Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview with Cover Artist Rebecca K Sterling

Today I'm interviewing cover artist Rebecca K. Sterling about how she became a freelance book cover artist.  In a few days, she'll tell us her process for making covers, and give some samples so you can see. 

Kate: Good morning, Rebecca. Thanks for joining us.

Rebecca (yawning): My pleasure. Shame it had to be so early though. We artsy-fartsy types generally like to sleep late.

Kate: Yeah, me, too, but it couldn't be helped.  Anyway, so tell us, how did you get started in the cover art business?

Rebecca: It was something I'd wanted to do for quite a while, but really didn't know how to get started. I  was suffering from the common Catch 22 of no experience/no job offer, so I just pouted for a while and began making covers for some of your own works in progress... by the way... where are all those books?

Kate: We're not here to talk about me. What happened after that?  Did you build a portfolio and go banging on doors with it?  Emailing art directors?  Offering illicit services if they'd hire you?

Rebecca (looks quickly from side to side): Where did you hear that?  It's not true! 
Actually, I still didn't do anything with it because I was too intimidated by all the great cover artists out there.  I figured I didn't stand a chance, so I just kept making them for fun and practice.  Then one day I saw that Sable Grey from Cobblestone Press was hosting a cover art workshop for the publisher's anniversary, and from that workshop, they were going to choose one intern to work with them for a while.  Sort of like The Apprentice, but the boss had better hair.

Kate: So, what happened next?  Did a lot of people show up?

Rebecca: Oh, yeah.  At first.  But soon it was down to just a few die hards, and the competition got really - and I mean REALLY - stiff.  I mean, I was up against PJ Friel and Kendra Egert, for crying out loud!  Who did I think I was?  And at the end, I believe we were the last three.

Kate: What happened next?

Rebecca: Well, I knew there was no way in Hades' undershorts that I was going to win against them, but I was still happy just to have participated to the end.  I spent three long days working around the clock churning out theme after theme that Sable threw at us.  On the final day, I just collapsed, satisfied that I had at least gotten valuable experience.  And a day or two later, I received an email saying I'd been chosen.  I was completely flabbergasted.

Kate: I would imagine so.  I've seen PJ and Kendra, and frankly, my dear - they're much better than you are.

Rebecca: Hey! A little support here, if you don't mind!  This is MY interview after all.  But yeah, they're awesome, so in the end, Sable decided to take on all of us.  I was really glad.  And now, we've all passed from the internship phase to being full-fledged artists with Cobblestone Press, and I just love it.

Kate: That's great when someone gets to do the work they love - I'm happy for you! I'd also like to hear how you come up with the ideas, but we've run out of space here.  Perhaps another day?

Rebecca: Sure, if you bring bagels next time.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Stuff We're Made Of

Others have written about this subject far more eloquently than I will be able to, but I'm feeling a need to write about it anyway. (Actually, I'm feeling a need to avoid the Packing & Cleaning Beast that is currently hulking just behind my shoulder; its hot, fetid breath scorching the back of my neck.)

Anyway, a few years ago, I moved across country and gave away nearly everything I own except for a few very important items: computer stuff, art stuff, family stuff. It was so liberating that I swore I'd never accumulate so much stuff again.

Fast forward six years...

Where in the heck did all this stuff come from?! I'm not a rabid consumer - I'm not, I tell you!  Books, furniture, miscellanea - how did it accumulate?  Why did I allow it?  I was doing fine without a sofa - just a couple of folding chairs in the living room... wait!  That was my daughter who wanted a sofa so she wouldn't be embarrassed when her friends came over. And oh, yes! My boss was cleaning out her storage locker and had an old sofa to give away. 

Sofa explained. Check.

Come to think of it, most of the furniture I can attribute to my daughter's influence coinciding with people I know having junk they wanted to get rid of, and I took it on.  Sucker!

So, now I'm stuck trying to sort, pack, clean, and get rid of everything before the end of the month, and have no idea how I'll manage it.  I've made another vow that NEVER AGAIN will I fall prey to the "gotta have stuff" mindset.

However... I was recently also in the hospital. They took away my purse, my clothes, everything I had with me while I was getting ready to be moved from the ER to my room.  It nearly caused a major panic attack. Wait! You can't take my stuff!  I felt so stripped, so horrifyingly bare. 

As they made off with my things, I had a little roll of mints in my hand that they hadn't seen and I didn't mention.  I held onto those darned mints as if they were the Holy Grail and my key to salvation.  After all, who was I if all I had was what they had given me?  How could I function if I didn't have some of my own things with me?  Yet in just a few moments, I had another revelation. Nearly everything I've ever had was given to me at some point, and I was actually in the hospital because I hadn't been able to let go of things. 

I put the mints down before they wheeled me away. Now, I'm hoping that this time, I can leave everything else behind as well.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Romance Readers Paradise

To find out more, you can visit Cynthia Eden's blog about a fabulous give-away some authors are having.