Vintage Cover Art Behind the Scenes with Sharon Spiak and Shirley Green

In Episode 606. Behind the Scenes of Classic Cover Art: Shirley Green and Sharon Spiak, I learned about the behind-the-scenes process of creating some of the romance covers I know very well. It was a fascinating conversation, and if you’re at all interested, there’s a transcript as well as a few pictures in the show notes.

I also did a bonus episode video for the members of the podcast Patreon sharing images that Sharon and Shirley sent me, as well as a clip where they described one major photoshoot that became the stepback for the original cover Elizabeth Hoyt’s Scandalous Desires.

I had a really good time putting this together, and had additional images that didn’t fit in the podcast entry, so I thought you might like to see the bonus video, and check out the before/after cover images that show how the art moves from photograph to painting to book covers.

You can find Sharon Spiak on Instagram and at You can find Shirley Green’s portfolio and stock image collection at

And you can find the podcast wherever you get your favorite shows, and find us on YouTube!

And here are some of the images they shared with me!

The cover for For the Love of a Pirate by Edith Layton is one of my all time favorites, as I’ve mentioned. For the Love of a Pirate with the author's name in white on purple, and a painted image of two people about to go to bone town on some very jagged rocks with a wave about to drown them.


Here are some of the photos taken for that cover from the studio:

A photo of a White male model with his shirt off in black pants kneeling on a pillow and a bench with a White model with blonde hair and a pink dress straddling his leg. Behind him you can see another bench that she is also kneeling on.

Check out the pillows and the benches! Eventually, they’ll be jagged rocks, but I’m sure the models appreciated the pillows!

Another show from the photo shoot, this time his white shirt is half off and dangling down his back and he's intimately pressing his mouth against her neck.

This is in the video but I love the progression from photo to painting to cover for A Duchess a Day:

photo for Duchess for a Day with a white woman with long brown hair and a gold dress holding an apple in one hand as she leans away from a shirtless model in tan pants and boots. There are hands visible at the bottom right holding her dress away from her body and a stool and a block are visible behind the male for him to perch on while they pose

Note the hands in the lower right holding the dress out, and the stool with the phone book? maybe? (remember those?) behind him.

Painting by Sharon Spiak based on the photo, with the dress spreading out past the edges of the painting, and now he's leaning on a tree stump and they're in a glade in a forest.

And, of course, the cover:

The. final cover with the title A Duchess a Day by Charis Michaels on top of the painting images

Wow, right? Gorgeous.

Also in the video, but still worth looking at again:

A photograph of a white blonde woman in a wedding dress and waist length veil, resting her hand on a male model's chest. His shirt is open but still tucked in OF COURSE and she seems to be standing on a stool

Bridal gown, check.

Shirt unbuttoned but STILL TUCKED IN? Check!

The painting:

The same couple from the photograph but now they're on a stone staircase outside in a rose garden

And the stepback for Marrying Winterbourne: 

The printed stepback of marrying winterbourne, where the painting is now shaded in pink aside from the human figures

Isn’t that wild?

Here’s the stepback process for Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

A photograph of a woman leaning atop a shirtless man. She's in a gold gown that's off the shoulder, he is shirtless, she's semi-straddling him, and behind him are pillows and blankets to prop his arm on

Per Elizabeth Hoyt’s fabulous Pinterest, I know that the models pictured are Thierry Pepin and Michelle Cortabitarte. Lots of cushions! And a wooden bench or box!

And the resulting stepback image:

The leaning couple are now almost reclining on a stone bench in a very green garden and her gown is now peach colored

Seriously I could look at these all day. Fascinating.

But as I learned during the recording (and the audio was not usable, alas) the real star of every photo shoot is Rocky.

This is Rocky the Rockstarr Pomeranian, who you can follow on Instagram.

Sharon a white woman with red hair is holding the edge of the model's dress while she looks over her shoulder at the camera. On Sharon's lap is a very happy brown pomeranian and there are props and backdrops visible behind her

Rocky is clearly underused as a book cover model, right?

A pair of models recline in mid-pose with Rocky perched on their laps. A woman in a red period gown sits on top of a man laying down in a shirt Unbuttoned But Still Tucked In! And rocky looks very happy.

Shirt! Unbuttoned! But Still Tucked In!

And a very handsome Rocky.

Here’s cowboy Rocky with Timothy Adams:

A white man with great cheekbones in a cowboy hat and fringed jacket holds Rocky, who is wearing a bandana and hat to match

The hat, y’all.


A white dude with a leather jacket holding Rocky, who is wearing a pair of goggles


One more of Rocky? Yes, one more!

A blonde woman with a white empire gown holds Rocky, who is wearing a big bow!

As I mentioned, if this is your thing, you can find Sharon Spiak on Instagram and at

You can find Shirley Green’s portfolio and stock image collection at

MOST importantly, Rocky the Rockstarr Pomeranian is on Instagram!

And you can find the podcast wherever you get your favorite shows, and find us on YouTube!

What are some of your favorite classic covers?




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