Where in the world is Image 87? The face of Luna Cruz, the main character in my second novel, Crater County, was hatched in a graphic artist's studio in Albuquerque a few years ago. I needed a cover model for my second novel, and my graphic designer showed me a collection of stock photos on her computer. After an hour of close calls, the 87th head shot seemed to shout "Pick me, pick me! I'm Luna Cruz"
Neither of us had any idea who Image 87 was, but she had signed off on the rights to the image of her face to a stock photo company that the graphic artist had permission to re-use commercially. We have no idea when the photo was taken, she could be her in fifties by now. There was something timeless about the face, and her hair style was pulled back into a tight bun that could be popular today, or hundreds of years ago.
Image 87 looks Latina, but she could be Eastern European, Middle Eastern, or perhaps even a Gypsy. She has a Mona Lisa expression. There is a sadness about her, but also a grim determination.
We just clicked and Image 87 became our intellectual property. We did not call Image 87 for a re-shoot, we just used the image "as is" and the graphic artist photo-shopped it onto a desert landscape to create the cover. I had thought that the landscape depicted Shiprock in New Mexico, but the landscape actually showed Left Mitten at Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation. So when the book proclaims it is a "legal thriller of New Mexico," there are two lies-- first the photo shows Utah, and second, no one knows if Image 87 has ever even been here.
I wonder if that unleashes some type of curse.
Lord knows where else Image 87 has been. She might have been on the cover of a novel about a gypsy stuck in an arranged marriage or on the back of a bus promoting a telenovela about drugs wars in Juarez. I can also see her image selling Native American jewelry in the Navajo Nation or perhaps face cream products in Paraguay. She does bear a resemblance to the woman who depicted "Carmen Sandiego" in the game, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? so maybe she's on a game somewhere.
As she had already signed over her rights to the company, and presumably was paid, we did not have to notify Image 87, so she probably does not even know that she was on the cover of the book. The book came out nearly a decade ago and I have not heard anything.
She could be a grandmother by now. She could be in law school on her own. She might even be married to a drug lord and the real subject of a novel herself.
Does Image 87 ever gets recognized, and people think that she's a famous literary lawyer? The book sold out its first printing, and is well into a second, so thousands of people all over the world have seen her. With the advent of ebooks, her fame will continue to spread far and wide.
Does she know? Does she care?
Where in the world is Image 87?