Cover Artist Interview: Kate Kaynak

| Sunday, March 10, 2013
Today I'm very excited to welcome Kate Kaynack, author and cover artist, to the blog for an interview!

Kate Kaynak was born and raised in New Jersey, but she managed to escape. Her degree from Yale says she was a psych major, but she had WAY too much fun to have paid attention in class.
After serving a five-year sentence in graduate school, she started teaching psychology around the world for the University of Maryland. While in Izmir, Turkey, she started up a conversation with a handsome stranger in an airport... and ended up marrying him.
They now live in New Hampshire with their three school-aged kids, where Kaynak enjoys reading, writing, and fighting crime with her amazing superpowers. She is the author of the Ganzfield books (
Minder, Adversary, Legacy, Accused, Operative) and a senior editor at Spencer Hill Press.

I have had the privilege of working with Spencer Hill Press for a few months now and it has been nothing but fun!
If you're a Jennifer L. Armentrout fan, like me, you'll recognize these covers right away:

And here are some others that are just pure greatness!

I am lucky enough to own all of the covers you see above except Perfection, as it hasn't been released yet!
So, let's not delay anymore. Let's hear what Kate had to say!

Tell us a little about yourself and your training as an artist.
My grandmother was an artist, so I grew up always doing art projects. I started taking extra art classes in high school and continued in college.

How did you get into the business of creating covers?
I'm one of the founders of Spencer Hill Press. When we started, there were only three of us, so with my background, I *was* the art department (we now have several people and commission many of our covers from independent artists). I had a couple of early successes (Jennifer L. Armentrout's Half-Blood was nominated for several "Best Cover" awards), and things snowballed from there.

Did you always want to be a cover artist?
It wasn't why I got into publishing, but it's one of my favorite parts of the job.

Why do you think authors want to use your designs?
First off, I never stick an author with a cover he or she will hate. We go through several mock-ups to get it right, especially for a first book in a series. We have a variety of wonderful cover artist with whom we work, so I only take authors who specifically request my work at this point.

Where do you design inspiration for covers come from?
They always come from the author and the book. Cover art is a "thousand word" advertisement for the book--it needs to appeal to people who will enjoy what is inside, make it stand out as something they want to read.

Do you have a favorite cover? Can you show it to us?

I really love the ones we've done for the Covenant series--Pure is probably my favorite, since I love blue, and it's the first one on which we introduced a little teaser of one of the characters (Aiden peeks out of the smoke on the back).

When designing a cover, who is your intended audience?
First, I have to make the author happy. Second, it needs to catch the eyes of potential readers. I hate using the term "commercial" for a cover, although that's the cold, hard goal, in the end. If I do my job right, thousands of people will pick up the book and take a deeper look. Since Spencer Hill has a mission to discover and launch the careers of talented new authors, if I can make the outside of the book catch the attention of people who will love the inside, then it's a success.

Do you have a favorite cover designer, one that has inspired you, perhaps?
Lisa Amowitz has done some of my all-time favorite covers. I mean, have you *seen* Extracted? It's absolutely gorgeous.

Do you have or do other activities that involve your art?
I still do some of the layouts for the book interiors, as well as promotional items (bookmarks, jewelry design, book trailers, etc.) for the books.

What is the hardest part about creating a cover?
Sometimes the author has a strong image in mind for the cover, but what he/she has in mind isn't going to appeal the audience who will enjoy his/her book. I have to find some way to draw the two together.

When creating a cover, do you read the author's work first to get a feel or do they just give your information and you go with it?
I read at least the first few chapters, usually the whole book. The feel of the prose is part of the cover creation process. Is it action-packed? Romantic? Funny? Edgy? The cover needs to convey that sense in order to attract people who will enjoy the book.  

What are you working on now?
The covers for Michelle Pickett's Milayna, Kendra Saunders' Death and Mr. Right, and Darby Karchut's Gideon's Spear.

Please tell us where we can find you and your work:
My covers are up on the Spencer Hill Press website:

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Kate. It's been such a complete pleasure having you here! You know how I feel about you, your art and Spencer Hill Press. By the way, Pure is definitely my favorite cover in that series. It's the blue for sure! And Lisa is SO talented. Extracted is one of my top ten favorite covers introduced last year! I can't wait to see what you come up with next!


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