The Story Behind the Picture – Julie Chibbaro

Our October theme is pretty cool, and not one that gets asked of authors very much: What’s the deal with your author photo?

I’ve been struggling with my author photo since my first novel Redemption was published in 2004. What picture would best represent me? Should I get a fancy headshot, or should I just pick something from what I’ve got? My first photo was a picture of me in Prague, where I lived for years. It was a city and time I loved in my life, and I felt thrilled to have it on my book.

By the time my second novel, Deadly, was ready, that picture no longer served me. I tried to take pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror (not successful.) I asked a photographer friend to help (the photos came out bad, I still don’t understand why.) I went to Sears photo studio (ok, I was too cheap to hire a real pro). Those Sears photos were SO awful, my editor at Simon & Schuster pretended I never sent them to her. Deadly ended up without a photo of me on the cover.

As the buzz for the book started to build, people started asking for an author photo. I needed a good one for my website, my social media stuff, all that. I became paralyzed by this need, for some reason (one of those things I knew I had to do, but just couldn’t do it right.) I couldn’t keep sending out the ghastly Sears photo of me that made me look like a fluffy Q-tip!

One day, just before Deadly came out, I got my hair cut short. My husband came home with a present for me – a new digital camera. I felt this spiritual culmination, and asked him to take a picture of me on the back porch of our orange house. That one became my author photo, and is the truest representation of me now. Finally.


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