The Real Secret McQueen – Cover Model Interview

As most fans of series fiction know, you need to have a consistent model on your front covers to give the books a unified image and to give readers a great first glimpse at their main character. As an author, you have spent so much time creating your heroine (or hero) you really want to get your covers to represent them perfectly.

I have to say, I got so, so lucky with my Secret McQueen covers. Not only do I get to work with the insanely talented Kanaxa (Kanaxa’s Website) but they also found a phenomenal model to represent Secret on the covers. Fans of Samhain’s romance titles will recognize model Morgan Miller from other titles by Lorelei James, Erin Nicholas and more, but she’s probably most recognizable as the model featured on every Secret McQueen cover.

With the sixth Secret book due out in a little over a week, I thought it might be fun to ask Morgan a few questions about her experience being a cover model, and how it feels to be Secret McQueen.

Sierra Dean: How much did you know about the series when you did the photoshoot for the books?

Morgan Miller: Prior to the photo shoot all I knew was that author Sierra Dean was coming out with a new series and they were looking for someone to act as the main character, Secret, for the cover of her books. They needed someone who could portray an “edgy, badass-type” while still being “pretty,” and luckily the photographer and art director thought of me!

SD: What was the strangest part of shooting for the covers? (The Santa hat? The wedding dress?) And what was the most fun?

MM: The strangest and most fun part of the entire shoot was holding all the weapons. That was my first time doing a photoshoot with props like guns and swords, but I loved it because it totally helped me get into the mindset of pretending like I could kick some butt!

SD: How many book covers have you been on? How cool was it to see yourself as a cover model for the first time?

MM: As of right now I have 13 book covers that I’m on! I did a romance-themed shoot a few months back so hopefully I’ll have some more covers to add to my list! But I’ll never forget the day I went into Barnes & Noble and saw myself on a COVER of an actual BOOK in a store that EVERYONE goes to! I think it’s awesome that I’ve been able to be a part of such a huge project. I think book covers will always be my favorite modelling opportunity that I’ve been given.

SD: What are you up to now?

MM: Now I am still working on my modelling career, doing photo shoots and promotional events as much as I can while continuing to work during the week as a preschool teacher.

SD: What would you do if someone recognized you as “Secret”?

MM: I would be so stoked if someone recognized me! I’ve had a few friends send me pictures of books they’ve found me on and it’s always super exciting!

SD: What would you LOVE to see on the final 2 covers of the series?

MM: Me of course! But honestly I love the element of surprise and I’m just as excited as every reader out there to see what’s next!

SD: Did you know there’s a character in the series named after you and the art director who did the shoot? (Morgan Scott, who debuted in Deep Dark Secret)

MM: Yes I learned this just recently! So cool!

I want to thank Morgan for taking the time to answer my questions. If you want to let her know how much you love her on the Secret Covers, leave a comment below.

Visit Morgan online at here website: Morgan Miller Online

And to see her in action on the next Secret Cover, order your copy of Secret Unleashed now!

Amazon / Nook / Kobo
Samhain Store

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I Like Romance… And That Doesn’t Make Me Stupid

Yesterday Twitter exploded when an intern posted a dismissive article about why the prose in romance novels could never manage to equal that in “real” literature, by comparing Nora Roberts to Vladimir Nabokov.

Let’s ignore for a moment that this argument compels us to believe that a beautifully written book about PEDOPHILIA is superior to a romance novel about consenting adults. After all, the intern wasn’t arguing about content, were they? No no, they were arguing about PROSE. And what romance author could ever hope to have as complete a command on the English language as a Russian man?

Let’s also forget that the article began with a sneering remark about 50 Shades of Grey. Oh, 50 Shades, how I love that this ONE book is now the touchstone for all discussions about romance and erotic romance fiction. Let’s ignore, naturally, the decades of authors who came before EL James, and focus solely on her trilogy as if it were the only example of the genre available.

Wait… no. Let’s NOT.

I will not discuss my feelings about James’s books here, primarily because I’ve only read a single chapter of one.

“But why?” a handful of you may ask.

Is it because of my English Literature degree (which I do have) or perhaps my BA in History (which I also have)? Does being an educated woman make me dismissive of the romance genre? Perhaps it was the inclusion of the Tess of the D’Urbervilles first edition (this, being my favorite book of all time, I should naturally despise the “As Featured in 50SOG tie-in editions… which I actually do). No. It was none of these things that made me set the book aside. I simply didn’t connect with it.

If I listed the last handful of books I’ve read, it would feature several X-Men graphic novels, biographies by David Sedaris and Keith Richards, the gloriously written Art of Fielding, and a half-dozen romance novels. I read a lot, and a lot across genres, so I’d like to say this is not just a rant by a romance novelist defending the genre, it is a rant by a voracious reader of all genres, who happens to be fed up with the stigmatization of romance novels.

The last two books to make me cry?

A Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which is, without a doubt, a romance novel.
Making it Last by Ruthie Knox, which tells the brutally honest and totally compelling story of a married couple trying to rediscover their footing in a flagging marriage.

That’s the thing about romance novels that I love. The good ones feature heroines I can see myself in. Strong, intelligent, funny, wonderful women who are experiencing things I have experienced. Break-ups, make-ups, fabulous and sometimes awkward sex, all while balancing real lives, friendships and careers. Romance novels aren’t always about women in low-cut bodices fainting into the embrace of a greased up Fabio. I’ve come to loathe the term “bodice-ripper” as a synonym for romance novels.

Quite frankly I’ve come to loathe the discourse that suggests being a fan of romance novels is something I should feel shame over. I don’t buy romance novels on my Kindle because I’m too embarrassed to buy the paperbacks. I buy them on my Kindle because I like getting a book at 2am, not to mention the amazing selection of Ruthie Knox’s, Lauren Dane’s, Cara McKenna’s and Charlotte Stein’s who publish in an ebook-first world. And those women I’ve just mentioned? Not a single one of them writes stupid books about stupid women. Their characters are real. They are strong and passionate and they are a representation of what REAL women are like.

So, not to put too fine a point on it, if you don’t like romance novels, that’s fine.

But don’t suggest I’m less intelligent than you because I enjoy them.

Don’t get in my face, or all over my internet space, and sneer dismissively at me because I write these books, and don’t tell my fans and my peers that they are less deserving of respect because they like a certain genre.

Quite frankly, you can take that kind of elitist snobbery and shove it up your ass.

I’m a romance writer.
I’m a romance reader.

And neither of those sentences should make me “less” than someone who reads and writes mainstream literature.

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Double Cover Art Reveal!

Here are the covers for two of my upcoming releases. Winter (Dog Days #2) comes out in November 2013, and Chasing Kings is being released through Samhain March 2014.

Winter Art by Kanaxa.
Chasing Kings Art by Angela Waters.

WinterLarge ChasingKings72lg

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Secret Unleashed Cover Reveal

SecretUnleashed72lg

As with the other books in the series, work done by the very talented Kanaxa.

Secret Unleashed will be out in October.

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Pitch Perfect Cover Reveal

Excited to share the cover with you. This one is for my upcoming baseball contemporary.

Cover Art by Kendra Egert

Pitch Perfect releases August 2013

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Praise for Sierra and her novels

“I had such fun reading this book! SOMETHING SECRET THIS WAY COMES is a very fast-paced book with a real kick ass chick as a heroine.”

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