Authors often get asked how they choose titles for their books. Do they have a working title or do they always know what it should be called?
In my case, I like to have a title at the beginning, rather than just calling it ‘work in progress’. Sometimes I’ve changed it part way through, but for my first published novel, Starting Over, the name stuck. As the story progressed, it became obvious that the title was a perfect fit.
Where did the title come from, then? It actually came from a song. At the time I started writing the book, I had just discovered a singer-songwriter duo – Chris While and Julie Matthews – and downloaded their ‘Best of’ album. I played it over and over again loving their combination of voice, guitar and lyrics. Knowing that they are also lesbians, added to the enjoyment of their songs. One of the tracks on the album was called “Starting All Over” – with a haunting tune and words that stayed in my mind.
(Now, in hindsight, I think perhaps I should have called it something else. There are a lot of books called Starting Over on Amazon. Mainly romances as well, but some are self-help books.)
The title of my second book, Arc Over Time (due to be released on 15 May), can also be credited to While and Matthews. On one of their other albums was a song called “Bridge Over Time”. So, why didn’t I stick with that? I think because the story is about a developing relationship as well as the connection with a historical character from the past.
I’ve also learned to be wary of title acronyms. My first published short story is called There Was A Time – which I thought was fine until I received an email from my publisher shortly before publication, just using the initials of each of the words of the title in the subject line. (Before I read the email I thought I had seriously upset them in some way.) I would have found another name if I thought the story would be referred to only by its initials. But I do smile when I see the cover.
What will my next book be called? Watch this space…and I’ll keep listening to While and Matthews.