The titles of books have always fascinated me but it wasn’t until I started writing myself that I began to realise how difficult it can sometimes be to find that elusive few words which capture the essence of a novel.
My very first attempt at a full length novel I know now, was to say the least, very unremarkable, but at the time I honestly believed it was brilliant – a true masterpiece. And when I had eventually finished, I had to find a title. The story was about a girl who was in love with someone she knew she could never have but her feelings for him were so strong she could not let go. I was looking for something poetic and dramatic. In our local library I found a book of love poems and discovered the following from Byron’s Don Juan:
My heart is feminine, nor can forget –
To all, except one image madly blind
So stakes the needle and so stands the pole
As vibrates my fond hear to my fixed soul
The book title was taken from this and became Blind Image.
My second book was about a woman married to a much older man who was using his business to smuggle drugs. She fell in love with an undercover policeman with disastrous consequences for both of them. This became All for Leyna the title of a song by Billy Joel.
I found I really liked using song titles so when the trilogy emerged, When Tomorrow Comes by the Eurythmics became the title and I actually incorporated those three words into the text at the end of the book. The second book was a lot more difficult, I couldn’t find anything I felt was appropriate so looked at the actual content of the story instead and decided on Love Lies and Promises, which I thoughtsummed the story up well. The final part, The Ghost of You and Me was much easier. I heard the song by the band BB Mak, which is a really beautiful love song and the lyrics said everything about Matt and Ella’s situation. My new book which is about to be published is called Between Today and Yesterday. For this I chose an Alan Price song, and decided on this right at the beginning as a working title. I then changed it to Behind the Mask and then The Debt but in the end went back to the working title as the book was all about past events coming back into the present and affecting all the characters in one way or another. Again the words ‘between today and yesterday’ are incorporated into the text of the book.
And what’s next? I had thought the new book, which I’m planning to start in September, would be called The Other Side of Morning, a slight twist on the Scottish band Del Amitri’s This Side of the Morning. However, it’s very early days yet and I’ll have to see how the writing progresses before I finally commit. In the end the most important thing is it’s got to feel right for the book.