Swoon Author Dee Garretson: The FINDING of a New Title
When my friends have asked me to describe my story, I’ve always said it is a YA Downton Abbey but with spies, and where the girl gets to have an adventure in addition to changing her clothes a lot. Not that I don’t love the clothes in Downton Abbey. I do, to the point where I almost hyperventilated when I got to see the traveling exhibit of costumes from the series. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan and that’s why I did a Downton Abbey-inspired cover when I submitted my book to Swoon.
One thing you learn early on in publishing is not to get too attached to a working title. It takes a big group of people working together to get a book out there to readers, and sometimes the author is not the best person to choose a title for something that is too close to their heart. Way back when I wrote the first draft of this story, the original title of my story was Escape the Shadows, which I later realized was too dark and a little too vampire-reminiscent. I love to read vampire stories—I just don’t write them. I certainly didn’t want to disappoint vampire story fans who might pick up the book.
So I changed the title and submitted it to Swoon as The Finding of Secrets, because there were a lot of secrets the main character, Mina, discovered by the end of the story. I’m also a big Nancy Drew fan and that’s where I got the idea to have a title with the word "secret" in it. But while I love the vintage Nancy Drew covers and titles, I didn’t necessarily want that vibe either.
During editing, the focus changed to a more adventure-oriented story, which in truth is what I most like to write, and that meant the title needed a change too. While there are still great secrets to be discovered, there is a lot more emphasis on the relationship between Mina, a sheltered upper-class English girl and Lucas, a brash American, who is definitely not telling Mina everything she wants to know.
The story still deals with secrets and spies and who gets to know what when and who figures out what when, but the new title reflects a story about two very different people who are drawn together at a time when even thinking about love is a leap of faith. And that new title is:
All Is Fair
I’ve always loved the expression "Seize the Day" and I hope readers will find themselves rooting for Mina and Lucas to do just that.
Come back Monday for cover voting!