Cynthia: We’re sitting in the living room going over our proposal from Area Focal , the company we’ve chosen to handle so much of this publishing business we’re clueless about–photography, branding, web design, social media. We’ve barely met Oscar Bravo, the owner, and hope we’re making a good decision, trusting he and his people are going to do a great job.
Edd: At least he speaks good English. That’s a start!
C: Absolutely necessary in this case. We have a good feeling about this guy and have learned to go with our gut in situations like this. Once the agreement is reached I’m thinking, now we have to discuss the schedule. I like schedules, so I jump right in, “To begin with, we need covers for these three books.” And Oscar says, “Let’s do them on Sunday.”
E: This is three days away and we’re like, “All three in one day??” And he says, “Sure, why not?” Maybe he was channeling our previous “por qué no” days.
C: I’ll tell you why not. We’re just two regular people. We have no modeling experience. Three photo shoots in ONE DAY?!? This is going to be a lot of thinking about clothes, hair, and makeup. And the gray has to go, so a salon appointment on Saturday has to happen. I’ll definitely be wearing what’s in my closet because I don’t shop for clothes here. No time for that anyway!
E: So now that your panic attack is over we say, “Great! What time will you pick us up?”
C: Sunday morning bright and early we climb in the car and head to the New Cathedral at Parque Calderón. The massive building has gorgeous front doors and Oscar’s idea is to shoot the cover there because the title of Volume I, “Leap of Faith” sort of has a religious reference. “Okay mi amigo, you’re in charge here.”
E: At least we didn’t have to haul around a bunch of clothes. It was great that the second session was scheduled later in the afternoon and the last one right after that in our apartment. But we still looked like a couple of knuckleheads standing in the main square with safari clothes on. You wearing a pith helmet and me with binoculars.
C: We get there and find those big beautiful doors flanked by two vendor stands with big ugly umbrellas, and a bigger, uglier garbage truck right in front of the church. Oof. Time to come up with a Plan B.
E: Being “The Talent”–such a silly thing to call us–we wait in the shade while Oscar and his partner Chris scramble around looking at different angles and checking lighting. They decide to move us to a diagonal corner under some trees. By now the truck is thankfully gone, so we get into position and are told to look confused. After taking a few pictures Oscar says, “Cynthia, why are you smiling in every picture? You’re supposed to be lost and concerned.”
C: Because I’m not a damn model and that’s what I do when my picture is taken–smile. Obviously, I didn’t practice that face and found it difficult to “perform” spontaneously.
E: Eventually they seem satisfied and we went into a big courtyard area next to the cathedral for a coffee and some more relaxed photos. Then home to collapse a while until they showed up again. It’s likely most people, like us, have never done a professional photo shoot before. Next time you’re reading a magazine with all the models in those ads, know that what they’re doing isn’t as easy as it looks.
C: Of course, what you also suspect is how much touch-up the photos receive to make those models so flawless. Check out our cover. There weren’t enough people in the background so some were added. A traffic light was removed. And the sun caused all sorts of problems. You looked like St. Edd with a halo reflecting off your bald head, and my blouse was covered with blotches from the light coming through the trees. All magically removed.
E: It’s fun to share these behind-the-scenes details because everything we’re discussing was as brand new to us as it probably is to our readers. I mean, we had an idea to turn all these blogs into three books but knew absolutely nothing about the actual process.
C: But you know what? With a lot of work and lot of help we did it. And look what happened–rookies with an Amazon best-seller for goodness sakes!
E: I can’t wait for Volume II, “Letting Go,” to come out. As soon as we get off the plane in Ecuador all kinds of shenanigans start happening, and I just know readers are going to love it. You want to talk about how you had a pony tail added on that cover?
C: No, I do not. How about you being so tired for the last cover that they had to draw a smile on your face?
E: This could get ugly. What do they say in movies? It’s a wrap!