Over the course of several weeks Sonya Unrein and I exchanged emails about cover design, not only for Beautiful Snare but for all the books in the Seven Oaks Publishing Spirited Women Series. While I had in mind an exquisite portrait of what I thought each woman looked like, Sonya had in mind a set pattern for the series in which only the cover’s color, background texture and font would change. While my notion of a separate image for each woman was intriguing, it could involve a great deal of expense in either creating the image, or searching online to find the artist who had drawn or painted the art work I had scavenged from note cards. And, even if the original artist could be found, there was no guarantee that I would receive permission to use the image as a book cover. If permission were granted that might also entail paying an expensive fee. I somewhat reluctantly conceded that Sonya’s intuitive sense of what would be best was right. Once my heart let go of my dream idea, my brain began to work overtime on something Sonya and I had discussed—the possibility of using a silhouette of a woman or a woman’s face, an image that would speak to all women in all times and places. I woke up one morning knowing that I had the perfect silhouette portrait of myself taken at a younger age. I remembered the day the photograph had been taken when I was nineteen years old in my dorm room at George Williams College in Downer’s Grove Illinois. The photographer, Gary Rowe, had been intrigued with my profile against the window, which revealed the fading light of a late afternoon. Did I still have the photograph? In the past ten years I had jettisoned most everything from my earlier life. If I still had the image it would be stored in one of the boxes lining my bedroom wall. I spent a morning searching through stacks of published work, award certificates and plaques, folders of legal documents and contracts. Finally I found the 5×6 black and white shot taped to the page of an old album that also held my college ID cards and old driver’s licenses. For once I was elated that I had hung onto something. Perhaps the Universe had sensed that I might someday need the silhouette of my naïve and idealistic self. I sent the photograph to Sonya for consideration. Would it work? It would.
Within a week she sent me the first rendering of a cover for Beautiful Snare and I was enthralled. Her idea for the book cover(s) was perfect. When something clicks between the design person and the author, magic happens. There is nothing more satisfying than being on the same page at the same time, knowing and believing that what has been created is just right. All that remained was for me to contact Gary Rowe via email and secure his permission to use the photograph. Gary’s reply came the following day: permission granted as long as I would send him a copy of the book when it came out. The Universe had also intervened in a magic way—I had lost touch with Gary during my 20’s when I moved from Illinois to Montana. Thirty some years later we found each other via the Internet and had resumed our friendship. Another photo he had taken of me had been included in my memoir When I Came West (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010). One last thing needed Sonya’s and my attention: the correct color. I searched on line to find an image of heather in bloom in northern England/southern Scotland. That shade of purple, a cross between pink and lavender, would be the kiss of completion for the cover of Beautiful Snare.