People like to say that writing is a solitary profession. It's one person, putting down word after word until paragraphs become chapters, and chapters become a final draft. But there is so much about creating a book that isn't solitary at all. For example, I have amazing critique partners and beta readers, who talk me through troublesome plot points, give me incredible feedback, and celebrate with me when a draft is done. When you're writing, it is invaluable to talk with people who believe in your story and want to help you tell it the best way you can. 

In order to get a book ready to publish, even more people join in. These are the professionals that work behind the scenes, helping authors take their final drafts and polish them to perfection. One of those professionals is Monica Haynes of The Thatchery. She is the cover designer that has created all of my book covers, including my newest book, EVERY LAST MINUTE. Talking with Monica about cover design and seeing the beautiful covers she creates is one of the most exciting times in the publishing process!

I first met The Thatchery when I was getting ready to publish RELUCTANT CASSANDRA. I was entirely new to the world of publishing. Making that initial call felt like I was crossing the threshold from "writer" to "author." I was so nervous! Like many first-time authors, I had a deep-seated fear that no one would 'get' my book. Monica quickly put my fears to rest. Her cover design was so perfect, it felt like she'd brought Arden McCrae and the town of Eagle Valley to life. Ever since, I've kept a printed-out version of the cover pinned to my bulletin board. It was confirmation that this story wasn't just a figment of my imagination anymore. Now RELUCTANT CASSANDRA was a real book, and other people could visit this world I created, too. 

This beautiful book cover opened so many doors when I started marketing RELUCTANT CASSANDRA. Selling does not come naturally to me. I even dreaded selling Girl Scout cookies when I was a kid, and those are possibly the most marketable things on this planet! So when I was speaking with booksellers or potential readers, I quickly noticed that I could let the cover do the hard work for me. If I started out just talking about the book, my own nerves would stop me from saying very much. But if I whipped out a bookmark or pulled up an image of the book cover on Amazon, I'd hear people say, "That looks amazing!" or "This looks exactly like something I would read! What's it about? Tell me more!"

Naturally, Monica is also behind the bookmarks and my Facebook banner. She designed the cover for my Channillo short story series, GHOSTS OF EAGLE VALLEY, too. Last year, she also created my website. It's safe to say I love everything Monica designs, and I'm a big fan of her work! (You can see more of her portfolio here.)

So when I finished self-editing EVERY LAST MINUTE, the first book in my Time Wrecker trilogy, I was eager to e-mail The Thatchery and see what Monica could dream up for the book cover. Despite the fact that this story has been running through my head for over six years, I had no ideas whatsoever about what the cover should look like. This story is science fiction, but it's also a romance. It explores the implications of time travel, but it also follows the marriage of two imperfect people that are perfect for each other. 

Monica's design took my breath away. I am beyond excited to share the cover for EVERY LAST MINUTE, designed by Monica Haynes of The Thatchery:

EVERY LAST MINUTE by Ellen Smith || Book cover designed by The Thatchery


Will and Mara Sterling are already living their dream. After surviving a tragic shooting, they both went on to finish college, fall in love, and start a new life together as husband and wife. That’s not to say things have been easy: Will suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and Mara has debilitating chronic pain from her gunshot wound. Despite it all, they feel lucky to be alive and even luckier to be in love.

Then a new initiative from the Justice Department offers Will and Mara the chance of a lifetime. The shooter has been rehabilitated and his crime qualifies for a timeline rectification. With Will and Mara’s consent, they can all travel through time back to the original scene of the crime, giving the gunman a chance to put things right.

It sounds like a dream come true, but both Will and Mara have their doubts. Timeline rectification—called “time wrecking” by its critics—have been the center of a politically charged debate since its inception. Will and Mara aren’t entirely sure where they fall on this issue and the clock is ticking for them to decide. Is it moral to change time for the rest of the world, just to undo one crime? Is it moral to deny the gunman a chance to correct his past crimes? And what if this one ripple means that they never meet...or fall in love?

Set in 2011, EVERY LAST MINUTE is the first book in the TIME WRECKER TRILOGY.

There's more work to be done before this book will be ready to hit the shelves. I'll be collaborating with a professional editor, formatting the inside of the book, and making super-important publishing decisions (White pages or cream? Should I add book club discussion questions to the end, or just post them here on my website?) But seeing the gorgeous cover for EVERY LAST MINUTE reminds me that this story isn't just my work-in-progress anymore. Now it's a book--and there are lots of people helping me polish it up before I send it out to all of you.

I can't wait.

Thanks to The Thatchery for creating a beautiful book cover for EVERY LAST MINUTE! To see more of Monica's work, check out her website or find her on Instagram.