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A Tale of Three Covers: An Exposé by Nikki Navarre

It started with a plot. Innocent historical romance author Laura Navarre never dreamed it was coming…until it hit. Laura’s diabolical twin, double agent and spy romance author Nikki Navarre (that’s me), surged to global notoriety when the book I wrote purely for my own pleasure ended up not only published by a boutique press, but selling better than anything Laura had written for larger houses. That book was The Russian Seduction, my sexy spy romance about a renegade Russian submarine captain and a rising-star American diplomat at U.S. Embassy Moscow, inspired by my past as a globetrotting ex-diplomat working weapons of mass destruction issues in Russia.

“Hmm,” I mused, over my morning intelligence briefing in an undisclosed location. “That gambit was unexpectedly successful. And the risk of reprisal from my hapless twin is negligible. Let’s write another.”

The diplomatic community was accordingly titillated by The Russian Temptation, Book 2 in the Foreign Affairs series, about an ex-KGB hit man and the gorgeous but incurably meddlesome American ambassador he’s hired to kill. According to sources, the world’s most infamous ex-KGB agent, Russian President Vladimir Putin, had become an avid fan. Surely it was mere coincidence that, mere months after I wrote about Russia invading Ukraine and an authoritarian regime using chemical weapons in the Middle East, these horrific events actually occurred? I sipped my vodka martini, adjusted my attaché case, and wondered.

Then, in real life, an Ebola outbreak paralyzed West Africa.

“What if,” I inquired of my enigmatic accomplice, “that outbreak was spawned by an illegal biological weapons test gone awry?” Fast forward to today, where world leaders are stunned yet stimulated by The Russian Obsession. She’s a scientist without a memory. He’s a smuggler without a conscience. And their mission—to find an experimental Ebola vaccine before the Russians find THEM—is as deadly as the jungle heat.

In a crafty maneuver to throw rival governments off the scent, my publisher rebranded the entire series. The stately original cover of The Russian Seduction was eclipsed by the gorgeously steamy unveiling of a bronzed and shirtless Daniel Craig-like hero embracing a near-naked beauty. I reveled in my new cover. But advertising sites balked at running it. Cover #2 was so hot the book was mistaken for erotica. Undaunted, my redoubtable publisher redesigned it again. This third splashy spectacle, blazoned with stylized flags, onion-domed cities, bare skin and plenty of heat, was the pièce de résistance.

“World domination is ours,” I observed over my daily intelligence briefing, while my diplomatic colleagues fielded congratulatory phone calls from Vladimir Putin and the United Nations. But was it?

In her secure island hideaway in the Pacific Northwest, my innocent twin Laura Navarre pens her next Tudor historical romance…and bides her time. She knows Nikki’s unconventional adventures in the world of diplomacy will land her in real trouble.

One of these days.

Until then, spy on me at:

www.NikkiNavarre.com

www.Facebook.com/NikkiNavarreAuthor

www.twitter.com/Nikki_Navarre

10 responses to “A Tale of Three Covers: An Exposé by Nikki Navarre”

  1. Beautiful new cover, Nikki, and fun post!

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  2. Very striking cover!

    And now, back to *my* daily intelligence briefing and vodka martini. 😉

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  3. jbrayweber says:

    What a fun post, Laura! Love, LOVE your cover, too!

    Jenn!

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  4. I loved the first covers, but I can handle the re-branding!

    Honestly, Victor Kostenko (the disgraced sub-captain hero of book 1) has yet to be snagged from my imagination. He’s sort of a Russian Daniel Craig — not super tall but very muscular and not the least bit “pretty.” Just so blazingly hot! He’s one of the most vibrant heroes I’ve ever read. I feel like he exists somewhere in Moscow…

    Nikolai (the tortured but gentlemanly assassin-hero of book 2) looked pretty “right” to me on the original in his snazzy suit but he still looks good on the new one. Now, book 3? Max the daredevil flyboy is definitely a young, muscle-bound Harrison Ford for me.

    It’s probably somewhat hard to find hot-but-grizzled Russian models here. 🙂 Why are most male models so darned young and pretty? And then the non-pretty ones pop up everywhere in Romancelandia, so we stop associating them with a particular hero and instead start thinking of them as real-life human men with names and wives and Facebook fan pages and gah, it’s no fun at that point for me!

    Your Nikki Navarre site is SO CUTE!!!

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    • Jamie, your comments about Victor made me smile! He was such a gift to me. I woke up one morning feeling like he was standing over my bed–I think I must have dreamed about him. So I wrote his story. He remains the only hero I’ve ever written without a character profile or a word of background research.

      Thank you also for visiting Nikki’s page! I do have fun…probably too much fun…with her diplomatic exploits and antics!

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  5. I love everything about the cover! I think the 3rd time is the charm! Such a fun post. Congrats on the rebranding.

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  6. Vivi Andrews says:

    Love the new cover. Congrats! 🙂

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  7. Tamara Hogan says:

    What an awesome cover! The flag and font work are so eye-catching, and the gentleman is…easy on the eyes. 😉

    Covers are so important, aren’t they? I think Jamie’s comments about cover models are spot-on. I recently had the opportunity to have new covers made for my first two Underbelly Chronicles books. After much searching, I finally found a model who looks much like the Lukas of my imagination, but finding cover heroes for Books Four and Five has been a challenge and a half. Why in the world did I write three late-30ish blond heroes in a row, two with long hair? GAH! Thankfully my graphic artist is a wizard, because I think I’d see a multi-colored unicorn walking down Main Street before I’d find a blond male model with the right set of physical characteristics.

    Best of luck with the books! I hope the geo-political focus on Russia right now gives your sales a goose. 😉

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  8. Tamara, you are so right! And it is amazing how many male (and female) models are NOT the right choice for one’s book cover. 🙂 I’ve always had pretty decent luck with covers, but it’s never easy, and the more editorial control you have over the cover, the harder it sometimes is. CONGRATS on your new covers for the Underbelly Chronicles!

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