Many thanks to Richard for the brilliant photographs. It was the most amazing feeling to stand looking at some of the buildings and places associated with my story – I’d read endless descriptions and battlefield guides but actually going there gave the whole thing a completely different feeling.
They also gave me some fantastic new book covers. I’ve been unsure about the original covers for these books from the start. Partly this was because despite all Sheri’s amazing efforts, I just couldn’t find the right couple to portray Paul and Anne as I saw them. I don’t have the money to pay a commercial artist to draw them and the couple on the book just don’t work for me. They were a brilliant compromise to get me started and I love all Sheri’s other covers for me, but I was unsettled about these.
Secondly, I am aware that the covers gave a very strong impression of a romantic novel, with the couple being the main feature. I’m all in favour of romantic novels, but these books are something more and I wanted to convey that. Richard, who is as good with technology as he is with photography, offered to try to create something different, and the results are actually rather stunning, with a scene from each book layered with an old map of the Peninsula. I love them to bits and I genuinely think they’re helping to sell the books to people who would probably not have thought to try them before. They’re only available on the kindle version at present, but we are working on the paperback covers. None of this detracts from the great work done by Sheri McGathy on all my covers and I will continue to use her and heartily recommend her, especially for romance and fantasy novels. Her prices are reasonable, she’s quick and reliable and very patient with fiddling around to get the result you want.
Working on the new covers with the man I married was definitely a challenge at times. I can’t speak highly enough of his patience and tolerance of my uncertainty about “home made covers”. In the end he came up with something which I think is better than some commercially produced covers that I’ve seen. There is a theme, and I’m looking forward to going back to the Peninsula next year, and possibly to Waterloo as well to take more photographs for future covers. I’m also going to get him to design one for my Manx themed novel since we’d be spoiled for choice for beautiful photographs here.
The areas of Spain and Portugal we visited were not major tourist areas, and having a car is essential, although there are a number of very good tour companies which do Peninsular War trips for those who don’t want to drive. I loved both countries, but on this trip I think Portugal won for me. In A Redoubtable Citadel, Paul is described as having fallen in love with Portugal: the language, the culture and the people. I think the same thing happened to me.
There are several blog posts from the trip but I’m currently putting together a section of the website specifically for travel and reviews of historic sites which I’ll share when it’s complete.
In the meantime, enjoy the photos and if you want to see more, there are galleries associated with all my books here.
This is the link to Richard’s flickr page which has a variety of photographs on it and is well worth a visit.
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