FATAL FLASHBACK Cover Reveal, Plus Publishing Q&A

I know, I know, I promised you more details about RWA National. And they are coming, but this bit of news is too good to hold back any longer.

My cover for FATAL FLASHBACK, coming December 2019 from Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, is done. Since you’ll probably just skip everything to scroll down anyway, let’s see the pretty cover right now! Then I’ll share a little bit about my first traditional publishing experience.

Gotta hand it to the Harlequin art department–that canyon is gorgeous! Here’s the blurb on the back cover:

An undercover investigation means deadly danger. Will an agent’s missing memories save her?

Attacked and left for dead, undercover FBI agent Ashley Thompson has forgotten almost everything about her current assignment. Now she’s working with park ranger Logan Everett to expose a crime ring—even as she secretly investigates the rangers to root out a mole. But since Logan doesn’t know Ashley’s real identity, is blowing her cover the only way to catch a killer?

FATAL FLASHBACK is already up for pre-order on Amazon. Love Inspired Suspense publishes six books every month, so be sure to check out some of the other December releases while you’re browsing! Now, on to some questions and answers about the process. I’ve already shared about getting “the call,” so we’ll dive into what happens afterward.

Did you have to make any changes to the manuscript after being accepted?

Ha ha, plenty. There’s a quote floating around the writerverse that when they say to write the story of your heart, they mean you’d better love it because you’ll have to reread it five hundred times. My wonderful editor, Dina Davis, briefed me during “the call” about some of the changes they needed me to make, mostly to fit their line requirements but also to improve the story. She followed up with a detailed revision letter. I spent three to four weeks making changes, and then returned the manuscript for her approval.

After developmental edits, the manuscript went to a copyeditor (CE), who is trained to catch any discrepancies within the story and to make the writing flow as smoothly as possible. Both the CE and my editor left plenty of comments, and I spent another month picking over the manuscript to make the needed changes. Then, with my part essentially done, the proofreader took over.

Did you have any say in the cover design?

Love Inspired puts out six contemporary and six suspense books every month, so they have every element of the process systematized like a well-oiled machine. My role in the cover design consisted of filling out an art fact sheet, in which I provided details on three possible scenes that would work for the cover. The form also included character descriptions and pictures of the setting I had in mind. Since the story is set in Big Bend National Park, I had plenty of beautiful locations to choose from.

From there, my editor and the art department went back and forth on the final image choices. With multiple suspense books releasing the same month, they have to consider the entire collection when designing each individual book. My biggest hope was that they’d put Santa Elena Canyon on the cover, and my wonderful editor made it happen for me.

What about the title? Who makes the final decision?

You might recall that my original title was FLASHBACK. Once the manuscript was accepted, my editor and I brainstormed a list of fifteen or so possible titles that worked within Love Inspired Suspense’s line parameters. Her team chose FATAL FLASHBACK, and since it was my first choice too, I was delighted.

What’s next? What do you do while you wait?

Four more long months stand between now and the release date. It feels like a long time, but also not long enough. I’ve got plenty to do for marketing–creating postcards, bookmarks, and other swag (including some goodies for you!); polishing up my alter ego’s website (www.kellievanhorn.com); setting up book signings; looking for reviewers–and of course, I’m working on the next book for LIS. My YA fantasy projects are all in various stages of the process too! Never a dull moment around here. 🙂

What questions do you have that I missed? Feel free to post a comment and ask! And if you’re excited to read FATAL FLASHBACK, please add it to your Goodreads TBR list, pre-order it online, or keep an eye out in December when it hits store shelves.

Header image credit: Pexels.com, CC0 license.

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