Working at a book publishers means we get to read a lot of manuscripts. But it’s a rare thing when all of the gals in the Marketing department fall in love with one author and rush to read her latest manuscript as soon as we possibly can get our paws on it. Hand on heart, Mhairi McFarlane is one of those rare unicorn authors we all adore.
The lovefest happened slowly—first Shannon and I loved her and jumped on the bandwagon when we published her first two books, You Had Me at Hello and Here’s Looking at You. Then came It’s Not Me, It’s You and the rest of the department fell in love, too. Maybe it was the title; maybe it was the very relatable, likable, adorable main character, Delia and her love for vintage fashion; maybe it was her awful, horrible, absolute louse of a boyfriend; or maybe it was just the magic of Mhairi. It was probably all of the above. But whatever it was, we fell hard. The US was publishing at the same time as we were, and the North American edition would have a different cover from the UK edition. So one day, at a brainstorming meeting, I was asked to see if I could come up with any ideas for the cover. The Art Department was working on it, but nothing was feeling quite right. This kind of task is basically the best kind of task I can be asked to tackle. And it’s so much fun. Like, the. Most. Fun. Now let me explain something—I am not a cover designer. I work in Marketing as a Designer and I have designed E-Book and a few physical book covers, but it’s not my job. I LOVE it, but it’s not anywhere in my job description. When a cover was chosen, I was over-the-moon.
When it was announced that we would be publishing another book by Mhairi this Spring, I kept my fingers crossed that I would be able to design the cover for this one too—and I did! We liked elements of the cover the UK had designed, and our cover uses elements from it; and so, as we say, I simply gave her a makeover. She’s a bit bolder, brighter, and you would definitely notice her in a crowd. And what’s even crazier is that I’m also designing a second completely different cover for the US edition which comes out in the Fall. (No wonder we’re asking Who’s That Girl? She’s unrecognizable from country to country!)
I might sound like a total cheeseball, and forgive me if I do, but it’s a total honour to be the North American designer for Mhairi’s books. I love her, and I want everyone else to love her too! She writes the kind of book that you can give to your 18-year-old cousin and she’ll love and LOL, and then you can pass it along to your mom and she’ll propose it to her book club.
Mhairi’s funny, you guys. She’s really, really funny. And she has such a knack for writing characters that you:
a) relate completely to
b) want to be friends with
c) are friends with
d) have dated
e) have broken up with
f) have gotten back together with despite your gut screaming “No! Don’t go back in there!”
g) want to hug and drink lots of wine with
Anyway, this is all just a really long way to say that if you haven’t read Mhairi before you’re in for one heck of a treat. Secondly, I hope you like the little bit of “behind the scenes magic” I’ve shared about the cover process of her books. Thirdly, for anyone who’s a fan of the show New Girl, you know the answer to the question “Who’s that Girl?” is “it’s Jess!” which is why I felt it was my destiny to design the cover of Who’s That Girl?.
(Yes, destiny may be a bit dramatic, but I couldn’t not quote that theme song when it incorporates the title and my name. Come on!)
So, happy reading, and please, let all of your friends know how much you loved it. Because you will.