The Art of Murder: Part 1; Bella Pilar and Heather Blake

It takes a witch with dollI am excited to bring you a series that I have started called “The Art of Murder” where I will be bringing you interviews with the artists of some of my favorite covers in the Cozy Mystery world as well as the authors whose words sit within.

When I first started reading cozy mysteries, I didn’t realize just how many there would be to choose from and how diverse the cover art would be. Being a trained photographer, I am a very visual person so I natural am drawn to the covers. I have spent hours in book stores looking at the details of the covers of some pretty amazing artwork by painters, photographers and digital artists. Time after time, I would choose books based on covers and read them. There was one series,though, that kept catching my eye that I would pick up but never purchased. I don’t know why, but I liked the art so much I was afraid to read it and mess up the covers. Weird to some, but that was what I was thinking as I live in a house of messing kids.

It took me a month of passing by Heather Blake’s books and seeing her on Facebook along with the amazing artwork that went with her books until I finally gave up and bought the bright yellow cover of, “Some Like It Witchy” that she had just released. I am a sucker for yellow. Honestly, it draws me in and this one just begged to come home with me. I promised myself I would be gentle and not let the smallest of my messy crew touch the pretty, sparkly cover of girly splendor. But wait…who drew this? Who’s art was it that had me so captivated to the point of making me want to put it in a glass case so my three year old wouldn’t get her sticky, oatmeal caked hands on it if she too by chance thought the sparkles were too enticing not to touch? So, I looked inside the cover. Bella Pilar. Hmm…that sounded familiar. I looked her up and realized I had seen her girlie-goodness on a bunch of items I had been looking at over the years. I was hooked. Now I could really order a print for my wall. Score!

Seeing how artists don’t usually get a whole lot of recognition for what they do, I thought it would be great to put names to those covers.  I can’t recall the number of covers or photos I shot that never had my name associated with them. Most people don’t even give it a second thought.  Most of the time it’s, “Oooo, pretty!” Then, they move on.  I decided to do an interview with the lucky author who has these snazzy, sparkly covers as well as the queen of sparkle herself. Enjoy! It is really neat seeing how each side works together to make a book happen. And…sorry if you get glitter on you. HAHA, no I’m not.

Booth Talks Books: How did you come to working with each other? Some Like It Witchy

Bella Pilar: The publishing company reached out to me about creating the art for this series.  From the very start of hearing what Heather’s new series was going to be about, I just knew it was a great fit and that I would enjoy working on each and every one.

Heather Blake: It was set up completely through the publisher. I am a big fan and now look for her art whenever I’m out shopping. I love seeing all the cards she does for Papyrus, and I’ve bought several of her puzzles through Barnes & Noble as giveaways throughout the years. I have so much fun browsing her website to see all the cool projects she’s working on.

BTB: Do you all work together on the cover art like the colors, style and such?

BP: The publisher works on the art direction, the general look they want, on their end. Then the art director passes these notes along to me, and then I pencil sketch cover ideas based on all of their notes and direction.  Once they decide on the final sketch they think works best, I paint!

HB: ​ Bella and I have never communicated one-on-one about the covers–all my ideas are sent to her via the publisher. ​My editor will ask for cover suggestions from me, then those suggestions go to marketing. Marketing decides which cover option works best, then that idea is sent to Bella to work her magic. Once her first sketch is done, it’s sent to me (through my editor), and I either accept it as is or ask for tweaks.

BTB: Heather, do you think she represents your characters well on the covers?

HB: Bella’s colorful artwork completely captures the magic of my stories, not only of the plots but also the characters.

BTB: Which is your favorite cover?  As I have said already, I LOVE “Some Like It Witchy.”

BP:I can’t say, as I love them all!  And I hope all of the readers do as well.

HB: I truly love them all.

BTB: Bella, do you do the art only or also the type over the artwork?

BP:I do the art only, I do not work on type.  The designers over there do the type layout on top of the art I give them.  I just keep in mind, as I paint, where the type will most likely fall, so that I give them the open space they need in my art to add in the type.

BTB: Thanks Bella and Heather. It has been amazing talking to you both. I love your artwork and your books. I hope you get to keep working together because it is an amazing partnership. The books and covers together are amazing.

BP: Working on these covers are so fun for me- I hope this series goes on forever so I can keep painting more covers for her!

HB: I am in awe of Bella’s talent and extremely grateful that her art is part of my books.​

The Good The Bad The WitchyThe Goodbye Witch

One thought on “The Art of Murder: Part 1; Bella Pilar and Heather Blake

  1. What a fun series idea to interview both the author and cover artist! I, too, love Heather Webber/Blake’s book and am always amazed at the fantastic cover art. I completely agree that all too often it is too easy to judge a book by its cover but whereas you hesitated on reading the book because the art was so lovely you didn’t want the art tainted by a story that maybe wouldn’t measure up, I am guilty of assuming less than stellar cover art equals a less than stellar story. Very interesting to hear the author and artist aren’t in direct communication, but that the author does have a say in approving it. Thanks for a fun post! I am always watching and anticipating for Heather’s newest book and will now enjoy looking for Bella’s artwork.


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