Cover Stories: Swear by Nina Malkin

Back in 2009, Nina Malkin talked to me about the gorgeous cover for Swoon, and now the sequel is here with another enticing cover image. Here's Nina:

"Writing is intensely present for me. With SWEAR I was so in the moment of the action and emotion as it unfurled, no way was I thinking about the cover. I was lucky if I thought about lunch. Besides, it’s such a privilege to be able to publish, I trust the pros at Simon & Schuster to do what they think is best for a book, and that includes the cover. After all, once you deliver a novel it’s no longer this magical collaboration between your conscious and your subconscious—it’s a product.

"Of course, I didn’t always have such a laissez-faire attitude. My first novel, 6X: The Uncensored Confessions, was about a band. Unbeknownst to me the publisher did an expensive photo shoot—too bad the girl on the cover looked more like a cheap hooker than rock chick (right). I threw some major hissy but got nowhere. And if I thought that cover sucked, the next one was worse. That’s when I realized the novels weren’t 'mine' anymore; I had to let them go.

"Once I did, my luck changed. The first thing I thought when they showed me the cover for SWOON was: That’s hot! And my streak is continuing with SWEAR. I like covers that are evocative as opposed to literal—imagery that makes you feel something: excitement, passion, dread. That said, the visual elements of roses and iron do happen to be central to the story of SWEAR.

"My only concern? That the image was maybe too pretty to convey the evil lurking in the pages beyond, and I asked if there was a way to convey that malevolence. Still, the only difference between the final and the original is they photo-shopped the hair to mess it up a bit. I didn’t press the point. Come on, it’s a SWOON novel. Sinclair Youngblood Powers is the leading man. Anyone familiar with the first book will know: The Teacups Ride at Disneyland it ain’t gonna be.

"Some people have wondered why a blonde, when Dice, the heroine of SWOON (cover at left) and SWEAR, is dark haired. A few even speculated that it’s Dice’s golden girl cousin Pen on the cover. Uh…no. You’ll realize that right away. It would’ve been a simple matter to photo shop the subject into a brunette, but Swoon, CT, is the land of blondes—and that’s the only thing that hasn’t changed since Sin cut his seductive swath through the town.

"As to the pose, it makes you wonder: Is she overcome with desire? Heartbroken and sobbing her eyes out? Gathering her strength to rise? Since Sin can wreak some serious havoc with a woman. All I know is, the more I look at the cover, the more I want to look at it. If I didn’t already know what goes down inside, I’d be very tempted to find out."

Thanks, Nina! I'm really into falling petals. I know they can get cheesy, but whatever. They're soft and pretty and light and I'm all about them. Also, the dark background with flashes of red? Gets me every time. (And that 6X cover? Let's just say I'm glad Nina's latest books have a different look.)

What do you guys think?