Show, Don’t Tell: Illustrated Romance with Jenn LeBlanc

It’s no secret that we love to ogle a pretty book cover. It is so much fun to see a version of the characters we’ll be reading about and envisioning with our mind’s eye. But cover photographer and author Jenn LeBlanc’s Lords of Time series takes things a step further, visually. The series is completely illustrated and her latest installments, The Trouble with Grace and The Heir and the Spare, are available now! How cool is that? We sat down with Jenn to learn more about the series.

You’ve created so many romance covers — what, in your mind, is the most important aspect of a really great cover?

Intimacy is the number one aspect of a romance novel cover for me as a photographer. I don’t want you to just see the cover, but I want you to feel it. I want the cover to evoke a powerful emotion rather than simply depict a scene or moment from the book. We read romance with our emotions – it’s what draws us to this incredibly powerful genre, and that emotion begins with the cover of the book.

Grace, Calder  Quinn” height=

If a self-publishing author were looking to create her own cover, what’s the one best tip you would give her?

Start with a great image, even if you can only afford stock. There are some truly great images out there when you look for them. A designer can’t fix a terrible image, but any good designer can make a great image look completely different from any other cover with the same stock image. Everything you choose is a building block toward the finished product. Think of it like Jenga. If one piece fails, the whole product can fail in the end.

THE TROUBLE WITH GRACE by Jenn LeBlanc” height=

Tell us about your illustrated books. What has the response been?

The response has been absolutely wonderful. The first book was in the top 100 on the Amazon historical list for over two years. It sold like crazy and is still quite beloved by readers. The imagery just makes them all that much more memorable.

THE HEIR AND THE SPARE by Jenn LeBlanc” height=

Tell us about the cover shoot. What were the models like? Did you play any music, have any snacks?

The models for The Trouble With Grace and The Spare and The Heir are the sweetest, most wonderful people in the world. I absolutely adore each of them and we had so much fun playing in the studio and creating these images together. Steven is a brilliant business man as well as being stunningly handsome. Patrick is hilarious and talented on top of being disarmingly gorgeous and Kaleila is one of the smartest, most incredibly beautiful and talented women I’ve worked with in a long time.

We always have a playlist that is very well cultivated. I’m constantly adding to it as well as removing songs that don’t add to the atmosphere of the studio. For this shoot, however, Steven and Patrick warned me ahead of time that they were both fans of Britney Spears so I added quite a bit of her music to the playlist which made the shoot really energetic. Even though the days were long with a lot of work, the mood was exciting and we had a great time.

Illustrated copies of the Lord of Time series are available on iBooks for $6.99! Grab your copies here: The Trouble with Grace and The Heir and the Spare. Seeking more romantic reads? Be sure to stop by our Everything Romance page!

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