Cover art is interesting because it’s as much a marketing tool as it is an illustration of something specific in the books. I have a lot of influence over cover art these days, but I didn’t always have that power. The original Alcatraz covers were pretty terrible in my opinion (There’s even a joke about it in one of the books). On the other hand, there have been some fabulous covers (Michael Whelan anyone?).
I love looking at cover art from different countries as well. Just like here there can be awful ones, but there are a lot of gems as well. In our tenth anniversary leatherbound books, we’ll have a selection of my favorite cover art from around the world.
I generally like the covers we get. I actually think that the German covers of the Alcatraz books are much stronger than the original US covers were. I really like what artists are doing and how they’re working to interpret my worlds. It’s nice to see, as a writer, someone taking what you’ve written and envisioning it in a sometimes new and different way, making something cool and creative out of it. So I’m usually very pleased. It’s very cool to see how different cultures and different publishers react to the same text and the different types of stories that they convey just through the pictures they put on the front. Each country has different conventions for cover art, and what works for marketing to their readers. The US likes to have different cover artists for different series, but the UK likes to have a single cover artist for an author.