Earlier this year, KWL held a contest for those with a soon-to-be-released novel – the prize: a professionally-designed cover!

The lucky winner is Melissa Yi, doctor, mother, and author of medical mysteries and more. Kobo caught up with her between hospital shifts, toddler tantrums, and editing sessions to ask a few questions about her new book and the process of helping to create her prize:

When did you first hear that you’d won the contest?
I got an e-mail in my inbox with a subject line like Congratulations – Contest – Kobo Writing Life, and I assumed it was spam. But it was personalized spam, so I clicked on it, and I was stunned to discover that, out of thousands of entrants in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., I’d won a professional e-book cover. I rarely win things. The last thing I remember winning was some soaps and bath salts at a medical conference ten years ago, so this was huuuuge.

Didn’t you win some writing contests?
Oh, yes. That’s right. Second place in Writers of the Future. I was part of the anthology, The Dragon and the Stars, that won the Aurora award in 2011. I won the Innermoonlit Award and the Cornwall Library awards, plus a few others. I don’t know why the bath salts came to mind first.

Well, cleanliness is important. Moving on. Which book is being featured?
Terminally Ill, the third book in my medical mystery series featuring Hope Sze, a resident “detective doctor” who solves crimes when she’s not getting yelled at by patients or her supervising physicians. This book takes Hope in a new direction. An escape artist named Elvis chains and nails himself in a coffin before plunging into the St. Lawrence River, and his heart stops underwater. After Hope resuscitates him and saves his life, he asks her to figure out who sabotaged his stunt and nearly drowned him.

Was it difficult to write the resuscitation scene?
Not really. I’m an emergency doctor.

That’s right. Was it harder to write the magic scenes?
Yes. Luckily, there’s this fantastic invention called the Internet. First of all, I listened to a CBC Radio DNTO podcast and was inspired by Dean Gunnarson, the Canadian escape master who attempted this stunt in 1982. Dean kindly gave me permission to use the stunt, and the magicians at The Magic Cafe helped me puzzle out the ending.

How’s the cover coming along?

Swept off her feet!

Swept off her feet!

Beautifully. Kobo hooked me up with Scarlett Rugers, an Australian book designer, who started reading the book so she could brainstorm concepts. She made up three different designs for me to choose from, so I posted them to Facebook and asked for some more opinions. Now we’re just hammering out the finer details. Scarlett is creative, smart, efficient, and accessible―can’t ask for more than that. I also have to give a shout out to Kobo, who’ve gone above and beyond on this contest. For example, even though the contest didn’t include paying for stock art, Kobo covered the cost anyway. And when I met Kobo director Mark Lefebvre at a writing conference, I literally got carried away.

So when is the book coming out?
February 1, 2014, just to give us the lead time to reach bookstores and review magazines. But in the meantime, you could read the two previous Hope Sze books, Code Blues and Notorious D.O.C. Or you could try out magic tricks, although I really don’t recommend nailing yourself in coffins.

And here is the book cover in question:



About the Author

melissa yiMelissa Yi is the super-secret code name for Melissa Yuan-Innes, an emergency doctor who writes as much as possible when she isn’t a) working, or b) carrying her screaming two-year-old away from bouncy castles. She lives with her family and two cows in the countryside between Montreal and Ottawa. www.melissayuaninnes.com

Check out her books on Kobo!

About the Artist

scarlett rutgersScarlett Rugers’ job is a book cover designer and a Publishing Identity Consultant. Her purpose is to empower you to be the best author you can be, and collaborate with you to improve the quality of the book industry. She is constantly working to inspire, strengthen and pursue the perception that self-publishing is professional publishing.

For an experience that will make you feel traditionally published you can email her at: contact (at) scarlettrugers (dot) com or visit her website and see her work. She is also on twitter at @thebookdesignr.

She’s also written guests posts for us before on book cover design:

6 expert tips on designing a great book cover

What to look for in a book cover designer

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