Karen H. - Cover Cafe SE/Series Chair
It was the cover art that got me to pick up and read my first romance in the mid-1990s.
I was an English major (of sorts, it was the 1960s, after all) in college and I only read "real" books.
But I was visiting my folks in conjunction with a business trip back East and discovered "Defy Not The Heart"
by Johanna Lindsey with Fabio on the cover in the bedroom I was using. I was living in California at the time
so I knew who Fabio was and I was just amazed to see him on the cover. Since it was a historical, I thought
I'd give it a try since I love stories about times long ago (I'm so curious about how people lived). I loved
it and I loved the happy ending. In fact, it's a requirement. When I was in high school, I finished "Gone With the Wind" and literally threw the book across the
room because I was so disgusted with the unhappy ending.
Mom had several more Johanna Lindsey books and I devoured them all. I started going to
used book stores to find more books with Fabio on the cover and I discovered other good authors, and some not
so good. While searching for books with Fabio on the cover, I discovered John DeSalvo and Joe Anselmo and
Steve Sandalis, too. I read just about every subgenre but I only purchase and keep books with a good looking
man on the cover or stepback or back.
Some of my favorite covers are Johanna Lindsey's "Man of My Dreams", Sandra Hill's "Sweeter Savage Love",
and Dara Joy's "Mine to Take". You may notice a theme of very good looking, muscular men, with long hair but
no clothes. I consider the art on romance novels to be just that, art. I am still collecting books with
pictures of great looking guys and I have found many great authors. When I find one, I then
try to read all of that author's books, even the ones without good covers (though those are usually from the library).
I have 3 large bookcases filled double and several boxes that I brought from California to Florida but haven't had
the space to unpack yet. And, I keep buying more so I also have quite a few bags of books on the floor.
I am not embarrassed by the covers of the books I read. But one of 2008's nominated worst covers (the anthology
with the hooker boots) was a huge exception to that observation. Why someone thought that would be appealing to women
is beyond me (actually why those boots are appealing to men is also beyond me). I wouldn't have touched it except
one of the stories was part of a series I was reading but it was definitely a book from the library. No matter how
much I might like the story, I would never purchase a book with a demeaning cover like that.
Romance covers with good looking men introduced me to romance and help keep me happily reading it. I've been voting
in the cover contest since I discovered it on the previous site. I'm very happy to be part of the Cover Cafe committee
since I get to see lots more covers now!