I recently had the unique opportunity to interview the amazing author/cover artist duo J.D. Stroube and Regina Wamba. J.D. has a slue of books releasing this year, the first of which, Caged in Darkness dropped earlier this week. The incredibly talented Regina Wamba created the covers for them all!
When I was approached about doing this interview, I was incredibly excited. I have always had an interest in book covers and have always wondered about the process, especially for indie authors. Indie authors are in control of every aspect of their book, which obviously includes the cover art. I was curious about how the dynamics in such a relationship would work and how the different creative visions would mesh.
Now today we have to remarkable ladies here to share their experiences with us and shed some light on the process!
TBG : (To J.D.) How did you go about selecting a cover artist? What sort of things were you looking for?
J.D.: I was mostly concentrating on perfecting my books, when Regina approached me through Goodreads. We had already been friends and since she knew I would be published soon, she asked to do my covers. I was looking for an artist who was creative with gothic and emotive covers. Ideally, I hoped to find someone with a combination. Regina has more than met my expectations!
TBG: I am incredibly curious about how the cover for Caged in Darkness came about. Did the two of you go back and forth on concepts? How long did you take you to come up with the final product? Were there different versions? And if so, how did it evolve?
J.D.: I gave Regina a few passages and the description of Savannah. I then came up with ideas for the cover and sent them to her. I included links to graphics I liked and explained how she could incorporate them into my cover. It took a few weeks because Regina and the model couldn’t do the photo shoot in bad weather. Once the photo shoot was done, we set up an interview for roughly one week later. We spent two hours on the phone getting the idea right and somehow veered completely off topic and became friends.
Regina: Of course! J.D. had some very detailed requirements for her character; luckily I had the perfect model for the cover. We went through a lot of different shots and after a lot of collaboration we decided on an image to use. We had a few different versions, but mostly it was working with the fonts, colors and backgrounds.
TBG: I am sure you both had different things you wanted to bring to this project, were you able to easily combine your visions?
J.D.: I think Regina and I are lucky, because we work well together. We have similar personalities and are both creative. It was easy to convey to one another what our visions were. J
Regina: Easily! J.D. is very easy to work with and with my design background and her vision, we were able to easily mold both visions into one!
TBG: (To J.D.) Did you have a vision for the cover before you first talked with Regina?
J.D.: Yes, I kept imagining Savannah running through the forest with a terrified expression. Sometimes I pictured the moon or eyes in the background, while other times I saw fog swirling around her feet. I knew I wanted blue, black, and silver tones.
TBG: (To Regina) Was it difficult to try and bring someone else’s vision to life?
Regina: No, with J.D. it actually was easy. Once we decided on the image, it was just a matter of small details.
TBG: What is your favorite memory from creating the cover or your favorite aspect of the final product?
J.D.: My favorite memory was when Regina would send me the updates and I would give her my input. I loved seeing how the process evolved into the final product. Although, even more than that… I enjoyed the excitement behind everything.
Regina: I enjoyed everything! I loved showing J.D. the steps and the progress until the design was complete.
TBG: How important do you think it is for the author and artist to have chemistry? Do you think it is necessary?
J.D: A million times YES! Something as important as a book shouldn’t be trusted to just anyone. It should be someone that you connect with. You also need to be able to find common ground to develop a common vision.
Regina: It is very important. It can be a stress on both parties if one party does not click with the other. It can be time consuming, difficult, and they can have a hard time achieving the ultimate goal. I have had numerous cases personally where either a designer isn’t hitting the current design goals of the author, or the chemistry isn’t there making the process time consuming and more expensive for the author.
TBG: I have to say, the cover turned out beautifully. Is it everything you hoped it would be?
J.D.: It’s even better than I hoped. Each of the covers Regina has done for me have been phenomenal. Caged in Darkness will always be a favorite though.
Regina: I love it! I hope it does well and people view it as part of the book. I hope to hear more feedback on the designs I do!
TBG: Is there anything else about the process that you would like to share with us?
J.D.: It’s addictive! I grew used to seeing an update each night that I literally crave them! I ended up joining Redbubble and DeviantArt to look at the graphic art. I am always excited to start on the next cover for one of my books. I almost enjoy the process more than I enjoy writing the book! Regina inspired me so much that I ended up teaching myself to do photo manipulation! I am no where near as amazing as Regina is, but I am pretty good for a beginner.
Learn more about Regina Wamba & J.D. Stroube
**I'd like to thank both J.D. and Regina for taking the time to answer all of my questions! Don't forget to check out Caged in Darkness, J.D.'s brand new debut!
A witch raised in a cage of darkness...
Savannah Cross was born into a life of isolation and abuse. As a child, she witnessed her parents perform acts of malevolent evil, and now feels permanently tainted by their dark deeds.
When a coven discovers a tear stricken child, wounded on their elders lawn, they offer her a sanctuary she has never known. Savannah spends the next several years shattered, continuously looking over her shoulder, waiting for the darkness to claim her.
On her 16th birthday, Savannah’s life takes a drastic turn.She is consumed by overwhelming power that forever alters her emotionally and physically.
She must choose between two loves; the one who taught her to smile or the darkly seductive stranger who tempts her towards another path. Savannah must decide between the coven that was her haven and another one vying for her initiation. Just as Savannah begins to grasp what fate has in store for her, an evil looms over her loved ones; coming to claim an unbreakable debt.
How will she choose and survive the greatest evil she has ever witnessed... long enough to have a choice to make?