Last weekend I wrote about the story behind the titles to my books, both in the Charlie Fox series and the standalones. That was Part One of this blog, which came about because of a question I received from a member of my Advance Reader Team about my titles—where they came from and at what stage of the story they were decided upon.
So, for Part Two this week I asked all my blogfellows over at MurderIsEverywhere to provide a quick story about their titles—if any had to be changed, and the story behind them. In a panic that perhaps nobody would want to take part, I also asked a couple of author friends for their stories, which are also included.
“My original title for my debut novel was probably silly—DEATH BY SILVER. My publisher said that they didn’t want the word “death” in the title. That word they told me diminished the type of story I had written. We changed it to CITY OF SILVER. I omitted the word death from the ensuing titles. When the same publisher with the same editor was about to publish my fourth novel, I gave it the title STRANGE GODS, hoping to subtly communicate that the series would follow the Ten Commandments. They didn’t like that title. They wanted a title with “death” in it. I asked, “Why?” My editor said the “fashion” in titles had changed. I held my ground and won because no one at the publisher could think of a better one than STRANGE GODS.
Conclusion: In publishing, Plus ça change, plus ça change! When it comes to titles, the answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.
My titles are simple. MURDER IN / AT / BELOW—then insert the different quartiers of Paris.
The difficult thing though is that Americans don’t know or can’t pronounce some of these areas so I go for an easier roll off the tongue area. My latest book, MURDER IN BEL-AIR, was supposed to be called MURDER IN PICPUS—but that’s an ancient reference to fleas who brought the plague in this quartier and the name stuck. Not a very nice one. So I went with Bel-Air the name of the Metro stop. So many people thought it was Bel Air in Hollywood!
To read all the other MurderIsEverywhere authors’ stories, plus John Lawton and Mick Herron click here.