Monday, September 21, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest, Bill Walker - Morgan Mandel

Bill Walker is a graphic designer specializing in book and dust jacket design, and has worked on projects by Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Between his design work and his writing, he spends his spare time reading voraciously and playing very loud guitar, much to the chagrin of his lovely wife and two sons.

Bill makes his home in Los Angeles and can be reached through his web site:

Here's What Bill Has to Say:

Everyone's always heard the old saw about never judging a book by its cover. And whether we consciously know it or not, that old saying is a bunch of hooey. The first thing we look at is the cover, and in something like five seconds, we make a snap (and usually irrevocable) decision based upon whether we find that cover appealing or intriguing in some way. Publishers know this and bank on it. That's why most of the money spent on the actual design and production of a book goes toward creating the cover. In fact, very often an author's books will have a distinctive visual style that repeats from book to book. One only needs to look at a shelf of Nicholas Sparks novels to see what I mean. There are reams of psychological studies that will back up this phenomenon, but it's simple human nature. People are attracted to things they find visually appealing, intriguing, or familiar.

For the cover of my novel, I wanted an image that evoked themes and incidents from out of the story, and would be eye-catching and evocative in and of itself. Because art plays an important role in the story, I knew I wanted a still life and the objects that presented themselves as the obvious choices were the Buddha, the letter, and the rose. I will admit the letter was a bit of a cheat, since Joanna's correspondence with Brian is entirely electronic, but I quickly realized that a laptop screen or an e-mail printout would be anything but romantic.

The next step was to find an artist. I'm good at manipulating images, but can't draw or paint to save my life. However, in my work as a designer, I have quite a few contacts and found Mike Kupka (, who was able to take my oral and verbal descriptions and render a lovely and romantic image, totally in keeping with the style of the book. I couldn't be happier with it.

What A Note From an Old Acquaintance Is About:

Brian Weller is a haunted man. It's been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega-selling thrillers, Brian's life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife's prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair.

Everything changes the morning an e-mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short-lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book-signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains unsure where their reunion will lead. One thing is certain: the forces that tore their love asunder will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

Filled with tender romance and taut suspense, A Note from an Old Acquaintance is an unforgettable story about fate, honor, and the power of true love.

Buy Link -
Website -


Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Make Mine Mystery, Bill. I hope you enjoy your stay. Your book sounds very intriguing.

Also, I love the design of your website and your logo.

Morgan Mandel

Dorothy Thompson said...

People do judge a book by its cover. Great blog post!

Bill Walker said...

Just wanted to thank you for hosting me. It's much appreciated. Your blog is really nicely laid out.

Morgan: Thanks for your kind words. Hope you get a chance to read my book. And good luck with yours.

For anyone that wants a FREE full-color autographed bookplate, they should e-mail me through my web site:

Katie Hines said...

I'm a little confused. I thought that Bill designed the covers, but here he is saying he is finding others to do that. Did I miss something?

Bill Walker said...

Sorry for the confusion. The cover concept and layout is mine. I commissioned the artist to render the image. Can't draw or paint to save my life ;-)

Morgan Mandel said...

There are many intricacies that I wasn't totally aware of in getting a cover done. I'm getting a clearer picture now. Graphic designing must be kind of of like what I'm trying to do now with my website - Fit stuff on the page so it looks appealing to my visitors. Just because I have the material doesn't mean it will be visually attractive.

Morgan Mandel

Maryann Miller said...

Interesting post, Bill. I really love your cover art, and I'm like you, I can come up with a concept, but need a real artist to take it from there. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'll be posting a review of this book tomorrow, and I have to say that the cover is a part of why I agreed to read it!

I even made a bookmark to match-- maybe I'll post a photo :-).

April said...

Great post! I agree, people are much more apt to pick up a book that visually reaches out and grabs you. Sadly, this is just the society that we live in - first impressions are usually the visual ones. My, what pressure the cover artist has on their hands, lol.

Bill Walker said...

Laura, I would love to see your bookmark.

Other Lisa said...

Wow, great looking cover, and the book sounds like a lot of fun too. Bill, it seems like you had a lot of control over your cover design, which I know can be a real sticky issue for a lot of authors (DISCLAIMER: not me! I have a book coming out from Soho and they did an awesome job). How do you work with the authors whose covers you design? I'm assuming that some of the high profile authors have a great deal of input into the process?

The Old Silly said...

Great looking cover, and I agree - the cover being grabby and excellent is a VERY important element in how often it gets lifted off the shelf by a potential buyer. Thanks for the post and info.

Marvin D Wilson

Dana Fredsti said...

The cover definitely makes a difference - I didn't read Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series for ages because the covers were so twee. Then I picked one up at a bookstore owner's recommendation and loved it.

Helen Ginger said...

Covers do indeed influence me. A cover often causes me to pick up the book and check it out. And some covers cause me to not pick them up.

Straight From Hel

Bill Walker said...

I'm glad everyone is enjoying my post. And I want to thank everyone for their compliments on my cover.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Fascinating blog. Information I didn't know.

Thank you,