To celebrate the release of the new Alex Cord Western, “High Moon,” we thought it would be great to put together an interview with the designer behind that great new Cord cover. His name is Kevin Diamond, and he has been working on a number of covers for some of the biggest names in the book business. For those who are wondering what it is like to work with Alex Cord– this is the interview for you. Enjoy!
How did you get into the business of creating covers?
The straight-forward way. I went to school for a degree in Fine Arts, then spent years working as an art director for printed materials then as a television and movie producer before taking up book covers. It’s been a roundabout path, but the basic techniques for creating scenic design for plays and movies is essentially the same as what you do to make a cover. The variety of themes creating covers is really engaging. One day you are doing space epics, the next day period detective stories. I love it.
You worked on the last Alex Cord cover—was it a foregone conclusion that you’d work on his latest cover?
Hardly. Alex wanted the best cover he could get for his book. He shopped around and mercifully he enjoyed our last project together, so when he offered, I jumped at it.
What were you told was needed? Were there any set criteria for the new cover?
Alex had a very specific image in mind for his cover. That image involved a lot of action, cannon fire and explosions. We discussed the nature of the book, the time period and the emotional message he was trying to communicate to readers. The result was a very complicated layered composition that carried forward his vision.
How did you start the cover? What elements did you pick out first?
The first thing we needed was a type face that worked for his cover. It has strong western and Hispanic themes, so I wanted to find a typeface that matched. Then began the long task of acquiring images that would be able to be assembled into the composition he was looking for. It took long hours searching multiple photography sites to find everything I needed.
What did you want the cover to convey?
Alex wanted action and romance. So I was trying to convey an image than showed conflict, heroism and the reason why someone would put oneself through that.
How were your early drafts received by Alex?
Alex has been great to work with. His experience working in motion pictures has made him very savvy to what he is looking for in an action shot. I had a bit too much smoke in the early drafts. In fact, I think that was his biggest reoccurring comment: “Less smoke!”
How did the final cover differ from your early drafts?
Alex was looking for a very simple, elegant love story in the middle of very explosive conflict. My early drafts were a grander Hispanic motif and style that was gradually made much more humble. I still like my initial design, but I think Alex got it right on what the story needed.
How long did it take for you to finish the cover? Was it a long process?
This was a very technical compilation of images that took a good deal of time to assemble. It took a long time to build and to get all the files set for physical printing versus an electronic copy. Actual jackets for books are much more demanding in terms of quality than a 75-dpi electronic format.
How do you think readers will feel about this new cover?
I hope it engages them and makes them want to pick up and read (buy) the book. Alex wrote a great action-packed story, and I hope the cover does it justice.
Would you be interested in doing other Western covers?
Anytime, anywhere. I am a big fan of Western history, books and movies. The imagery and the whole epic scope of the American Western is a lot of fun to create. Anyone looking for Western covers, it would be an honor and pleasure to work on your project.
Did you enjoy reading the latest Alex Cord Western, High Noon?
Alex knows his horses and knows his guns, and it comes across in his writing. This is a book written by a man who has lived the Western life. The texture and flavor of the world he knows comes across in every scene.
You can learn more about Kevin Diamond by visiting his website here. You can also connect with Kevin via Facebook by clicking here Don’t forget that you can also purchase your copy of this great new Western right here.