Jack is Real for Courtney
Courtney Lopes, one half of Designing Women (she and her twin sister, Ashley, are graphic designers for Team Jack), was a bit nervous the first time she met Marie face-to-face. Marie, was, after all, a New York Times bestselling author. But Courtney had nothing to worry about. She had lunch with Marie in Alexandria, Virginia “and most of the conversations involved talking about love scenarios in her books! I can only imagine what the people eating around us were thinking. I left thinking she was the coolest ‘boss’ ever!”
While Courtney began working as a freelance designer for Marie in the spring of 2013, she didn’t meet her ‘boss’ until September of 2014. Courtney works from her home in VA and Marie lives in Rhode Island. When Courtney started the job, she had just found out she was pregnant. “Mama could stock up on diapers!” she thought.
Courtney says she was still learning her role as a working mom to her daughter, Harper, when she started working at Team Jack. Marie’s grandniece is also named Harper, and Courtney and Marie bonded and shared photographs of their “Harper girls.”
“It’s been the most exciting and rewarding job working for Marie,” Courtney says. “I have learned so much as a designer and I greatly appreciate all the opportunities she has given me,” adding, “it’s an honor to be a part of her journey as a successful author.”
“For every project Marie gives us an idea of what she’s looking for and most of the time, leaves it up to us to search for the perfect image,” she says of the creative designs she and Ashley create. “It’s nice to have that creative freedom, but it’s also fun to take the images Marie sends us and bring them to life on a book cover. I always look forward to her feedback and with each cover I try to push myself as a designer to do something better than I did previously.”
And let’s face it—who else gets to design a hot book cover featuring her twin sister and her twin sister’s husband, starring as Hope and Paul in Love After Dark? (Haven’t heard that story? Check it out here.)
Courtney says she loves working with Team Jack and that her husband and family think it’s really cool when they see Marie’s books on the shelves, “especially the ones I had a hand in designing.”
She half-jokingly says she sees Lifetime movies in the future for Marie’s books (lots of people have asked…an agent’s always on the lookout for opportunities). She says she can picture many of the books brought to life but that she also sees a future of great success and many more great books written by her talented author boss.
When asked to describe Marie the friend and Marie the author, Courtney explains they’re the same. “When I saw her in action at Reader Weekend, that was Marie. She’s always so personable, so approachable, cracking jokes and just having a great time. She enjoys what she does and it shows.”
Reader Weekend 2015 provided Courtney with an experience she says will probably go down in history as the most embarrassing moment of her Marie Force years, but one that will be talked about for years. She recalls the face-reddening facts: “When we landed in RI from DC, I had mentioned to Julie that I couldn’t wait to meet the rest of the team, but most importantly ‘Jack’. See, I thought Jack was a real person. Jack would buy us lunch, Jack would buy us software, Jack would buy us flip flops. I just had to meet Jack because he was so nice! When I told Julie I couldn’t wait to meet Jack she laughed in my face and then proceeded to tell me the story behind Jack. You know, HTJB – House That Jack Build, Jack being the main character in Treading Water, the book that started it all! Overall it was a good laugh.”
written by Cheryl Serra, Marie’s director of publicity—and one of her bridesmaids 23 years ago