Interview With David Wagner

Forgive me if this intro is a little all over the map.  It's Friday and I'm pretty excited about today's feature... I know I've been off the radar lately, but ONLY because the publication date for Soul Resurrected is around the corner (this will be a separate blog post announcement next week).  There is SO MUCH going on with this book!  I'm doing a read-thru of the MS that will be off to the editor next week sometime.

*clutches stomach*

In addition, the cover art is well on its way to reveal--mark your calendars--for AUGUST 29TH, 2013 (I'll be getting with my bloggers to help me show it off!).  The gorgeous cover model, Julian, has already been photographed for it by the very talented, David Wagner as I mentioned in a previous post.  I have a special treat at the bottom of this post...but you MUST read the interview first!!  No peeking.

David is also designing the book cover!

It's been an absolute blast collaborating him, pulling the image of Logan from my head into real life.  Only a patient person who's very attentive to details could manage such a feat in all the clutter I've got going on upstairs, and let me tell you, David is both.  I'm sure my author buds would agree, its an incredibly thrilling moment to see a character materialize just as you imagined.  And to top it off, David's enthusiasm in gathering and teasing out those details keeps me questioning how such collaboration can be considered 'work'.

Imagine someone asking you to gush about a character:  "Tell me his story and give me as many details as you can."

In the short time I've worked with David, I've come to look at him as somewhat of a kindred spirit.  So I thought I'd break from my read-thru to get a more in-depth look at his brilliance--the part of these mouthwatering photographs that you don't get to see.

KL: David, thank you for taking the time to let me pick your brain.  Why don't you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself: 

DW:  I grew up in a very rural part of southwest Missouri. I was lucky enough to be born to very caring parents who are still very much in love, and have just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. I’m the youngest of 3, I have one brother and one sister. I grew up out in the country next door to my grandparents who both had a great knack for storytelling. So I spent a lot of my summers as child with my grand parents and their siblings listening to their stories of living during the time of the great depression, driving Ford Model T’s, and their memories of seeing a movie for the first time or to see an airplane for the first time.

I was drawing pictures of things around our house from the time I was 3. I drew vases. I drew houses. I drew the faces of people on the cover of Life Magazine. My favorite tv show as a child was Bewitched and I knew at a young age I wanted to be like Darrin Stephens. I wanted to be in advertising. I was lucky enough to receive an art scholarship to Missouri State University. My degree was in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design and Photography. It was there in a beginners photography class (black and white, film) that I fell in love with photography. But I felt that advertising was the better choice for finding a job when I graduated so I got my first job in advertising as an art director in 1985. I worked in Advertising for 22 years, really loved it and I think it was a great foundation to be come a photographer.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer and went through a very intense and challenging chemo protocol. At one point I had a severe allergic reaction to one of my chemo drugs and had to be put on a respirator for a few days. Over a four month hospital stay, I had two surgeries, a pulmonary embolism, and a ruptured upper intestine. Several times I was told to be prepared and say my goodbyes, but because of an amazing family, nurses, doctors and friends, I went into full remission. But it only lasted 3 months. At that point I had to have an experimental protocol of high dose chemo and a stem cell transplant. I was told I had a 35% chance of getting into remission and a 15% to 20% of dying from the treatment itself. Odds didn’t really seem to be in my favor but it was my only option. This was a very rough period. Basically prior to the chemo, they harvested my own stem cells that would be frozen and then given back to me after my treatment. This is done because high dose chemo is so toxic it completely ruins your immune systems ability to ever let you recover. So you get this chemo that basically get you to the brink of death, and then they infuse your back with your own frozen stem cells which were not affected by the chemo and that brings your immune system back and enables you to recover. I think that experience caused a huge shift in my life that made me feel that it was time to re-evaluate and stop doing things I didn’t want to do and to do more of what I wanted to do.

And what I wanted to do was photograph people.

KL: What an incredible journey.  You beat the odds, came out on top and ultimately pursued what you love.  Truly an inspiration!  So how did you break into photography and cover design?

DW: I think the first part of this question was answered above. One of my very best friends has been a book cover illustrator for years and he was looking for someone to take photographs of models for him to use as a basis for his photo illustrations. So that’s how the book cover work started.

KL: You can check out some of David's cover work HERE

What do you predominantly photograph?

DW: Most of my work is for fiction romance and paranormal novels. And since the majority of those covers require photographing very handsome and built men, this has expended my areas of expertise to fitness photography, and fashion photography.

KL: Handsome, built men you say?  Suddenly wishing I had some camera talent...  Do you have any requirements while photographing that get you in the zone? 

DW: My only requirement is a comfortable, relaxed, stress-free environment. No egos, no drama…from myself or the models.

KL: Have you ever photographed anyone famous?

DW: The most famous person I’ve photographed is probably the most well-known fitness model, Greg Plitt. Greg has probably been on the cover of more fitness magazines than any other model and was also one of the trainers on Bravo’s “Workout”.

KL: What do you love most about your job?

DW: I’m still in awe of light and how it shows us things and hides things from us. And it’s fascinating to try to control that to tell a story.

KL: Is there a model you’d love to photograph someday?

DW: I think my two favorite models that I would love to work with are David Gandy and Tony Ward. They are both exceptional models who really push the envelope and are willing to be seen in untraditional ways.

KL: Gandy?  *zones out* Yeah, so, when you book his shoot, let me know.  Happy to be *cough* an assistant or something.  Have you designed covers for any well-known authors?

DW: I think the most well know author that I’ve shot cover photography for would be Kresley Cole.

KL: Pause.

I'm sorry, I MUST take a moment to fangirl.

KRESLEY COLE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Okay, moving on.  Is there an author whose cover you’d love to design some day?

DW: Well, I hope to continue to work with author Keri Lake. Beyond that I would love to do covers for some other authors that are not really in the romance/paranormal genre, such as Michael Cunningham, David Sedaris, Dan Brown, Michael Chabon and Caleb Carr

KL: I'm very much hoping to continue working with you as well, David!  If you could hop into a time machine and travel to any point in history, who would you love to meet and why?

I would go to Florence Italy in the 15th century and would try to apprentice with Michelangelo or DaVinci. I think this time of enlightenment, a time when art was as important (and actually part of) science would be wonderful.


Life Motto to Live By: Follow your passion. Trite I know, but it’s true.

Favorite Movie: The Hours

Favorite Song/Band: Annie Lennox, “Why”

Favorite Book: Sorry have to give you 2: “The Hours” and “Confederacy of Dunces”

Favorite Drink: Again, 2 answers: Diet Coke and any decent wine.

Guilty Pleasure: Diet Coke and any decent wine.

Star Wars or Star Trek: Oh, SO easy…Star Trek all the way!!!! But with much respect for Star Wars

Batman or Superman: Superman!


If you're looking to have some cover design work, get in touch with David!  Let's just take a moment to summarize what makes him a fantastic guy to work with:

  • He's so easy going
  • Has years of experience in advertising and design work
  • Fun to work with and very detail-oriented
  • Has designed covers for some well-known authors (KRESLEY COLE!!!!!!!!)
  • He's got connections to some very sexy men.

Wanna find out how to get in touch with him?



And now ...

here's a special sneak peek teaser from Julian's photoshoot and a quote from Soul Resurrected!

This is NOT the actual photo that will be on the cover.  This is just to get your mouth watering until August 29th, when I'll be doing the actual cover reveal!

Grab your drool bib.

Meet Logan from Soul Resurrected:

"Not following.  And to be honest, I’m caring less the more you talk.  So let’s cut the shit and start the bleeding.”  Logan flipped the dagger in his hand.  “My hand gets twitchy after a while."

- Soul Resurrected (A Sons of Wrath Novel)