My then publisher saw the painting after browsing my new site and said, "This is what we want for the cover of The Spirit of Sweetgrass." Just like that. I was going to be a book cover illustrator.
Now, I had illustrated for magazines and such before, but to have your painting on your very own novel? It was more than I could handle. I've had more comments on that cover...people say they pick it up because of the the colors, the feel, the woman in the water. It thrills me to think my spirit-filled painting caused a reader to pick up my spirit-filled book.
The third book was even harder to illustrate. I tried a fish (there is a prominent one in the book.) Too fishy, too masculine. I tried a woman, a Vietnamese woman from the back. Almost there, they said, but no cigar. The winning image for A Hundred Years of Happiness used the fish painting on top of the woman painting with a photograph of water lilies I'd taken. This is definitely my most complex cover, arguably for my most complex book. I think it works.
So...my fifth book is being edited right now. We're working on a cover. My publisher wanted something a little different for this book. The characters are older (and adorable, lovable...can you tell I'm in love?) It's also inspired in part by a photo of my grandmother that made it's way up to the World's Fair in 1939. I haven't seen the final yet, but I've seen the comps and let me tell you how thrilled I am to have that photo of my beautiful grandmother on the cover along with illustrations of plants and flowers I painted. The feel of the book is different, but there's a whole lot of meaning behind it all. Looking forward to sharing it with you as we get closer to pub date.
I can't tell you how honored I am that I've been able to illustrate the covers of my novels and touch my readers, not only in the literary sense, but visually too. It makes it even more intimate for me. It's a long road and hard work, on top of the writing. Some day (egad!) it may not be feasible for me to paint my covers but for now, I am so grateful to the publisher who lets me paint and to the readers who respond to my brush.
God bless you all.
PS. Which cover do you like best and why?
Learn more about Nicole's books and artwork at http://www.nicoleseitz.com/. Click on SHOP on the homepage to purchase her notecards and prints. Click on the Artwork link on the bottom of the page to view her art portfolios.