How I Make My Covers – Death by Pumpkin

I got the idea for my third book, Death by Pumpkin, watching a You Tube video of the pumpkin drop at the Damariscotta Pumpkin Fest, held every year in Maine (add link). Since the book opens with this event, but this time in my town of Pequod, I decided this event had to be the cover.

Since the car on which the pumpkin is dropped is crushed, I called around and found Raleigh Metal Recycling, where they kindly agreed to let us use a crushed car for the photo-shoot.

Recycling yard
Recycling yard

The day of the shoot was again bitterly cold – and since my daughter was once again posing, the usual complaints filled the car on the way over, along with the several pumpkins we bought to smash.

When we got there, they had to find a car that was crushed, but not so badly that we couldn’t get Cameron into the passenger seat.

Car we chose
Car we chose

Once they’d hauled it up, we smashed the pumpkins all over the car using a hammer, then squeezed her in and closed the door.


As you can see from these photos, the pumpkins didn’t quite create the image I wanted to portray. img_5602img_5613

This last one was the closest.However, my clever daughter found a place in LA (99 Designs) that for a reasonable price put several of their artists to work enhancing the basic photo.


Last spring I let you followers pick from the two final designs, and this is the cover I ended up with:


What am I going to do for my next book (Death in a Mudflat), you might ask? Stay tuned. I’ll have a cover choice sometime toward summer.



19 thoughts on “How I Make My Covers – Death by Pumpkin”

  1. Oh, brilliant! I love the cover of this book and I thought it was entirely photoshopped, to be honest. It is so much better knowing that so much of it is actually real! It looks like such fun making your book covers. I can’t wait to hear about the next one 🙂

    1. Thanks! I like to be the visual force behind my covers. My daughter doesn’t seem to mind being a body part and my husband always gets just the right photo!

      1. Most people don’t seem to be this creative when it comes to book covers. I’m amazed by all the trouble you went to, and your hard work really paid off. The cover is amazing!

      1. Oh no! Why has your model gone on strike? Who is your stand in? Hope it all comes together for you, looking forward to seeing it! 😁 Any teeny weeny clues? I mean what can top a giant pumpkin???

        1. A gruesome arm in a nice setting…can’t say more. I do think the pumpkin cover was inspired – this next one will be harder to do without my striking daughter.

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