Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spilling Cover Secrets about SON OF A MERMAID by Katie O'Sullivan

If you’re reading this blog, you already know authors don’t always have control or the final word on their cover art. You write down your ideas and key words, maybe paste a few examples of covers that you like… each publisher has their own methods and forms, but in the end you get what you get. And hope you like what the artist comes up with.

In all honesty, I hated the cover of my second book. Hated. What an awful feeling, to think your own baby is…unattractive.

So when anticipating the artwork for SON OF A MERMAID, I felt anxious. I filled out the form in as much detail as I could manage and crossed my fingers on a daily basis. And waited. And waited.
With my first two books (with other small presses) I had cover art in hand two months before my scheduled release, with plenty of time to order postcards and bookmarks. My release date for SON OF A MERMAID was looming ever closer with no word.
I finally got the email with a proof from my publisher at Crescent Moon Press – and LOVED it. Cover Artist Jeannie Ruesch did a wonderful, imaginative and beautiful job bringing my fantasy world to life.

Okay, so I love the cover. It even won a JABBIC award earlier this year, placing third in the Readers Choice contest. What’s the big secret?

Well, it’s not really a big secret. But it’s a funny story.

When the book was first released, I mentioned in a few interviews that the main character was based on my sons. I have two boys, and my main character Shea MacNamara has elements of both boys mixed into his personality.

Somehow, the rumor started at their high school that the boy on the cover was actually my older son, Sean. That he was the cover model. We didn’t hear these stories, but apparently the whispers spread. Sean…Shea… the names sound similar and it became accepted that he was the book’s hero.
The school swim coach came to one of my book signings and bought copies as gifts for a few of her star swimmers, one of whom had just made the All American team. The girl brought the book to school for my son to sign the cover, next to the photo of his muscles.

He didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or flattered. He came home with this story and we had a good laugh, and I assured him he was much cuter in person. (…and that yes, his muscles were bigger. Sheesh. Boys.)

He’s a senior this year, and headed off to the U.S. Air Force Academy in a few short months, on his journey to become a real life hero.

But he’s still not the boy on my book cover.


  1. That's a great story about the cover, and cool that someone wanted your son to sign it. It is a great cover. =)

  2. Thanks, ladies. Now wait until you see the cover for book 2! Just got a proof today and am SOO excited ;-)