The making of Through The Brown Mountain Lights book covers for CC Tillery

The sister duo CC Tillery hired me to make or remake the covers for their Appalachian Journey series. I’m honored to be chosen again for their Brown Mountain Lights series.

Through The Brown Mountain Lights

For the custom photo shoot, I took off to Morganton NC, where the lights can be spotted so I could shoot Brown Mountain. I thought it’d be awesome if I saw the lights but I wasn’t keen on sitting in the woods all night hoping for the chance. We took the road to Wisemans Overlook with its huge potholes that felt like they swallowed my car. That is where they say you can see the lights but I didn’t have a good shot of Brown Mountain so we continued until we found one.

This series had a lot going on in the story. Romance, time travel from the old south of the past to the late 60s, mystery, Indian herbal medicine, healers, war, friendship, and more. The main character had a few possessions on her that I added to the idea board. I even watched a movie and a completely not helpful X-Files episode about the lights trying to get a feel for the setting. I spent days going thru text styles looking at sci-fi to older styles from the 1800s. With this much going on I’m grateful Christy and Cyndi grasp that less is more, and to not overwhelm and clutter the cover trying to show it all.

BML board (Small)

So I had the photo and a theme board and all sorts of ideas for conveying two places at once. Maybe a vortex swirl for time travel or sepia and color, old painting look with a real photo- the kind of things to convey more than one setting.

final 8

In the end, it came down to the mountain pano photo in 2 colors with lights. When it’s possible and I have a few mock-ups, they like to let their readers choose. They went with the bluer one. I came up with a Brown Mountain Lights logo knowing this series would be 3 or 4 books. I updated their social media banner to show both series. They start with the ebook and follow with a print book and often an audiobook.

I think knowing a book will be part of a series, and feeling like a series should have a common thread running through them all makes it a little tougher to pick the first cover. It has to be adaptable after all to stay on a theme- yet be different. This series required a new Brown Mountain Lights logo as the authors continue to make it easy on their readers by numbering the books in order. I wish every author did that!

Here are my other post about CC Tillery Look for their Brown Mountain series to continue as book number 2 should be released in late 2017.

If you are interested in having a cover designed click for more info.

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