Friday, December 7, 2007

Skylar Sinclair: Author and Cover Artist

What would a book be without a cover? Uh, something you couldn’t judge a book by. Good answer but not what we’re getting at. Romance novels are well known for their hot steamy covers, with men who make women swoon and women who make men want to sneak a peek when their wives are in the other room. TMD decided to go in search of the ultimate in secrets. Where do they find those gorgeous men to plaster on those covers that make us sweat? Well, Morgan O sweats, Jmo thinks about working out, but basically we both want to get into the mind of a cover artist.

*Ahem* I, Morgan O, take issue with the comment that I sweat. I do not sweat. Women glow. We dew. We grow moist, but we do NOT sweat... unless there’s a really good reason for it, like hot sex.

So...anyway...we went out and kidnapped one. Skylar Sinclair has the honor of both being a well known cover artist and a well established author in her own right. So, let’s get this interview going before the FBI wiretap kicks in. Morgan O will now remove the duct tape so we can get this show on the road.

TMD: Skylar thanks for joining us on The Morgan Diaries. Don’t worry, that duct tape ring isn’t permanent. Before you start screaming again, why don’t you tell us about this new book we’ve been hearing about? Shush, Morgan O. If we get her to promo, we can say this was all a publicity stunt.

Skylar: Thanks you two, now I don’t need to get my upper lip waxed…groaning…

Oh, yeah my newest release. I decided to try my hand writing a first person point of view story and, to be honest, I loved it! A Sexual Spark just released with Dark Eden Press and so far, it has been getting rave reviews. It is about a werewolf shifter named Loren who has more attitude that a box of T&T and a slinky body to boot. One night, at her place of work, a bar called Freaks, she encounters a drop-dead gorgeous man that will rock her world. But through the entire story, until the very end, she doesn’t know what he truly is…and then… Well, you are going to have to buy the book to see what this highly sexual stranger is J

TMD: Your books are always original and fresh—guaranteed page turners. Where do you draw you ideas from? Jmo put down the gun. Kidnapping is bad enough without stealing story ideas. Skylar, it’s only a water pistol. He wanted to use a pellet gun but shot himself in the toe. I thought this would be safer for all of us.

Skylar: You know you two numbnuts are more entertaining than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest, so don’t mind me (Skylar laughing and shaking her head). But really, I try and think of the most outrageous premises, ones that haven’t been done and go from there. Creatures that haven’t been dreamed up yet and men that women will want to get to know between the pages of my books, at least that is what I strive for.

Morgan O checks... um, no nuts here! You must be talking about Jmo.

TMD: When writing your own books, what comes first, the cover or the story?

Skylar: I usually come up with the premise than do the cover to give me a visual of what my character or characters look like.

TMD: You’re not only a bestselling author, but your cover art is truly out of this world. How do you find time to juggle both with what must be a truly hectic schedule?

Skylar: I have been doing graphic art for eight years. I studied and took classes in Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. Creating the cover is something that relaxes me after working all day, so it isn’t really a chore, but a joy to do. I write and do covers at night and finding time is just what you do when it is something you enjoy and love.

TMD: How did you become a cover artist?

Skylar: As I mentioned above, I have been doing graphic art for years, and last year a publisher approached me after seeing some of my graphic art and asked me to be their art director, and the rest just seemed to fall into place for me ever since.

TMD: It has to be next to impossible to condense a novel into one single image that showcases the story within. What elements of a story do you look at to get the heart of a book out there to draw a reader into buying the book? Come on, we all know we do judge a book by the cover even if we’re too ashamed to admit it.

Skylar: Oh, you are so very right. I once went into my local Borders and stood around watching both men and women—mostly women though—pick up books. I observed their reaction to each book they took off the shelves. After a while, I started asking some of the people why they chose the book(s) they did. The number one response was the cover, then the author, and finally the blurb.

When I create a cover for an author, I asked these questions to start the creative process:
1) Type of book – Romance or non-romance?
2) Mood of book – Dark and moody, light and more toward comic, sexy and steamy?
3) Characters on the cover and what do they look like?
4) Finally any important elements to translate something important from the book?

With these questions, I usually get what they are dreaming of for their covers the first time around. My number one rule, the author must love their covers before I consider the cover complete.

TMD: Would you mind walking us through the process of taking a cover from inspiration to completion?

Skylar: I would be happy to ;)

I start with the questions to the author as I stated above. From there, I do a mock-up cover to see if I am close to what they desire their cover to look like. It might be it right the first time or it could take several mock-ups going back and forth between the author and me before they are happy with their cover. After I get their approval on the mock-up, I create the final version. I then send them the final version for approval, and once that is done, the cover is off to the publisher.

TMD: When doing covers for fellow authors, how important is their input when coming up with the perfect cover for their books?

Skylar: The author’s input should be priority. It is their labor of love that wrote the book to begin with. And, their cover needs to reflect what is between the pages to draw the readers in, creating the craving to purchase the book.

TMD: You’ve done covers for a few different publishers—some truly fantastic ones. Have you ever had to adjust your style to mesh with the image the publishers are trying to project?

Skylar: You bet. Certain publishers don’t like the typical characters on the cover. They want more impressionist type covers, grunge-like, without faces. I find adapting to different publishers needs an easy thing for me.

TMD: As an artist who’s been around for a while, you must know what works and what doesn’t work in a cover, but what about what sells? In your opinion, do you think a fantastic cover can push a book up the bestseller chart?

Skylar: To be honest, a fantastic cover will get your book looked at more by the public if they can see it, but in the end, it is what is between the pages that will ultimately make you a bestseller with the readers.

TMD: Here at The Dairies, we pride ourselves on thought provoking questions that challenge the minds of our guests. So, Skylar if you could be a pair of thongs on any cover model, who would it be? And be thoughtful with your answer, we have $5 riding on it.

Skylar: Humm, crack of contentment you say… That is an easy one for me; sadly it is the late, Rob Ashton. The first time I saw him on a cover, I melted. With his dark good looks and luscious light brown eyes, he oozed sexuality. Even as he aged, he just became sexier, more virile. To me, he was and still is the cover model of my dreams.

TMD: We’re going to untie you now. Jmo, put down the water pistol before you shoot yourself again. Skylar, if we promise to let you put the links to your sites of interest so our readers can find out more about your wonderful books and examples of your outstanding cover art, will you agree not to call the police? Please say yes, because knowing Jmo he’s going to drown you with that stupid pistol, if you don’t.

Skylar: Skylar trying to rub the feeling back into her numb arms and hands, as she glares at the two before her… Fine, but remember hell hath no fury like…oh screw it, just watch your backs. Payback is a bitch or a blond named Skylar - Skylar grinning evilly as she rubs her hands together briskly.

I love to hear from the readers. You can visit my author site at: If you go to my bio page and at the bottom is a link to see what cover creations I’ve done of late. I update that page weekly. You can also see my new and upcoming book releases.

TMD: Skylar, thanks so much for being such a good sport and joining us today. More importantly for not pressing charges. Here’s some money for a taxi. We would drive you home, but Jmo put Louisiana Hot Sauce in the water gun and shot himself in the eye. Guess who’s got to take him to the emergency room. A Morgan’s work is never done.

Skylar: Now that my hands and arms have feeling again and my lips have stopped stinging, I am more agreeable. So thank you for this, shall we say if not entertaining, but unusual interview, Morgan O and Jmo.

Since I have put up with you both, I have a personal plug for two of my covers entered in EPIC’s 2008 Quasar and Ariana cover art contest. The voting (EPIC members only) starts on December 3, 2007 and goes through December 11, 2007. I have entered Extraordinary Love and Faeful: Sexual Magic in this contest under paranormal erotic romance. There are 11 entries and if you are an EPIC member and like my covers, please vote for me.

I wish everyone happy hot reading,

Skylar Sinclair.


Jamie Hill said...

OMG, this is the best interview I've read in ages. Informative and hilarious.

Thanks you three!


Savannah Chase said...

this is one great interview...