Meet “Michael.” I met his family in Miami while waiting to set sail on a cruise ship. While sitting in a terminal full of hundreds of passengers, I had to chuckle when I happened to look a few seats away and notice the similarities between this soon-to-be-model and the other young man I’d already selected to be on the cover.
Annie Theiss-Inge, the original designer, always believed that I should include both of the main characters (Phillip and Michael) on the cover. I agreed, and to my surprise that day in Miami, I’d found the perfect match. This young man’s father explained to me that one of his best friends is a professional photographer named Bryan Huff (from Huffoto), and believe it or not, tree frogs happen to be one of Bryan’s favorite things to photograph.
When discussing possible cover designs with Jim Howard, an executive publisher with Morgan James, he thought both models were brothers in real life. That’s when I knew for certain that I had made the right decision. I’m honored to have this young man from Tennessee representing “Michael.” He is a very talented individual, and I have no doubt that he will have a tremendously successful life!
Many people have asked me about the models I’ve chosen for the cover of my novel, and needless to say, there’s an interesting and inspirational story behind each of them. This “boy in red” has certainly generated a lot of attention from people who admire the cover. It is truly amazing how much his physical traits are a perfect match for one of the brothers in Song of the Tree Frogs. This “Phillip” was originally considered to be “Michael,” but as I continued to edit this current novel, I felt he fit the role of the narrator (Phillip) much better, and further down in this article, you’ll understand why.
After speaking with this model, and getting to know his personal story, I knew he had to be a part of the cover. I wanted Phillip and Michael to be characters that anyone could strike up a conversation with anywhere, and after numerous talks over the phone, this model met my expectations of someone who was both genuine and authentic, just as I imagined my characters to be in the story.
Jim Howard, Publisher (at Morgan James), shared with me that he couldn’t get the “boy in red” out of his mind the entire time he was reading my novel. As a result, he decided to stick with the original cover concept that I had proposed. Given the fact that Jim has worked with nearly 2000 different authors, I knew from his comments and expertise that I’d placed this model in the correct role for the cover.
“Phillip” lives in Alabama—the actual setting for my novel. He and his girlfriend raise horses together, and they both make use of their knowledge and skills in running an extremely successful therapeutic riding program for clients with special needs. “Phillip” is a very talented young man with a promising future. He has truly influenced my life in many positive ways (confirming my belief that God places special people into our lives for His divine purpose). In fact, our families have bonded over time, and we consider each other as family. My hope is that this “boy in red” will also find his way into your heart and mind as you read Song of the Tree Frogs.
*Special thanks to Mrs. Tina Goss for her photographs of “Phillip.”