Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Heidi Cullinan for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: The Devil Will Do
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Wilde City
Genre/Sub-Genre: M/M Romance
In a land unforgiving of indulgent, dangerous sex, merchantman Eryn does his best to keep his desires in the dark…until the plight of a beautiful prince leads him out of the shadows and into adventures both sensual and terrible.
Capture, curse, and torture litter Eryn’s road to true love, along with carnal delights beyond his most wicked imaginings. His strengths and limitations are exposed—and the hard truth, that nothing holds him back more than the monster of self-loathing in his heart. Prince Wyn might be everything he’s dreamed of in a man—and master—but before Eryn can accept the exquisitely wicked affections of his one true love, he must first save himself…from himself.
This novella was originally published under the title Sweet Son and has been significantly revised.
Cover Me: Telling (and Selling) a Story in Picture and Title:
The Devil Will Do was originally written as a novella in Dreamspinner’s fairytale series. I was given cover art and told to write to it. The long story short is, I didn’t.
I wrote a story, and the cover art I was given was applied. But the story I wrote and the cover art truly did not match. The original is a beautiful, watercolor-like painting by Dan Skinner. (I’m not sure if it’s a paint-painting or digital painting, but it’s beautiful, whatever it is.) I took one look at it, had a story idea pop into my head—that horse is a plot point—and then I wrote it.
But boy, I wrote a different story than the artwork I was assigned.
While it’s true all the elements from the Skinner art were (and still are) present in my story, the tone and even the title didn’t match. The art and title made the story sound like it would be something sweet…and then when read, they got something completely different. Because in its first and current incarnations, The Devil Will Do is a very kinky, sometimes dark story.
So what happened with The Devil Will Do was sold as Sweet Son? Mostly it did not sell. People who bought it were often confused, sometimes saying as much in reviews. Even people buying the book because they were simply buying my entire backlist were a little WTF, Heidi because of the title/cover vs. the story inside.
The saying don’t judge a book by its cover is pretty much a lovely idea that doesn’t pan out. We absolutely judge books by their cover. Image moves us in powerful ways. We buy bad books because the covers seduce us; we skip good ones because the covers repel us. Same goes for titles. Authors are often terrible at titles, getting hung up on cleverness or concept, which is all well and good until a reader raises an eyebrow.
Titles and cover art set the stage. A well-done cover says professional—but only if it matches the story. A strong title draws us in the rest of the way, or lets us know this isn’t our book. So when I went to reissue The Devil Will Do, we had a lot of discussion about both the title and the cover. Adrian was very, very patient with me as the cover went through draft after draft after draft, trashing concepts several times. The email loop discussing the title at one point I think had six people bouncing things off the walls.
I have to say, the cover and title for The Devil Will Do have gone from what I felt like was one of my more awkward mistakes to something I’m quite proud of. A little bit whimsical, a little bit mysterious, a lotta bit sexy. You’ll have to tell me how well the cover and the title match the tale inside. Because at the end of the day, I can try all I want to get it right, but the final verdict is in the reader’s hands.
About the Author:
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|