Mary Montague Sikes is an award-winning author, freelance writer, photographer, artist, and teacher who loves to travel, especially to glamorous tropical locations. Because Monti‘s settings include exotic destinations like Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, the Bahamas, and St. Martin, her publisher, Oak Tree Books, created the Passenger to Paradise series for her novels. Her most recent research trips carried her to Los Cabos on the western coast of Mexico, to Yellowstone National Park, and to Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. Inspired by the Ansel Adams-type scenery, she took hundreds of photographs during those trips. Her published work includes four novels, a “how to” book, a coffee table book, an anthology, and hundreds of feature newspaper and magazine articles.
The Fredericksburg, Virginia native has presented workshops on promotion and marketing, painting, and writing to state and national conventions as well as to many local writers’ and artists’ groups. Her paintings are exhibited widely in Virginia and are in private and public collections in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Her art work is represented by Prince George Art and Frame in Williamsburg. She maintains a studio and a gallery at Petersburg Regional Art Center. Sikes holds a BA in psychology from the University of Mary Washington and a MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University.
What invites you as a reader to pick out a book and buy it? Does the cover draw you in? Or is it the blurb on the back that entices you to want to read the book?
Those thoughts come to mind as I look at the cover and the back of my recently-released book, Night Watch. I love the cover, but I wonder if readers will like it as much as I do.
Because my novels usually have an exotic setting, my publisher—Oak Tree Books—has created the Passenger to Paradise series for them. The series has its own logo—the silhouette of a woman with her roller bag. It’s the perfect logo for my books because I’ve spent many an hour pulling my roller bag through distant airports.
Night Watch is an adventure/romance set in Trinidad and is based on a series of experiences I actually had when my husband and I visited that island a few years ago. Before we left I had visions of a glamorous escapade like Bogart and Bergman in the movie Casablanca experienced. Foolish me, I even wore heels and a white linen suit to live the part.
As I wrote Night Watch, it was fun reliving the trip to Trinidad. Of course, we didn’t face the dangers my characters face, but we had some pretty exciting and harrowing adventures on the island.
My books usually include a paranormal touch, and this one does as well. But, it’s up to the reader to decide, in the end, if my heroine actually had a paranormal relationship with the past.
I would love to hear how covers influence the books readers buy. I would also like to know from readers of Night Watch what you think about the heroine’s experience.