Friday, August 30, 2013

An Interview With Cover Artist Caroline Andrus

Thanks to this very lovely lady, the Tallenmere series got some shiny new covers this year. Let's grill Caroline Andrus about all things bookish!

Thanks for visiting my blog, Caroline! Tell the good people about yourself, like where you're from and what you do when you're not designing covers.

Thanks for having me, Mysti! I was born and raised in good ol' Minnesnowta erm... I mean, Minnesota! In addition to the book covers I design, I also maintain the websites and Facebook pages for Melange Books (, Fire and Ice Young Adult Books ( and the website for Paranormal Romance author S. C. Dane ( I also format books for Kindle and have recently become in charge of acquisitions for the Young Adult/New Adult books over at Fire and Ice.

When I'm not working with books, I can be found at home with my husband and our two daughters. I also spend my weekends handing out samples at the local Target stores. In between all the working and family time, I love reading, catching up on my favorite TV shows and my new love, gardening!

I also have two blogs - the first began as an attempt to "domesticate" myself and has turned into somewhat of a cooking blog, with some cleaning and gardening thrown in for good measure. The second for book reviews. They can be found here: Tales of an (Almost) Domestic Goddess ( Books? Yes Please! (

Can you walk us through the process of a typical book cover design project?

Buy it HERE!
Each author is asked to fill out a questionnaire about their book. Unfortunately, I'm not a quick enough reader to be able to read every book that I design for. I wish!

Once the questionnaire is in my hands I look it over, figure out what the book is about and ideally, an idea pops right into my head. Oftentimes an author will have a very clear vision of what they want and it's my job to decide whether that idea can work or not.

Once I have an idea in my head, the hunt begins. I scour the stockart websites looking for images that fit what's in my head. When I find images that I think could possibly work, I save the watermarked comp images in a folder for that particular cover design project and then bring them all into Photoshop.

This is where the real fun begins, I get to lay out the images, play around with layers and effects. Play around with the fonts. It's amazing how important a font is for a book. You can't use the same font on a Chic Lit that you would use on a Horror novel!

When the comp (or first draft) is completed, I send it to the author and cross my fingers that they like it. Sometimes we get it right on the first try, other times the idea is scrapped and we start over from scratch, but more often than not, we play around with the first cover comp and tweak it. Maybe change the font type or color, play around with the placement, change out an image. I don't know about other artists, but I love when an author comes back and says, "I like it.... but this particular element doesn't fit with the book" - that's something that I need to hear to since I haven't had the chance to read the book.
Buy it HERE!
Once the author and I have agreed on a design I go ahead and purchase the stock art images and put the official cover together, mimicking the comp cover. I send it to the author to look over, find out if they want any final changes, and then we're done!
Some covers take a couple of hours, others can take weeks. Every project is different and for me, that is what makes my job so fun!
At any given time, I have at least two covers in production. At the time of this interview I have just recently completed about 3 covers and have another 5 in the works.

Approximately how many covers would you say you've designed?

Oh boy! I have to go look because I don't even have a guess! 
It looks like I've designed around 100 different covers since 2011. 

What covers have been some of your favorite to design?

This is a hard one! This is like asking me which of my children I like best!
OK, if I had to pick a few of my favorites, I guess I would have to go with "A Ranger's Tale" by you of course, we put a lot of time and effort into that one and I think the end result is absolutely stunning. It doesn't hurt that my favorite male model is featured on the cover (Galadin.)
Buy it HERE!
I also had so much fun with "Phoenix" by Melissa Starr. There were so many layers of different elements just piled onto that Photoshop file that sometimes it seemed like Photoshop might crash!
"Wind and Shadow" by Tori Ridgewood is another of my favorites, it looks simple, but we put a lot of time into it, perfecting it.
"Margot" by Laura Hogg is another favorite. It was one of the very fist covers I did and I just love how it turned out. 

I could keep going, but then we'd be here all day! So, I'll stop there. But there are so many more that I just love and am so proud of. 

What genres of books do you typically read?

I'm a sucker for YA. Specifically paranormal romance. The Harry Potter series has a permanent home on my bookshelf (as do the movies in my DVD collection!) along with The Vampire Academy series and Bloondlines series, both by Richelle Mead, The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, The Mediator series and 1-800-Missing series both by Meg Cabot. I also really enjoy the indie released series new adult romance Significance by Shelly Crane. And yes, I am a Twilight fan. 

Grab the nearest book. Give us the title, author, and first line:

"Shadowland" book 1 of The Mediator series by Meg Cabot.
First line: "They told me there'd be palm trees." 
(And what does it tell you that I knew that was the first line without even opening the book???)

Time for a random question, taken from one of my kids' favorite books, called "Would You Rather-Radically Repulsive":
Would you a supervillian called "The Mime" who can mime objects into reality or a supervillian called "The Doorman" (weapons involve keys and doorknobs, and fighting style involves a lot of opening and closing doors).
I would TOTALLY be The Mime! How fun would that be? Wait.... do I automatically die if I speak or something? Hmm... that might not be such a good supervillian for me to be, considering I like to talk... like... a lot!

 Thanks so much for stopping in, Caroline. I hope you can visit again!

Thanks for having me! I'd love to stop by again in the future!

Visit Caroline Andrus Designs -
And "like" my Facebook page -


  1. Interesting subject and very enlightening. I've often wondered about that. Thanks for a great idea Mysti and for educating us Caroline.

  2. This is fantastic! Thanks for the insight.

  3. I have a new respect for the cover artist and all the work they do. I spent hours looking for one couple as a suggestions for my cover. I saw stock photos in my dreams, and it boggled my mind at the thoughts of having to do that on a daily basis.

    Most readers have no idea what goes into that finished book and cover. You did an excellent job for Mysti and Tori.

    Great interview, gals.

  4. I love learning something new. (This interview was a + one since I didn't know Caroline had another blog!) What a Wonder Woman. Thanks to Mysti for another great host/post!

  5. Thanks for a fun, great, and informative interview. Melissa got it right that you are indeed a Wonder Woman. You do a great job with the cover art and a part of me envies you. I love being creative - putting the puzzle pieces together.

  6. Mysti, this was a great idea for a post. It's nice to know what goes on behind the scene and what the cover artist is expecting of the author.

    Caroline, thanks for sharing with us and doing such a wonderful job with my book covers!


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