t feel right, and it did feel like a bit too much, in the nakedness department. Although there are steamy parts to the story, sex is ultimately a part of it, but one of several themes running through.
This woman was wearing black, which would have suited Elizabeth’s widowhood, and she had a bit of a low-cut gown, but she just didn’t feel like Elizabeth to me. This one does show, however, that I managed to find a script font that I liked, and you’ll see that repeated in the later outtakes.
The above was my favorite for a long while. Her posture and slightly pensive look fit the Elizabeth that begins this book, and because her eyes can’t be seen, they can’t be judged for fineness. But although I tried to crop out as much evidence of it as possible, her gown is actually Edwardian.
I set the cover aside for a long time – exhausted by the amount of OCD Google Image searching I had been doing to try to find a public domain painting with the right Elizabeth for this cover. I tried stock photo sites, too, and even had a few of more modern looking women from those, but it just wasn’t right.
Eventually, holding Edwardian Lady as my backup plan in case I couldn’t find anything better, I got back to work on the cover. The woman above was reclining on a chaise, which fit the story, but I wasn’t huge on the colors in the painting, particularly when I tried to pick them up in the title font.
Another widow, perhaps with Longbourn’s grounds behind her, but again, she just wasn’t quite the Elizabeth I was looking for, although she was closer.
I found the slightly different style of this one intriguing. If I recall, its biggest failing was that I could not find an image file large enough to have the right quality for the paperback. And, yet again, just not quite the Elizabeth I was looking for.
And then, when I truly thought I had seen every painting of a woman from approximately 1750-1850, I found her: “Portrait de Madame Pasteur,” by Antoine Jean Gros. The body language, the loose hair, the slightly undressed state of her in the chemise all fit what I needed this Elizabeth to look like. And those eyes! They were what I was looking for, in an Elizabeth.
In the original painting, she is wearing a necklace, which I’ve photoshopped out. Once that was done, it was just a case of finding colors that complemented the painting, and then I could finally complete the cover!
Please share your comments and thoughts about this process in the comments below… What do you think of Sophie’s cover selections?
One night, to decide his entire life’s happiness.
Chastened by Charles Bingley following Mr. Bennet’s untimely death, Fitzwilliam Darcy determines he will offer marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but she marries another.
Years later, a widowed Elizabeth is mistress of Longbourn, and has vowed she will never marry again. A house party at Netherfield brings them back together, but Darcy will have to win more than her heart if he is to have any chance at making her mistress of Pemberley.
Readers of Sophie Turner’s more chaste Constant Love series should be aware that this novel contains decidedly adult content at certain parts of the story.
Connect with Sophie Turner:
Sophie Turner worked as an online editor before delving even more fully into the tech world. Writing, researching the Regency era, and occasionally dreaming about living in Britain are her escapes from her day job.
She was afraid of long series until she ventured upon Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book Aubrey-Maturin masterpiece, something she might have repeated five times through.
Alas, her Constant Love series is only planned to be seven books right now, and consists of A Constant Love, A Change of Legacies, and the in-progress A Season Lost.
She blogs about her writing endeavours at sophie-turner-acl.blogspot.com, where readers can find direction for the various social drawing-rooms across the Internet where she may be called upon.
Sophie is offering a generous giveaway of two eBooks of “Mistress” to two Just Jane 1813 readers. Please leave a comment on this blog and share with us your feedback about this story and/or the blog tour no later than midnight, ET on March 30. Two winners will be announced on this blog on March 31, 2017.
March 18 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
March 19 / Of Pens & Pages/Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway
March 20 / Margie’s Must Reads /Book Review & Giveaway
March 21 / More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway
March 22 / A Lady’s Imagination / Guest Post & Giveaway
March 23 / Just Jane 1813/Guest Post & Giveaway
March 24 / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
March 25 / My Love for Jane Austen/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses/Book Review & Giveaway
March 27 / So Little Time…/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 28 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 29 / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette Post & Giveaway
Mistress can be added to your bookshelf at the following places:
Visit Goodreads to see what your friends are saying about this story.