It’s a matter far more difficult than cats. However, my cat’s name is Little Bear, so …
How is it that I’ve had around three years to think of a clever, catchy title for my second book, but it’s come down to a last-minute panicked rush to decide on something? Aaahhh! I can write a 70-80K word novel, but I can’t come up with a few words for its name.
My book did have a working title: Dead in the Water. It’s a jokey title, but you won’t get the joke until chapter two. I’ve chickened out at the last minute, fearing it might give readers the wrong impression that it’s a hard-boiled detective story or a comedic mystery (and some reviewers too much ammunition).
A similar thing happened with Please Don’t Leave Me Here. It was always Skin The Sun to me, but that’s a song lyric so it could never be used. It became Come As You Are (I got it into my head that it had to be a Nirvana song) — just before a non-fiction book about women’s sexuality was released with that title. I considered About A Girl, but there were too many books around with ‘girl’ in the title. At one stage I called it Dumb, which would’ve been unfortunate as I had a bet that if my book was ever published I’d get the title tattooed on my arm. Eventually, a writer friend came up with Grunge, which I thought was perfect. My publisher disagreed and he chose Please Don’t Leave Me, which I disliked at first. So he did the two-option close with me (reverse psychology?): Please Don’t Leave Me or The Grunge Factor? At some stage, an editor suggested adding Here to the end of the title and somehow that sounded so much better. The book grew into its name, like children do, and now I can’t imagine it being called anything else.
Naming my children was a similar matter. Reece was Baby Chandler until the last minute. Jaime was almost Pearl. And Paige was going to be Peri, right up until I was sucking on ice cubes in recovery after a C-section and noticed boxes of things called peri pads on the shelves. I’m still not 100% on what peri pads are, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have wanted my child named after them.
_ _ _ _ is set around the Gippsland Lakes. It is a story of broken people, a broken marriage, and trying to break the cycle of mental illness. It delves into the darkness beneath the surface of fear, betrayal and revenge, and is ultimately about survival and starting anew.