Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Making of A Most Handsome Gentleman Cover

Available at Amazon
This post first appeared on the Meryton Press website on October 10th. Since the blog tour for Suzan Lauder's book, A Most Handsome Gentleman, begins tomorrow, October 20th, Suzan and I decided it would be nice to repeat the post here at More Agreeably Engaged. Enjoy!


The Making of A Most Handsome Gentleman Cover

AKA Who's Who of Handsome Gents by Janet Taylor

Rita Deodato of From Pemberley to Milton hosted Suzan Lauder's Cover Reveal for A Most Handsome Gentleman. During that reveal there was much discussion over which gentleman was Collins and which one was Darcy.

The two being favored for this discussion were the main gentleman, the one in the center and the gentleman to his immediate left. Suzan and I laughed and had the best time reading those comments. We talked about divulging the identity of them and when would be the best time to do it. Suzan even left a few hints in her responses to some of the comments. When Zorylee asked me to do a post for Meryton Press for the making of the cover of A Most Handsome Gentleman, Suzan thought that would be the perfect time to reveal which man is which and to give the identity of one of them, in particular! As Mr. Bennet would say, "Read on."


When Suzan Lauder and I started discussing the cover for her lighthearted story, A Most Handsome Gentleman, she had some great suggestions and ideas. Having read her manuscript, those ideas were spot on with some of my own thoughts, so the collaboration began! 😊

During the writing of this book, Suzan had posted it at A Happy Assembly. She had reader participation in picking the gentlemen for #HOT Collins, as the book was then called! A Pinterest Page had been set up for these gentlemen and I was given the ‘difficult’ task of rummaging through those handsome Regency men. Such are the trials of designing covers.

Robert Waller, Esq. - Bingley
Many hours were spent looking for men that would fit each gentleman gracing the front cover. I needed them to have shadows on their faces from the same direction or be such that I could make those shadows fall the same. I searched Suzan’s Pinterest pages, my own pages, and anywhere I could find paintings of Regency men. I found the perfect Bingley. The only problem was the shadow on his face. It was on the wrong side. I tried several other guys but kept coming back to Robert Waller, Esq. He looked like Bingley. He was Bingley. My only choice was to create the shadow on the correct side and take it off the wrong side. I WANTED that man for Bingley! Thankfully, Suzan agreed!

William Whewell - Mr. Collins
Even though there was one gentleman, William Whewell, who had been picked as a good Collins, Suzan had a different thought…my grandson, Chayseland Taylor. If he wouldn’t work for Collins, she wanted him for Darcy. (He is on the front cover of Jan Hahn’s The Secret Betrothal, and Suzan was familiar with the story behind that cover.) Since Collins had striking blue eyes, I knew it was going to be tough using Chayseland for Collins. Chayseland’s eyes are a dark brown and appear almost black, thus the decision to make him Darcy. William Whewell had light eyes so it was easy to make them bluer without them looking weird. William Whewell made a perfect Collins for other reasons too. He was handsome, had curly hair, and was a Reverend. The main difference between him and Collins, Whewell was an exceptionally intelligent man. He even had some inventions to his credit. No foolish talk spewing from his mouth! 

The man that had been designated as Wickham became a problem. The painting was copyrighted and
I couldn’t find one of him that wasn’t. The hunt for a new Wickham ensued. Every time I found one that might work, I ran into the same licensing problem. The man that had been a possible Darcy candidate became the head of the new Wickham. Finding a military painting, turned the same way, with the same shadowing, that could be used for the body became the next issue. As it turned out, the one on the cover, Sir Henry Brougham, made a better Wickham anyway.

Chayseland has dark brown, wavy hair and I felt I could make it look like the hair of Mr. Darcy from the 1995 miniseries…yes, Colin Firth. 😊 My intentions were to take a picture of my grandson and put his head on the body of a Regency gentleman! On the day of the ‘photo shoot’ I had planned—but had failed to enlighten Chayseland of those plans—he got his hair cut! Not just cut, he got it cut short! I shrieked! “You cut your hair!” He looked at me like I was stating the obvious and said, “Yes!” “I was going to take your ‘Darcy’ pictures today,” said I. “Well, I didn’t know that,” said he. Thus, much to my despair, the search began for a painting I could use, one that would allow me to replace the gent’s face with Chayseland’s, not his face AND hair as originally planned. (What is that saying about best laid plans?) You should see some of those efforts. Well, on second thought, you shouldn’t. UGH! Chayseland would shake his head and we would both get a good laugh. After much trial and error, mostly error, I decided to look among my plethora of pictures, shot from my movie stills of Darcy in the 1995 miniseries. (another trying and tedious task…lol) Taking many pics of Chaysleland, with short hair, over several days, I had some I could use. I just needed to match his stance and direction with one I had of Mr. Darcy. Success! I found one, put them together, made a painting, and Darcy was done, much to the satisfaction of all! Suzan was pleased, I was relieved, and all was well in the world of handsome gentlemen. 😍

Mr. Darcy - Chayseland Taylor

Moving on to the back cover, Suzan wanted a picture of a couple leaning on a tree in a passionate embrace. Several paintings were found but something was off with each so I turned to my son, Jeff, for help. He does 3-D renders, or computer-generated images. I told him what we wanted and how we needed it to look. He went to work. His final image was perfect. The female even had messy hair from ‘making out’ in the woods behind the tree.

A photograph from Luckington Court, one I took while visiting England in 2012 with Jan Hahn, was used for the background. (Longbourn in the 1995 miniseries)  This chosen photo had the appearance of the scene in Suzan’s story. It went easily behind the graphic image of Collins and his lady. The back cover image was complete and ready for text.

One fun ‘aside’, a picture from the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands appeared in my Pinterest suggestions. I went to the sight to view more lovely photos and, voila, look what I saw!  Immediately, I sent the picture to Suzan! Although this couple is more daring in their dress, or lack thereof, than Collins and his 'lady love', the pose is PERFECT!

Keuykenhof Gardens Sculpture

A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder is a comical and witty book. I hope everyone has as much fun reading it as I had depicting it.

 Blog Tour Schedule:

10/20   My Jane Austen Book Club; Character Interview, Excerpt, Giveaway
10/21   My Love for Jane Austen; Guest Post, Giveaway
10/22   Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review
10/23   Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway
10/24   Tomorrow is Another Day; Review
10/25   Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, Giveaway
10/26   From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway
10/27   Just Jane 1813; Guest Post, Giveaway
10/28   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
10/29   My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway
10/30   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt
10/31   Laughing With Lizzie; Vignette, Giveaway
11/01   Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway
11/02   So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
11/03   Margie’s Must Reads; Review, GA

Thanks for stopping by. We hope you enjoy the blog tour for A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder. Suzan has some fun and entertaining posts lined up for you. There will also be 8 eBooks to be given away at the end of the blog tour. The giveaway is international.   

Meryton Press is celebrating the October 20th release of Suzan Lauder’s new comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman, i.e., #HOT Collins, with a sale of Suzan’s first two books, Alias Thomas Bennet and Letter from Ramsgate. Sound like fun? We hope everyone will think so. Please spread the word! Dates of the sale are October 17-24 for both books.

Your share in the conversation is always welcome!                                                                                                                                 


  1. This is a great article, Janet, and it was so much fun going through this process with you again. Reliving it by seeing the photos separately is a great pleasure! Thanks so much for my wonderful cover.

    1. Thank you, Suzan. I had a great time working with you again and you are welcome. It was a pleasure. It's always a satisfying feeling to see the final results and think on the collaborative efforts that went into 'getting there'.

  2. Janet,

    I joked on Rita's site about the incredibly difficult job you must have had trying to create this beautiful cover,adorned by these gorgeous men!

    But having read this post,I actually have to admit that the job was a lot harder and more time consuming than I imagined!

    I agree that the pictures you chose resemble the characters to a 'T',I personally think your Mr D is so very handsome!!!

    I can just imagine your grandson's reaction to your reaction on learning he'd cut his hair! The poor guy!!

    I love the front cover,and,like Rita,assumed the main photo was our beloved Darcy!

    Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was none other than Mr C!!

    And to see him embrace his dear Charlotte in such a pose,on the back cover.....! Well,suffice to say that had I been eating when such an image was displayed,I'd probably have choked!! 😌

    Loved reading the creativity and love that went into creating such a fabulous cover.
    No doubt,like others you've created,it will provide much food for thought and was probably the basis for countless speculation as to the identities of the gents that were found upon it!

    Thank you so much for sharing this post,Janet.
    You are such a talented lady,with a unique gift and a practised eye for subtle details that add that certain 'je ne sais quoi' to each and every cover you devote your time to. 😊

    Suzan,sending you warm wishes and success in your writing evdeavours! ☺️

    1. Well, I must say, it is fun, even if a bit trying at times. Who would tire of looking at these Regency men? :) It was rather time consuming but that's the way it goes sometimes, especially when things are working out quite like you planned.

      It is hard to imagine a handsome #HOTCollins, isn't it! The book is fantastic. Suzan pulls it off perfectly. I laughed so much when reading this one.

      Thank you for all your comments. You make my day, Mary. I'm glad you think my grandson, Mr D is so handsome. I have to agree with you. He did look at me like I was a bit goofy when I stated the obvious about his hair cut! lol

      The back cover depiction was fun. It is quite a pose isn't it! Glad you weren't eating. lol

      It's always great to read your thoughts, Mary. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Oh the challenges in finding the 'right man' for the 'right job'! Love the cover (front and back)...looks like the trees are getting their day too! I'm impressed with your grandson for helping out! He makes for a perfect Darcy! Looking forward to reading the antics within this book!

    Congratulations Janet on another fabulous cover and Congratulations Suzan on your new book!

    1. HaHa! Challenges indeed! Thanks Carole. It's great to hear you love the front and back of the cover. Yes, I think the trees are getting their day! My grandson felt privileged that Suzan asked for him to be on her cover. I thought it was special too!

      You will love this book! Suzan Lauder did a great job with the comedy!

  4. The post had me smiling and laughing though I know the task of locking down the cover models and cover are quite tough at times. Neat to read the 'behind the scenes' on the cover so I can better appreciate the story when I get the chance. Sounds like a funny one. :)

    1. It's good to hear the post made you laugh! I had a good time writing it. I know you will enjoy the story. It will make you laugh too!

  5. Wow, so much work in finding the perfect pictures for each of the characters. Love it. Congrats on your newest release. Looking forward to reading it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dung, and reading the cover story. I think you will love this book!

  6. Needless to say that I loved this post Janet! I always love to know how you create your covers, there is so much work in it that we don’t even realize, and that just make the cover even more special! I still can’t believe I thought Mr. Collins was hotter than Darcy, I guess William Whewell was just my kind of guy :))

    1. It's always good to hear, Rita, and I appreciate you. You inspire me to work harder and better! :) William Whewell was a handsome young man and even as an older man. He was brilliant, too. Nothing wrong with him being your kind of guy!