The Editor-Model Hybrid Is Born: Posing For Jean Plaidy Covers with Editor Heather Lazare

Heather Lazare is the Associate Publishing Manager and Associate Editor of Three Rivers Press. You can see parts of her on the repackaged editions of Jean Plaidy’s Novels of the Tudors series: A Favorite of the Queen, For A Queen’s Love, Mary, Queen of France, and The Sixth Wife.

”What’s up with all the headless women?”

As an editor, the last thing you think anyone is going to say to you is, “Hey, do you want to be the model for a few book jackets?”

But when our jacket designer needed more photos for the repackaged Jean Plaidy series, she realized she had the funds to hire the photographer but not a model; and thus the editor-model hybrid was born.

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One September day in 2008, I spent an afternoon in the East Village with photographer Barry Marcus and our designer, Laura Duffy. There were wigs galore, luscious costumes created by Sharon Spiak, and far more makeup than I’ve ever worn. At the end of the day, we had hundreds of photos and I was exhausted—turns out, standing still is surprisingly tough work.

• See the whole photo set on Flickr

Once Laura had all the photos, she created numerous jackets, and pretty soon, I was walking into jacket meetings in which topics of discussion included my neck. When we finalized the jackets and put them in our catalog we talked to our field reps about their thoughts. One rep said, “So, what’s up with the headless women?”

Blushing, I found myself fumbling while trying to explain that we wanted the sense of allure, of distance—Jean Plaidy wrote about real historical women and having someone who doesn’t look a thing like Elizabeth I on a jacket could be jarring to a reader. Then again, the other half of me wanted to just tell them, “Well, because it’s the same woman on most of the jackets. Me.”

A couple of the finished book jackets:

So this is the headless editor, signing off. I hope you like the new look of Jean Plaidy and enjoy the final two books in the Novels of the Tudors series.

About Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

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