New Beginnings

Two exciting things happened last week. We moved into our new home and I signed a YA book contract with Crwth Press. Talk about a fresh start filled with wonderful possibilities.

I’m thrilled to be working with publisher Melanie Jeffs who is already gaining recognition for her titles. Check out her website here:

Melanie will be bringing out my YA in the spring of 2020, which means I’m already into the revision process.  The book in question, which I’ve referred to here before as One Good Deed, has been retitled No Right Thing. I always cringe when retitling is suggested. It’s wrong to get married to a title, I know that, and yet I often do. However, David Baldacci has just released a book titled One Good Deed and, as Melanie Jeffs explained, anytime someone looks up that title on line they’ll get the Baldacci information well before they get the Langston information.

That won’t do. Not at all.

Since this is a story about a teenager who always tries to do the right thing and yet finds herself in a situation where there is no right choice, no right thing, the title switch worked. I’m grateful to Melanie for pointing it out.

With the title nailed down, I can focus on revisions to the story, which is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. Incidentally, the novel is set in my new community of Qualicum Beach. That gives me a good excuse to get out and about and explore my new town. Here’s to new beginnings and No Right Thing.  

One Stop Title Shop

ArtoftheTItleThere are times when a one stop title shop would come in handy. Though I’m an ambivalent shopper at the best of times – and rarely have trouble coming up with titles myself – it’s frustrating when a title is elusive.

Most of my titles arrive, in one form or another, as I’m writing a book. Sometimes the title occurs to me before I even start.  I get attached to my titles too. Seriously attached. In the same way I’m attached to my eyes or any other body part.  They become part of the whole and not something I want to live without.

So title changes can be challenging.

A few weeks ago, my editor at Orca Book Publishers said I needed to change the title for an upcoming young adult novel. The original title – Flavor of the Week – was a perfect fit, except for one thing. The word flavor can be spelled with a u (the Canadian and British spelling) or without a ‘u’ which is the American version.  Orca prints and distributes their books in both Canada and the U.S. and they use American spelling.  So I did too when I typed out the word flavor. It was all good, or so I thought.  But while Canadian readers are, for the most part, happy with American spelling, they tend not to like American spelling in their titles.  And who wants to annoy a reader before they even open the book? Not Orca and not me.

A title change was necessary.

This happened to me once before.  Lesia’s Dream was originally titled Under a Prairie Sky. I loved that title. It was as perfect as my right arm. HarperCollins liked the title too. So did Anne Laurel Carter. When she released her own Under a Prairie Sky (a delightful picture book) the season before my YA came out, HC quickly requested a title change.  It took numerous brainstorming sessions and a lot of back and forth but eventually we came up with Lesia’s Dream.  Which I love.

So, with a little more brainstorming and exchanging of lists, I’m sure we’ll come up with a fitting replacement for Flavor of the Week.   In the meantime, if you know of any one stop title shops, could you let me know?