I had the privilege of working with E.T. (Liz) Crowe on branding her new series Love Garage – from the initial concept design to the cover design, book trailer and promotional graphics. While writing can be a lonely business, putting a book out into the world – from a book cover to promotion – can take many voices.
I have been lucky to work with extremely talented individuals in the various aspects of bringing The Love brothers to life, so I asked Liz if she’d be interested in doing a “talent interview” of the incredible people who helped her achieve her vision.
Below is the result:)
I’ll start with my own interview – terribly narcissistic I know, but necessary to maintain the timeline because Liz and I hashed out the ideas first.
Questions for Liz:
1.Tell us a bit about the Love Brother’s series?
In all my 20-book backlist, I have never written anything set in my home state of Kentucky, as much as I call it “God’s Country” and swear that it will always be “home” to me. As I was pondering what to do after finishing up my 9- book Stewart Realty series, I had this idea about a family of brothers, each with his own distinct personality but all with the strong pull of family bond to anchor him as he tries to make his way in the world.
Then I made things a tad more complex by making them a feisty Irish/Italian heritage mix, then I tossed a baby sister at them.
Viola! Love Garage, book 1 is the name of the oldest brother’s successful mechanic business in “Lucasville” a fictional horse town, formerly 2 large horse farms, near Lexington. The family’s business is brewing beer, (Love Brewing) and each brother does have his own distinct story. The novels, Love Garage, Coach Love, Love Brewing and (coming later in 2015) Family Love all intertwine to weave a tale about family dynamics, and the strength of bonds you sometimes think you don’t want or need.
I am loving this family so much I’ve decided to write a FREE novella that will release Valentine’s Day.
“Safe Love” will be the real story of how Antony and Margot ended up together. Their story is a supporting one for Aiden’s in “Love Garage.” Margot is the newly divorced PhD social worker and hospital chaplain who did her doctoral dissertation on The Myth of the American Alpha Male: How Being Submissive Is Psychologically Healthy. Yeah…she’s an “expert” in something Antony could use a lesson in, let’s just say….
(Oh, Fiona, we’ll need a cover for this one…Taria, can I get one more of the photos from ya?)
It’ll be a freebie! More on this soon!
2. When you contacted me to do the cover, did you have an idea in your mind about what you wanted the series covers and marketing materials to look like?
I did. I like very simple images, evocative ones that make you think about what might be going on inside the cover. While the books have a “romance element” to them I did sort of go with a romance-looking cover at least for the first one—frankly to catch eyeballs in this crowded book market. But if my beta readers and early ARC readers are any indication they think that “family saga” is a great way to describe this series.
3. Do I remember you saying the male model Scott Nova is your muse?
Ha! Well, Scott has been known to PLAY my muse, Hans, the tall, sexy German in lederhosen holding a beer (photo proof attached). Scott is a great guy and a good sport (as one would be doing what he does) and attended the release party for my book GOOD FAITH (book 9 of the Stewart Realty series) in Ann Arbor and agreed to even show up AS Hans. It was a blast.
4. What did you describe to Taria from The Reed Files about your vision for the images?
Each brother has his “thing.” For oldest Antony, it’s cars, for Kieran, basketball. Third oldest and proverbial black sheep Dominic is a German-trained master beer brewer and Aiden is a bookworm/author. So I figured on 4 strong images for each book. One thing to realize though, each cover is not meant to convey what each book is “about.” All the stories intertwine but I wanted a uniform, familiar, look to them with clean lines, almost gray-scale which Taria translated perfect and you, my dear Fiona, later made even more perfect.
The Love Brothers: Family Saga with humor, heat and heart—not to mention beer, bourbon and basketball!
Check out Fiona’s amazing trailer (with video footage from the photo shoot):
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Here are the goodreads pages each book (pre-publication):
Love Garage: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22294474-love-garage?from_search=true
Coach Love: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22877945-coach-love?from_search=true
Love Brewing: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23344944-love-brewing?from_search=true
Interview with Scott Nova (the Muse)
1. How did you and Liz meet?
Liz and I met during an event called RomFest that was held in the Gatlinhurg, TN area and was a small, very personable get together for authors and readers. Liz and my wife hit it off quickly, and I was a huge fan of her “go after it” attitude. We quickly formed a friendship and I helped her promote a book release in her home town. Had an awesome time and learned a lot about the industry.
2. How does it feel to be an author’s muse?
I can’t tell ya in words to be honest. All I can do is show it in how much I put into the photos and videos that are used for her covers and promo trailer. But really…I’m honored. Because of how much I do in the romance industry, I know how each and every author relies so much on their muse. And for Liz to say that I am that persona, is, well…an honor.
3. How did Liz describe to you what she was looking for in the Love Brother’s Shoot?
Liz knows I’ve got a good theater background, and also understand her grit and that she wants grit in her shots for covers. So we went back and forth a bit in email and we nailed it. Along with Taria and I putting our heads together on it, we got some great shots.
4. When you pose for images and video shoots, do you think about the character you’re supposed to represent? Did you become each of the Love Brother’s?
Definitely!!!! That’s the best way to do it. I mean, when I’m shooting with a female I imagine that we are getting sexy together. I never lose focus that its a shoot and nothing more. But I love it when I get to act solo for a shot and it’s a shot for something gritty.
5. Can you describe the “shoots” for each brother?
I liked the garage brother….I love the automotive world so that worked for me. Basketball with a tank top was a bit daunting….only cause I don’t play and so poses were awkward at first. The other brothers came off pretty quickly….that were fairly simple.
6. How can folks get a hold of you to inquire about images?
I’m most easily contacted through Facebook and I can be found with Scottnovacm and Twitter is scottnovacm and the always lovely and super talented Fiona will be designing my new site soon and it will be scottnova.com. Can also email me at email@example.com.
***Interview with Taria Reed
1.Have you ever had such strange bunch of props requested?
I can neither confirm or deny this allegation…lol. I WILL say that I got the oddest looks when I went asking around if someone had an old tire they weren’t using. Also the keg was pretty interesting. “Hi do you sell keg barrels? What size? Um whatever can fit comfortably under a guy’s arm…no I don’t need it filled with beer.” But usually once I explain that I need things for a photo shoot the odd looks turn into inquisitive questions.
2. How did Liz describe to you what she was looking for in the Love Brother’s Shoot?
Liz perfected the tell me what she wants without telling me what she wants method….lol. She told me what each brother’s niche was and from there I discussed things with her artist (the uber talented Fiona Jayde) and came up with a game plan. Some of the props were easy but others left us scratching our heads asking “what are we suppose to do with this?” There are only so many poses one can do with a used tire…lol.
3. What type of set up did you need to do to accommodate Liz’s request? (purchase of props, etc)
Well luckily Liz’s characters were everyday guys so I didn’t have to go hunting down elf wear or construct a space suit or anything. Each brother was fairly easy. A basketball for the coach, a tire for the mechanic, and a keg for the brewer. OK so the keg was really a cedar flower planter but we made due with what we had. Each character dressed the part and it all came together nicely.
4. This was the first time you shot video clips since Liz wanted to do a video trailer. How was that different from your regular shoot?
I’ve always been interested in photography so I took to it like a fish to water. Video is a whole other animal with similar concepts. It took me a few tries to realize I had to hold the camera horizontal (I shoot vertical for book covers) so the image will be situated correctly, the lighting is different, the camera picks up all sounds. EVERY SINGLE SNEEZE, SNIFF, THUMP, AND BUMP!! My first few attempts could have given you motion sickness because I couldn’t keep the camera still enough as I moved. Its really a hard job but I’m happy I can offer this little bit of “extra” to my custom clients. Liz was such a great sport in being my Guinea pig while I learn.
(Note from Fiona: I LOOOVED being able to do a video trailer with the same model and costume/prop/light as the book covers – it really made the whole thing cohesive!)
5. Any blooper reels you want to share?
I won’t embarrass anyone with the video bloopers, but the photo bloopers fair game. I already warned Scott that the photo bloopers are totally being posted so glad I can finally follow through on that threat…lol. ENJOY!!
6. Please provide info about your custom and by request shoots, your website and other info where people can get a hold of you.
The Reed Files (www.TheReedFiles.com) offers custom shoots as well as special request images. Custom shoots are just that, totally custom. You can help select the models, wardrobe, props, etc. Special requests are new this fall. With a special request you can ask for a specific image from the shoot I have coming up with the models I already have booked. Both are great options to get what you want to help create an amazing book cover. Check out my custom image website for more information. (www.customcoverstock.com)
Liz’s Interview with Daniel Dorse – the voice behind the trailer and the audio books.
1.How long have you been doing audio work? Do you do other acting? How did you get into it?
I started acting over 50 years ago, & over 35 years ago started doing VoiceOver work–literally thousands of radio & TV commercials, trailers, E-learning, promos, travelogues, documentaries, & audio animatronics–& also did stand-up comedy for a number of years. I began adding audiobooks to the mix just about 3 years ago, & have since produced over 70 in nearly every genre of fiction–contemporary romance, mystery-thrillers, Westerns, sci-fi, medieval romance, Regency romance, erotica, children’s books, ghost stories, angels, historical fiction, fantasy, & more.
While I don’t have a favorite genre (I like variety), I like bringing out nuances of character & dialogue found in contemporary fiction, & also like trotting out my British accents.
I tend to listen to audiobooks only when traveling (otherwise it’s kind of a ‘busman’s holiday’), but admire the work of some of my contemporaries, like Scott Brick, Jeffery Kafer, & Paul Heitsch. It’s difficult for me to get involved in the story when others are reading, because I’m constantly thinking about how I would have read a line differently.
4. So…..how do you like the Love family’s story so far? What has been the biggest challenge bringing them to life?
January 5, 2015 (ebook)
March 14, 2015 (Print)
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22294474-love-garage
Antony Love is the quintessential responsible oldest brother of a boisterous, Italian/Irish family, placed in charge at a young age by his parents who are busy running the family business. He manages his siblings with a fair but iron hand, until his life is shattered by personal tragedy leaving him the shell of the man he once was.
When outspoken matriarch Lindsay Halloran Love becomes ill, the youngest brother Aiden shows up at Antony’s garage, having dropped out of school (again), needing work and a place to crash. Antony provides both, with three caveats: “Don’t smoke in my truck, don’t be late for work, and don’t mess with my girlfriend.”
But Aiden Love, budding novelist, gets one glimpse of Rosalee Norris, young widow of Antony’s lifelong best friend and all bets are off.
Set in horse country near Lexington, Kentucky, The Love Brothers Series is a saga of family devotion that runs as wide and deep as the Ohio River–except on Sundays when brothers Antony, Kieran, Dominic and Aiden work out their frustrations on the basketball court, Love brother style.
The Love Brothers: A family saga with humor, heat and heart—not to mention beer, bourbon and basketball.
January 5, 2015 (ebook)
March 14, 2015 (Print)
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22877945-coach-love?from_search=true
The smoldering intensity of first love ~ the forbidden fantasy of temptation ~ the cold hard facts of real life.
When one man’s hopes are dashed apart in a split second after years spent chasing a dream, he returns home to Kentucky furious at the world and everyone around him.
Kieran Francesco is the middle son of the volatile, tight-knit Halloran-Love family. His role as peacemaker and the one true athlete is well established. He now faces life devoid of the sport he adores after a horrific, career-ending accident, which places him in a new and entirely uncomfortable position—that of the brother with no future.
Over the course of a few tumultuous months Kieran is plunged back into life at the center of the Love family, where he must cope with one self-destructive brother, one ill-timed reconnection to an old flame and a series of bad choices that land him in more trouble than he’d ever known existed.
COACH LOVE, book 2 of The Love Brothers, a family saga of sibling loyalty that runs as deep and wide as the Ohio River—at least until Sunday, when Antony, Kieran, Dominic and Aiden work out their frustrations at the weekly Love brother pick-up basketball game.
March 1, 2015 (ebook)
March 14, 2015 (Print)
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23344944-love-brewing?from_search=true
Every family has one—the black sheep, the problem child, the prodigal. But Dominic Sean Love could teach all of those guys a lesson or two. Stuck in the middle of a boisterous group of siblings, he’s given “acting out” a new meaning from the day he drew his first breath.
While he’s the one son who follows his strict father’s footsteps into the Love family business, he’s also the one who butts heads with him the hardest. Their epic clashes are the stuff of family legend. But they have made peace and work side by side to take Love Brewing to the next level of success.
Until Dominic does the one thing his father can never forgive.
Diana Brantley has been Dominic’s friend, girlfriend and ex-girlfriend so many times she’s lost count. When he shows up at the farm she’s slowly transforming into a wildly popular farm-to-table resource for restaurants all over the U.S. her first impulse is to shoot first and ask questions later. But she doesn’t. And their lives entwine once more, for good, bad and ugly.
As part of this cover/trailer/blurb/excerpt reveal there is a massive, 3-prize pack, multi-author giveaway. Here is the Rafflecopter embed link:
<a id=”rc-5071b5863″ href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5071b5863/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>