Squawk Radio

Monday, May 15, 2006


The truth is that I don't know Spanish. But I wish I did! You know those educational dreams you have, and tuck away somewhere as time passes? One of mine was to learn Spanish, marry a Spaniard, and spend my life in a Spanish village, with a vine of ever-blooming flowers over the roof. I would have a bra size at least three bigger than that given to me by nature, and wear my hair tumbling down by back. I would be gorgeous, a Spanish Sophia Loren and when a band played in the village piazza (OK, that's Italian because I don't know Spanish), I would drive everyone wild with my brilliant dancing.

Hey, the nature of fantasy is that it's FANTASY! It may also be cliched, but since we get many of our fantasies from cliches, that makes sense.

Alas, no Spaniard ever invited me to Barcelona, my bra size is as small as it ever was, and even worse--I'm not sure I have enough time left in my life to learn Spanish. Under those circumstances, it gave me particular pleasure when my books were picked up by a Spanish publisher. Here's my very first cover, for Much Ado About You, apparently a bestseller in hardcover (Spanish women have SUPERB taste--did I mention that?).

One need look for evidence no further than the fact that it appears that the Squawkers are pretty much beloved in Spain. One reason may be that Spanish publishers really seem to understand covers. Look at Terri's: these two books have gorgeous, romantic covers (we call these "real estate" covers).

Lisa's publisher in Spain has take a different tact and given her dreamy pictures of young women. They're absolutely beautiful -- which may explain Lisa's bestseller status in Spain! She went on a tour last year and had a wonderful time meeting her fans in Barcelona and Madrid.

It's also fun to see how differently Spanish publishers treat historical versus contemporary covers. I'm putting two of Christina's books here, a historical and a contemporary. The contemporary is bold and sexy; the historical is sexy too, but in a mediated, more delicate fashion.

Of course Harlequin is a huge seller in Spain, and you can tell from Liz's covers why contemporary romance is so popular. They're funny, jazzy and sexy.

I think we might be able to see at least part of the reason why Spanish romance sells so well in the huge variety of Squawker covers I've pasted here. They seem to be making superb use of women on their covers.

I know the "cover controversy" rages on . . . but what do you think of these covers? Do you think that American art departments might learn something from their European counterparts? Would you pick up these books?
Eloisa James, 4:10 PM