Telling a book by its cover: Guest Blogger Kourtney Heintz

Last time Guest Blogger author of The Six Train to Wisconsin Kourtney Heintz graced EllaDee with a guest appearance, it was about Believing… in what you do, and putting in the work.

As K.C. Tansley, Kourtney writes “YA contemporary fantasy. None of the quests and knights sort of stuff. More like one foot in this world and one foot in the magical realm”.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

EKR’s words epitomise Kourtney, who as ever shares generously her process and here speaks to how beautiful book covers also do not just happen.

Click here for a Rafflecopter giveaway for The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts and here to add it to your Goodreads To-Read list.

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts will be available for Pre-Order May 2nd on Amazon.


Guest Blog: The Evolution of Cover Art
K.C. Tansley, author The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

Every author worries about her cover art. Since the cover designer has only read the back cover summary, how can she/he possibly create a cover that conveys the tone, theme, and feel of the entire book? What if my cover is wrong for my story? What if my publisher doesn’t let me have any input? These are the fears that can eat away at an author.

Luckily, I got to work with an amazing team. The cover designer had a great eye for YA and paranormal/gothic covers. My editor loved the story and had a vision for the cover. My publisher had the final say over the design, but being a small press, my opinion mattered to them.

The-Girl-Who-Ignored-Ghosts11The design process started with a series of questions about the book, including a list of items that must be included in the cover. My publisher and editor both felt that the castle and the main character had to be featured because they wanted to play up the gothic elements of the story.

The cover designer read the back cover summary and our responses to her questions, and then came up with three concepts. Each featured a castle and girl but with very different tones and colors and images and fonts—three potential directions that we could take the cover in. Luckily, there was a clear winner and we easily agreed on the initial concept. Once we settled on that, the cover went through several iterations to get it to where it is now.

In an early version, there were snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, which worked for the tone of the book, but didn’t make sense because the story was set in the summer near the Connecticut shore. My editor and I explained why they had to be removed and they were.

Once we nailed down the background, we focused on the girl. The original girl on the cover had dark brown hair. Everyone agreed the pose was perfect but the hair was all wrong for Kat, our blonde protagonist.

Throughout the process, I learned that the cover is supposed to be a pastiche, a heightened version of the key elements of the book. At the same time, it cannot violate the story world.

So how do I feel about this cover? Absolute adoration! The designer captured the heart of the book. That girl embodies Kat. The eerie moonlight and the shadows surrounding the castle convey the tone. Even the fonts hint at the present day but with a touch of the past in the curly Ghosts font. The design encompass the time travel and mystery aspects of the story perfectly. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this cover!

Back Cover Summary

She tried to ignore them. But some things won’t be ignored. 

Kat Preston doesn’t believe in ghosts. Not because she’s never seen one, but because she saw one too many. Refusing to believe is the only way to protect herself from the ghost that tried to steal her life. Kat’s disbelief keeps her safe until her junior year at McTernan Academy, when a research project for an eccentric teacher takes her to a tiny, private island off the coast of Connecticut.

The site of a grisly mystery, the Isle of Acacia is no place for a girl who ignores ghosts, but the ghosts leave Kat little choice. Accompanied by her research partner, Evan Kingsley, she investigates the disappearance of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe on their wedding night in 1886. Evan’s scientific approach to everything leaves Kat on her own to confront a host of unbelievables: ancestral curses, powerful spells, and her strange connection to the ghosts that haunt Castle Creighton.

But that’s all before Kat’s yanked through a magic portal and Evan follows her. When the two of them awaken 129 years in the past with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests, everything changes. Together, Kat and Evan race to stop the wedding-night murders and find a way back to their own time—and their own bodies—before their souls slip away forever.


K.C Tansley lives with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, and three quirky golden retrievers on a hill somewhere in Connecticut. She tends to believe in the unbelievables—spells, ghosts, time travel—and writes about them.kctansleyauthorpic

Never one to say no to a road trip, she’s climbed the Great Wall twice, hopped on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, and danced the night away in the dunes of Cape Hatteras. She loves the ocean and hates the sun, which makes for interesting beach days. The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is her debut YA time-travel murder mystery novel.

As Kourtney Heintz, she also writes award winning cross-genre fiction for adults.

You can find out more about her at:


27 thoughts on “Telling a book by its cover: Guest Blogger Kourtney Heintz

    1. I’m looking forward to reading The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts. I like YA fiction for a light fun read. I’ve added Soulless to my Goodreads list for a start… I love series, and I think my book club would like it too.


      1. Aw thank you EllaDee! it’s a very different book from Six Train, but that’s part of what I love about it. I get to inhabit two completely different storyworlds. This is much lighter and action packed. 🙂 I have only written series, though I am kicking around an idea for a standalone. 😉 And if your book club did happen to read it, I’m happy to do a Skype visit with them to chat about the book anytime.


    1. Thank you so much! This is the first book I ever wrote. I’m so happy to finally be able to share it with you!


  1. Hey EllaDee! Interesting timing for me on this post. I am working (well, my graphic designer daughter) on my cover right now! Nice to hear another author’s story.


    1. Lovely to hear from you. A book cover can make or break a buying decision. I’m so pleased you have progressed to this point. I look forward to reading it.


  2. I found this interesting (unsurprisingly) and I’m pleased that Kourtney’s editor was involved, not all aithors think to do that, but apart from the author, no one else knows the story so well (in my experience).

    Only one thing puzzled me, and it was the use of the word girl, and I was thinking young girl, plus the girl on the cover looks pretty you g too, whereas it sounds as though we are talking late teens? Or not?


    1. I haven’t read the book yet, I’m waiting for its release or to win a copy but Kat appears to be quite young… although at my age there’s a lot of scope for younger!


      1. My book was published by a small press so the publisher was in charge of the cover. The publisher was the final decision maker, with my editor weighing in too. They were kind enough to listen to my thoughts. 🙂

        Kat is a junior in high school. She’s 17. This is a young adult novel. But it is aimed at 12+ in terms of content. It’s meant to be a novel that a teen, mom, and grandmother can all enjoy. My original publisher, Harlequin, selected that title “The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts” and when the small press picked it up, they chose to keep it.

        Girl is a pretty common way to refer to anyone who is female and under 21. And “The Young Woman Who Ignored Ghosts” doesn’t make for a compelling title. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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