A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the problems of finding names for one’s children and pets. Once in place, however, christian names at least generally last their owners a lifetime, and as fashions come and go it’s often possible to guesstimate someone’s age from their name.
In my form class at secondary school we had – wait for it – six Annes, five Fionas, three Lindas, two Morags, two Christines and two Yvonnes. I don’t know if this made things easier for the teachers or not…
Thinking up a name for your book can be tricky too. You want your title to grab people, make them wonder what it’s about, this book… I hit on The Paradise Trees one day when I was tidying the dining room. That book started life as Cat Summer – a novel for children. (There was a gentle ghost instead of a stalker and Grandpa was a lovely old guy.) When I realised it was going nowhere as a kids’ book I set about changing it into one for adults (exit the ghost and enter The Stranger) and called it A Midsummer Nightmare, to go with several references to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the text. I wasn’t completely happy with this, but then one day The Paradise Trees popped into my head – sorted!
The Cold Cold Sea started life as Two for Joy, until I noticed that this had been done before. Does that matter? After all, people have the same names too, remember the six Annes etc etc. I know now it doesn’t matter – a romance and a thriller with the same title, published a year or two apart wouldn’t disturb each other at all, for instance. Still, I chased round the internet for days, looking for a title for my book, and eventually struck gold in a Swedish photo website.
I was very glad too that Legend Press kept my titles – they didn’t have to; both the title and the book cover are up to the publisher. The cover is something else that should grab prospective readers. Mine were chosen by Legend Press and I think they work well in different ways – The Paradise Trees has more initial impact, while The Cold Cold Sea makes you look twice and think, right – but – why…???
Now my third book is finished, and it’s something completely different, for me, at least, because I’m self-publishing this one. For one thing I’d like to have a book out this year too and am now way too late for anyone’s 2015 list, but the main reason is I’ve been circling round self-publishing ever since The Paradise Trees came out. It looked to me like a) fun and b) something that would go well with my expat lifestyle. Much to my relief Legend Press were very supportive, and I’m looking forward to the experience. At the moment I’m working on the cover and blurb and we’ll have both on the blog in a couple of weeks.
The title of this new book is: The Attic Room. It’s set in different locations in Scotland plus the Bedford area in England, and tells the story of mother and daughter Claire and Nina. One of them has lied to the other about something very important, but takes the secret to her grave…
So… Where is this attic room? What happened there? And who lied?
Watch this space!