Today I had to fill in a questionnaire for the art department designing the cover of A Perfect Hero. And I would love to show you what I came up with, but harrumph, I do not seem to have the technology, Houston, to show you my two mock-up covers that were I thought, quite delicious.
But I can direct you to the pictures that I thought would be suitable:
The portrait of Thomas Robert Hay, 11th Earl of Kinoull by Henry Raeburn, which I don't seem to be able to upload, but which you can find here http://www.ncmoa.org/collections/highlights/european/british/raeburn_lrg.shtml
The portrait of the Duchess of Courland by Angelica Kauffman.
The portrait of Sir Humphry Davey by Sir Thomas Lawrence
The Earl checks out for the imperfect suitor of the book, Valentine Wemyss, who was our heroine's fiancé until he dumped her very unceremoniously and publicly. The Duchess of Courland is somewhat my idea of the complexion, features and expression of Hero herself, and Humphrey Davy is exactly my image of Freddie Charteris, who confuses Hero by kissing her in Queens Gardens Edinburgh one dank December night and then gets into all sorts of mischief when he helps her track down Valentine who has done a disappearing act.
And who would have figured Humphry Davy for such a cutie!
I filled out a detailed questionnaire establishing that my book is set in 1816/17, during the winter, with snow, and that a hot clinch cover was undesirable because no one in the book actually has sex, or indeed gets much beyond a decorous bit of lip action and a caress or two. So what I expect I will get will be something like this:
Which, while it is a lively and vivid cover, would be inappropriate to my novel. I'm a little concerned too by the possibility that the hero has overdone it on the tanning table. However, I learned quite a while ago (2003 when I was first published) that as an author, you can say what you like, but expecting anyone to listen to you is folly in the extreme. Especially when it comes to the nitty gritty of marketing tools like cover art. I'm not sure that the writer in the publishing world is regarded as quite such irrelevant pondscum as the writer in the movie world, but it's best to know your place, tug your forelock and roll with the punches. Or the clinches.