A Cover Photoshoot

So, Anne Hoppe, the editor for mine and Justine Larbalestier’s TEAM HUMAN, told us that they would be doing a photoshoot for the cover. ‘Cool’ we said. ‘Very fancy!’ we added, because often covers are made from stock photographs and not photographs taken specially.

Anne continued that she and other wise people at Harper Collins were going to choose models for the four characters they wanted on the cover: Mel, our sporty wisecracking heroine who thinks vampires are losers, Cathy her pensive, book-loving best friend who thinks vampires are dreamy, Kit, who was raised by vampires and is kind of a mommy’s boy, and Francis, the dreamiest vampire and most accomplished lute player of them all.

‘I can’t wait to see them!’ I said in an agony of joy.

‘Wait,’ said Anne. ‘You will both be in New York around that time, won’t you? Do you want to come to the photoshoot? It’ll be quite bor–‘

‘DO I EVER!’ I said. ‘I must choose what to wear to the photoshoot?’

My roommate pointed out they were unlikely to be taking pictures of me, given that we would be surrounded by models.

‘So… dress inconspicuously, you’re saying,’ I said wisely. ‘Business ninja chic. I gotcha.’

Aside from the heels covered in polkadots, I like to think I accomplished my goal.

The photoshoot was located at the top of a very tall building. New York has no shortage of those. I, naturally, got lost and Scott Westerfeld, Justine’s other half, was deputed to come find me. Having secured me, I was deposited with Justine and our editor Anne outside some large, black doors.

I was VERY nervous. I’m not sure why. I had never done anything so fancy as go to a photoshoot for my own cover before, so I didn’t want to get going to the photoshoot wrong.

ANNE: Do you want a drink of water before we go in?

SARAH: Is that a trick question?!

We were ushered in to a large, warehouse-like room, with material fold-out chairs like directors’ chairs where we could sit. And racks of clothes, and people bustling about four very attractive people.

We’d seen a rough sketch of the cover, so we knew how they were going to be positioned–three on the front, the heroine in the centre, one on the back. We hadn’t seen the people actually chosen to portray the characters before.

I admit it, I was staring.

SARAH: There they are! THERE ARE OUR BABIES.

JUSTINE: No, no, no. There are people you don’t know. Quit giving them the google eyes.

SARAH: *googles hard*

There was a black backdrop, and lights that shone like the eyes of intently watching vampires. There were outfit changes, and we got to leaf through the models’ bios and hear how they were chosen. Justine took pictures, like a normal person.



Our Francis and Cathy, posed together under the lights.

I stalked the models, like a crazy person.

At one point I sidled over to the model playing Mel. She told me her name, but I continued to think of her as Mel.

SARAH: Hiiii. Oh, I, uh, I wrote the book. With the Australian one over there. Me. Me and her. Hiiii.

MEL: Hi. So, cool that I’m going to be in the center!

SARAH: Yes. YES. You are the star. You are the MOST important. You look JUST RIGHT. You have an EXCELLENT smile. And also eyes.

MEL: Oh… thank you.

MEL: *starts to edge away from the googly eyes*

I wish I could tell you that was where it ended, with me debatably hitting on our cover model. But… that would be telling you a lie.

The models playing Mel and Kit began to talk to each other. They were laughing and chatting, and seemed to be having a good time. Everyone was having a good time! Photoshoots are so much fun.

SARAH: Justine… Justine look!

JUSTINE: Why must we keep staring at these people?

SARAH: Look at them talking to each other!

JUSTINE: Sometimes people do that. And sometimes they hiss at other people like maniacs. Apparently…

SARAH: MAYBE THEY WILL FALL IN LOVE!

JUSTINE: Sarah, please tell me you are not matchmaking our models. Though they do seem to be having fun togeth… Sarah where are you going?

SARAH: I’m going to go lurk behind the sofa so I can see them better. SEE HOW THEY ARE GETTING ALONG.

ANNE: What is she doing? Can we stop her?

SARAH: Secret agent mannnnn… secret agent mannnnn… they’ve given me a sofa… and taken away my name…

I think the Mel and Kit models thought that I had lost an earring behind that sofa. Better that way. Much better that way.

On covers, models mostly look quite serious and dramatique, as they are on a mission. (Friends don’t let friends date vampires!) But as the photoshoot went on, we did see that the Mel and Kit models both had really great smiles.

It seemed a pity not to record them.

ANNE: Do you guys want to go to lunch now?

SARAH: Noooo I don’t wanna gooooo I wanna stay here with my people and my sofa and my–

JUSTINE: Yep. Lunch. Great idea! But before we go… Hi, guys, would it be okay to get a picture before we go?

MEL & KIT MODELS: Yes, of course! *model faces*

JUSTINE: Hey, relax, this is just fun.

KIT MODEL: Oh… okay then! Well, in that case…

That was when Kit startled Mel by grabbing her and lifting her right off her feet! We all started laughing. I also googled so hard it’s a wonder my eyes didn’t fall out.



ANNE AND JUSTINE: Bye guys thanks you were great!

SARAH: Goodbye I love yoooooo-

ANNE AND JUSTINE: *drag Sarah off*

I admit I find being a writer a super cool adventure. But I know other authors handle it with aplomb and elan. I cannot help freaking out and bringing shame to a legion of poker-faced badasses. Such is my fate.

ANNE: I hope you guys liked the models we chose!

JUSTINE: Oh they were amazing.

SARAH: I loved them! Maybe I loved them TOO MUCH. And I love staring creepily at people!

It is clear to all that, of the two of us, I have a natural affinity for Team Vampires. Vampires, good starers.

And this was the cover we wound up with…


My babies. *continues googling*

In Justine’s native land of Australia, we are being published by Allen & Unwin, and they decided to use the same photoshoot but make the cover different, to suit the different Australian market! Thus is much beauty brought about by a photoshoot.

Behold!



I hope you guys like the models and the covers and most of all, I hope you like the book.

Just last week, we got confirmation that Kirkus like the book, because they gave Team Human a STARRED REVIEW.

Both lovers and loathers of teen vampire romance will revel in this hilarious satirical take on the genre.

Mel might not exactly have her own life sorted out, but she’s always been there for her BFFs, Cathy and Anna. She indulges Cathy’s passion for history, ruins and old things in general; that is, until Francis Duvarney enrolls in their high school. Vampires may be both dead and deadly, but they are also a legally tolerated minority and even tourist attractions—and Francis, with his mesmerizing good looks and stuffy arrogance, is irresistible to an old-fashioned girl like Cathy. Meanwhile, Anna sees Francis as an unbearable reminder of the collapse of her parents’ marriage. Mel knows her duty to both of them: prove that Francis is up to no good, whether the clues lead her into the city’s terrifying vampire district, the school’s rat-infested basement, or even the arms of a cute guy. While primarily an affectionate parody of the genre, filled with clever allusions and devastating snark, the story also sympathetically illuminates the allure of vampire romance, for characters and readers alike. In an unexpectedly poignant turn, it becomes a celebration of love in all its forms: crushes and spouses, parents and children, brothers and sisters, families born and created, and, above all, friends tested and true.

Laugh-out-loud funny, heart-wrenchingly sad and fist-pump-in-the-air triumphant, this sparkling gem proves that vampires, zombies and even teenagers … at heart, we’re all on Team Human.

I googled pretty hard at that, let me tell you.

TEAM HUMAN, coming to a store near you July 3rd.

RESTRAINING ORDERS FILED BY MODELS AGAINST ME, hopefully not coming at all. But you never know.

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