Cover Art Quest


Washington Coastline

There is never a dull moment in this business. If you’re not writing a book, you’re writing a blog post or tweeting a thank you or updating your Facebook page. And all that doesn’t take into consideration the publisher’s proofs that need careful review, the blog tours that need to be set up, the press releases that won’t write themselves and the book covers that need to be designed.

As much as I would love to spend all my days writing, this business is more complex than that and many of those other chores demand a piece of my time. Happily, most of those chores can be done from the road. And happily, that’s where I am. It’s familiar territory for me having spent so many winters “heading south.” This week I’m driving down the Pacific coast with my husband, John, and our sweet Molly to find the perfect photo inspiration for the cover of Book III, Redemption.

Cover art is an important component of any book. It has the potential to either draw people in or send them scurrying. For better or worse, from the very start, I’ve had a strong opinion of what the visual should be for The Gift. It’s always been the beach. The beach plays a critical role in all three books.  In the first book, Awakening, the beach is a cruel mistress that serves as the setting for imparting the gift, awakening it, and finally, setting it free.  In book II, Revelation, the beach serves as a reminder of where it all began and then plays hand maiden to the larger story that occurs within metres of the very beach where it all began.

Viona Halim is the talented graphic artist who painted the first two covers. She did a wonderful job creating not only compelling watercolours, but also capturing the ominous mood that’s prevalent in all the books.  The beach is also prevalent in Book III, Redemption, but this time, visually, the beach is different. And that’s what brings me here. I need to get some photos of these beaches for Viona to work with. The book cover for Redemption will be in keeping with the trilogy’s mood, which is still dark and mysterious, but this time it will reflect the very unique cliff face and low vegetation typical to Bodega Bay, California, which is where a pivotal scene takes place.

The cover for Book II is about to be revealed. Keep your eyes peeled because just after the cover reveal, Revelation will be released and then all hell will let loose. I can’t wait.

As an aside, this is our first road trip without Molly’s half-sister, Soozie. They’ve travelled extensively with us since 2000. It seems strange to be making this journey without her – as if a book end is missing. To read more about Soozie, see


About JP McLean

Author of The Gift Legacy, a contemporary thriller with a twist of fantasy that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night sky…
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5 Responses to Cover Art Quest

  1. ineverforget says:

    I’ve enjoyed the challenge of heading out with my camera and snapping some snappy snaps for use with my book (either cover, rear cover or just promotional use) – and what a sense of accomplishment when you’ve finished and you know you had a hand in it! Great post!


  2. My wife and I head out to La Push, Washington near Forks every few years. We were married there.
    Where exactly along the coast was this taken?


    • JP McLean says:

      Thanks to you, I learned something new today. In my quest to find the location of that photo, I discovered that my husband’s iPhone attaches GPS coordinates to photos. My camera doesn’t do that, but luckily, we’d both taken photos at that stop. From there I was able to pinpoint the EXACT location of the photo. It was taken just north of Kalaloch. If you want to locate it on Google Earth, input these coordinates, 47 39’0.6″N, 124 23’19.2″W


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