Monday, July 31, 2006

Flying High

Patty here...

I had dinner with my friend Duffy on Thursday. She's from the East Coast and doesn't get out to Los Angeles very often. She's more apt to be flying into Lima, Peru or Amsterdam or Singapore. And that flying part? I meant that literally. Duffy is a Captain for a major U.S. airline, flying 757s and 767s all over the world. Not only can she land a plane in congested LAX without breaking a sweat (a feat that's getting trickier by the day, I hear), but she's also an accomplished sailor, a great cook, and one of those people who can paint the wall in her bathroom to make it look like a stone column on the Parthenon. I'm just glad she's not interested in writing amusing L.A. mystery novels. I don't need any more competition.

Her husband Andy is the scribbler in the family, at least he could be if he had the inclination. His emails are so beautifully composed they make you weep. At the moment he's too busy being a Captain for a competing major U.S. airline to write, but luckily he's not too busy to come up with the title for my third novel, SHORT CHANGE, which—I just found out—is due on bookstore shelves in July of 2007.

Andy actually came up with two titles. He first suggested Small Change and gave me a compelling argument as to why it was thematic. He added that if the page count ended up more novella-like than novel-esque, I could call it Short Change. What a wise guy, eh? Actually, both titles were thematic, because there are all sorts of changes in store for Tucker in this third book. So SHORT CHANGE it is. Andy-the-title-muse already has a title for my fourth, and it's pretty fabulous. I'm working on the plot at the moment and love the fact that the book and I are on a first name basis. It makes everything more fun.

Titles are tricky. T. Jefferson Parker volunteered to blurb my first book while we were commiserating about titles in the book room at Left Coast Crime a few years ago. I told him that my publisher wasn't thrilled with False Profits, and that I had suggested what seemed like a million alternatives, all of which earned a thumbs down. Jeff gave me a pep talk and advised me to keep the faith. Shortly after that conversation, I suggested Cover Your Assets. I think my bad title suggestions had worn them down by then, because they kept False Profits for the first book and Cover Your Assets for the second.

Just for fun, here are some famous books and their original titles:

Pride & Prejudice was First Impressions
Of Mice & Men was Something That Happened
East of Eden was Salinas Valley
Peyton Place was The Tree and The Blossom
Treasure Island was The Sea-Cook

It feels truly amazing and a bit scary to be talking about the publication date of my third novel, even if it is a year away. Frankly, whodathunkit. I'm ready, though. Right now my seat back is forward, my tray table is in its fully upright and locked position, my personal baggage is stowed, and I'm ready to fly. I hope it'll be a great ride.

How about you? Got any interesting title stories?

It's hard to believe that this is the last Monday in July. Hope yours is full of good books and wise friends.

Cheers! Patty


  1. I love SHORT CHANGE. And I've loved the titles of your other two books as well, and now I'm dying to know what this fourth title is!

    I spent months trying to come up with the title for my second book SECONDHAND SMOKE. It was originally BIRDS OF A FEATHER, but your esteemed blogmate had already used it and we didn't want to step on toes. I actually came up with SECONDHAND SMOKE because I was editing a health/science story at the newspaper about, yes, secondhand smoke. I'd thrown so many other title suggestions out there that I figured, why not. And it stuck. It was easier to come up with the title for my third book which will be named later, if I manage to get a contract for that one...

  2. Great titles, every one, Patty. Here's one of my favorites: Edna Buchanan's account of her early days as a police reporter at The Miami Herald. "Never Let Them See You Cry."

  3. Karen, now I'm dying to know the name of YOUR third book. Both you and Paul chose wonderful titles. SACRED COWS? THE DEEP BLUE ALIBI? Great! And I love the Edna title, too. Can't we steal it?

  4. I may be a cynic, but I have this theory that editors always want to change two things -- your title and your ending -- just to prove that they read the thing from beginning to end. But I do love Short Change and the theme you're developing.

  5. James, you're a hoot! Tell the truth. Have you come up with all of your titles? I'd guess so, because they're great.