How To Bake The Perfect Cover

I’m actually making a cake tonight for a school function tomorrow, so the baking analogy sounded right, but the truth is, until recently I’ve never had much to do with ”baking” my Harlequin Australia covers.

The first time I saw the covers of MAN DROUGHT and JILTED, they were final! And you know what? That was absolutely fine with me.  I fell in love the moment I clicked open the emails, however I know that some authors haven’t been so pleased about their covers, so I consider myself lucky! The team at Harlequin Australia do fabulous covers if you ask me and I’m sure they’re are a zillion times better than anything I’d ever come up with.

For JILTED I’d imagined a woman in a wedding dress (Ellie) and a suitcase at her feet, with a country setting/farm house in the background.


For MAN DROUGHT, I thought they might put the heroine in front of a country pub.

0113_ManDrought_C2 (1)

And both guesses, I was WAY off the mark! So, imagine my surprise when last week, I got sent a cover brief to fill in for OUTBACK DREAMS (September 2013). I actually  panicked for a few moments because I didn’t want my ideas (whatever they were and I wasn’t sure at the time) to hinder the creative genius of the team at Harlequin. However, I took a breath and then tried to imagine how I envisage the cover of OUTBACK DREAMS.

Nothing came to me as visually as it had when I’d thought of my previous covers, but I thought I’d share with you (below) what I sent back. I can’t wait to see what they make of my notes 🙂

Sub-genre/themes: Rural; Friends to Lovers.


OUTBACK DREAMS is a friends to lovers story about Daniel Montgomery and Faith Forrester. Faith is at a crossroads in her life – single, twenty-nine and living on the family farm in a small rural Western Australian town. Wanting more from her life than to be her father and brother’s kitchen slave, she embarks on a mission to raise money for a charity close to her heart – Dogs for Autism.

Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has been Faith’s best friend for as long as she can remember. When he was ten, his parents sold the family property (in Faith’s town) and moved to Perth to be closer to support services for his autistic brother Will. Ever since this day he has worked towards buying a property of his own (his dream) and returning to a life on the land.

Monty pursues this dream at the expense of all else, but when a drunken night with his best friend Faith, ends in them sleeping together, he’s suddenly faced with a whole load of other challenges.

Both Monty and Faith are ready to find a life partner and settle down but until now, have they both been looking in all the wrong places and missing what is right beneath their noses?

 Story setting:           Small rural town of 2,000 people; coastal Western Australia

Story locations:                   Bunyip Bay (fictional WA town), farms, small town,

Story time period:  3-4 months, present day

Featured holidays: none

Seasons:                    autumn to winter

Landmarks:              jetty, beach, farm houses

Character 1:             Daniel Montgomery

Age:               29

Occupation:             Farmer/handyman

Character theme:   Chasing dreams; realization family more important than possessions.

Character traits: hardworking, determined, sunny personality

Hair colour:              Dusty, dirty blonde. Slightly long and mussed up look.

Eye Colour:               Brown

Character 2:             Faith Forrester

Age:                           29

Occupation:             farm hand/ domestic duties

Character theme:   Finding true self and love; mending family rifts.

Character traits:     Tom boy, feels like a Plain Jane, sporty, feisty.

Hair colour:              Golden blonde

Eye Colour:               Blue

General cover direction/notes – do you envisage anything in particular?

I’d really like the same sort of fresh, young feel as was on the MAN DROUGHT cover. I think the rural readers like sexy farmer heros, so having the hero or at least a glimpse of the hero (like there was on MAN DROUGHT’s cover) would be awesome. Maybe an old but well looked after traditional homestead-type farmhouse in the back ground and the hero and heroine at the forefront. I’d love to show real spark, fiest between them, but deep underlying passion only just realized (if you know what I mean). Basically – do your stuff! Whoever, you are, you’re awesome at it!!

And then, because I’m nice like that, I included the below photo of how I envisage Monty (the hero):


I cannot WAIT to see what Harlequin Australia come up with for this one!!!


16 thoughts on “How To Bake The Perfect Cover

  1. You have definitely been blessed with the hard-working “cover fairies” at Harlequin creating stunning looks for your books. I’m sure Outback Dreams will be just as gorgeous.

    Double-pwoar to the Monty pic you posted 😉

  2. Hey Rachael – thanks for this blog, I always love to see how things are created and some of the info which is included for the front page I never would have guessed. Great work 🙂

  3. Rachael…fingers crossed they continue to create covers you love, but don’t fear, if they don’t use Monty….I can find something for him to do! LOL

  4. Rachael, the new book sounds great and the picture of Monty is amazzzing… i hope for the viewers and your own sake you get a cover something like this!!! Excellent stuff

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