Can you have a crush on an inanimate object? Because I’m completely and totally in love with the cover for my debut novel Hollywood Homicide (Midnight Ink, August 2017), and I figured I’d share a bit of my journey of finding true love.
It all started with Pinterest. I’m part of ’17 Scribes, a Facebook group of over 80 first-time authors with Adult and New Adult books coming out next year. One of my fellow Scribes suggested that you should start a Pinterest page with covers you like to show your publisher. So I immediately got to pinning. (You can find my Pinterest page here.)
My initial thought was a cover that featured the title in really big letters. If I had to have an image, it should be a smaller one. And it most definitely had to have the color aqua in it. (I’m obsessed with aqua/teal for some reason. And that reason is that it’s the best color ever!)
I sent my amazing editor my Pinterest board, and a few weeks later she sent me a first draft—a more traditional cozy mystery cover focusing on the book’s Hollywood setting. It featured a pair of very sexy legs coming out of a very sexy car at a very sexy movie premiere.
Even though there was no aqua (!!!), I thought it was great.
I assumed we were good to go but then I heard from my editor. As much as they loved the initial design, they wanted to go a different direction. They decided to focus on my main character—a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress named Dayna—over the setting.
I’ve wanted to write a book since I was five years old, so I’ve spent years dreaming of seeing my name on a book cover. However, I’d never seriously considered having Dayna’s face on it, much less having her be the centerpiece. It’s not something you normally see with amateur detective novels.
But I’m a black woman who grew up in the 80s. And I remember reading magazines and books, and wondering where the people were who looked like me. So grown-up Kellye started to get really excited about having an amateur detective novel with a black girl on the cover standing loud and proud.
I’ll never forget getting an email from my editor titled: Hollywood Homicide Cover.
The butterflies descended into my stomach like Millennials heading to Coachella! I’d been waiting so long for this moment yet, when it came, I was hesitant to actually open the email. What if I hated it? Or, perhaps even worse, what if I just thought it was okay? What would I do then?
But I forced myself to put my big girl panties on and open the email. I saw my cover and—no lie—almost burst in tears. The good kind.
This cover is already my cellphone wallpaper. I have shown everyone from my aunt Donna in California to the entire security staff at my apartment building. I’ve shown my two-year-old nephew the cover so much that he can recognize “Kell Kell’s book” from distances up to 25 feet.
This cover has even gotten me asked out on a date because—yes—I was starting convos with random people at bars just so I could show them my book cover. (Me: Hi Stranger! I’m Kellye. Want to see my book cover? No? Too late! Here it is. Bam!)
So a big thank you to Terri Bischoff and the entire Midnight Ink team, as well as Dayna’s amazing illustrator Richard Meril for making a five-year-old’s dreams come true. My two-year-old niece (yep, they’re twins!) has already declared that the illustration is of her.
As a writer, I know that we need to “show don’t tell,” so enough prattling. Here it is:
And if you’d like to pre-order Hollywood Homicide, you can do so here.
About Hollywood Homicide
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.
But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.
And there are no second takes in real life.
About Kellye Garrett
Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, will be released by Midnight Ink on August 8, 2017. It’s the first book in the Detective by Day series.
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