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Title! Title! I have a title!

Here is some stuff you guys should know. One: I am in France. It is a good time. Cassie Clare said to me 'What are you doing in July' and I said 'Erm... up to no good as usual, I guess' and she said 'What do you want to do in July?'

I was reading Mary Stewart's Madam Will You Talk at the time, because it is a Gothic novel and I am on a mission to read Allllll the Gothic novels. The book is about being chased by a murderer through Provence. So I said, tentatively: 'I'd like to go to Provence?' (Beautiful scenery. Lavender fields. Murderers. Seemed like it would be fun.)

And here we are. I love a writing retreat. I get three times as much work done as at home, and I come back relaxed. I'm very lucky to have a job that is portable, so I can travel with my work. (I also have a job that does not involve 'weekends,' let alone 'holidays' so travelling with my work is the way to do things.)

I have a whole post to write about writers' retreats (involving a confession of attempted murder) but this is a post about the other thing you guys should know.

Two: I have a title for my new book! My agent and I sent the book to editors as just Whisper, and then when it sold to the Wonderful Mallory Loehr we kept fiddling around with a ton of different titles, some involving the word 'whisper'.

I have told you guys that the book is coming next year, and that I am super mega lunatic excited about it, and I talk about it a little more here, as well as about Demon's Surrender, ladies and vampires (and while I am linking you to things, here is an essay on Sin and roles in the Lexicon series)

The plot summary, if you will recall, is YA gothic romance trilogy about a budding journalist who investigates when she realizes the town she has lived in all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets and a murderer, and the truth may lie with the ruling family who have just returned to the manor on the hill and in the whispers she hears in her head from a boy who may not be imaginary after all.

It is a lot of stuff to get in one sentence. It is even more stuff to get in a title. I wanted the idea of communication, because communication is so important to my heroine Kami, both because she wants to be a journalist, cares very much about both truth and how to tell it, and because she communicates with someone in her head--someone who she has no reason to believe is real, but the communication and the connection is terribly important to her.

I also wanted something that referenced the Gothic nature of the books. One element of the Gothic novel is the Super Creepy Family Who Live in Their Super Creepy Manor Full of Secrets, which an innocent young thing is introduced to via being a governess (Bronte's Jane Eyre) or a poor relation (Holt's The Shadow of the Lynx) or an unlucky serving wench (Gaffney's Lily) or an even more unlucky young wife (du Maurier's Rebecca. The young innocent doesn't know about Devil-Cursed Uncle Edgar or the mad wife in the attic or the regular orgies in the rose garden. All she knows is that her--or in my case, his--very life and virtue are in peril. (Sorry about putting your very life and virtue in peril, Jared.)

The book is set in modern England, but there are still manor houses and families who used to lord it over their towns and lands, and who are in a position of less power now--but not a position of no power. And my town is a very strange town. And the idea of the family who have been gone a long time and now come back, the family both revered and sinister, up in their golden hall on the hill--I wanted that in there too. Maybe the series title, I thought! And then: oh no, now I need two titles.

Sometimes, a book comes ready-made with a title. (Sometimes, I am very jealous of whoever that happens to.) Sometimes, it requires a brain-trust of people to bounce titles off. I sent squillions of titles to my new editor, the Wonderful Mallory Loehr, and she maintained a tactful silence about them.

I sat around a table in Paris with a writers' brain-trust: Holly Black, Cassie Clare and Robin Wasserman. I wrote words on scraps of paper and carried the scraps in my purse.

HOLLY: Maybe you could describe this Gothic family to us.
SARAH: Well... they're all very attractive. They're blond.
HOLLY: I meant more what they do.
SARAH: Well, all those who cross them have historically tended to perish.
HOLLY: I've got it! Hot Blond Death.
SARAH: Love it!
ROBIN: Okay, they're delirious. Time to separate them.

So later we were in Provence, in our turquoise pool where bees go on kamikaze missions and I zoom about the pool trying to rescue them.

BEE: Enough of my miserable life! I take the plunge!
SARAH: Nooooo. I'll save you, Mister Bee!
CASSIE: I've got it!
ROBIN: You've got what? The bee? Not the bee!
CASSIE: I've got Sarah's title.

And she really did. And then the same day, eating cheese and lavender honey, Robin had the series title. I sent them to my editor, and she loved them.

The book is going to be called Unspoken. It's the first book of The Lynburn Legacy.

So, so excited. I can't even tell you.


( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 11th, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
Woohoo! I love the title (totally conjures up an awesome package). I am envious of you having genius friends who can think of good titles. I am currently in re-titling hell for three of the books I'm working on for this season.
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I would like to know what re-titling is like on the editorial side. I've been jealous of quite a few writers whose publishers thought up their awesome titles.
(no subject) - thegreatmissjj - Jul. 11th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - leah_cypess - Jul. 12th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jul. 12th, 2011 10:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
What happened to Listen for a Whisper? *sighs* I'm still super excited for it, though, and I can't wait until its release!
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
It was, as discussed above, one of the titles with 'whisper' in we didn't go with. Worried that it conjured up someone who was hard of hearing! And there are a lot of books that use the word 'whisper.'

I hope you will like it. ;)
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY titles of WONDERFUL!!!!! And you know what a crackhead I am about the Lynburns so YAY they're the series title!!!
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
Provence! I will be in Provence in September, though only for a few days.

I love both the series and book titles! I also just read TDS a couple of weeks ago from the library and loved it, too, but I'm not sure I can read any discussion of it yet because I love it too much and reliving it may cause me to go insane(r). I can't wait to have Unspoken do the same thing to me, which is rather a sick thing to say, but I guess that's what happens when you love books. ^^
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that sounds so intriguing! It's definitely going on my tbr list.

(and lavender honey? *jealous*)
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
UNSPOKEN is fantastic. Perfect. Love The Lynburn Legacy, too.

Also, speaking of All The Gothics, you need to read Susanna Kearsley if you haven't already. THE WINTER SEA was fantastic and THE ROSE GARDEN is the absolute bomb. In a quietly suspenseful, atmospheric, historical, modern, slightly paranormal, beautifully romantic way. Sigh.
Jul. 11th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
I've read one by her - Mariana - but so noted!
Jul. 11th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Jul. 11th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Ooooh. That is a gorgeous series title. <3 And the book title is fabulously Gothic-sounding as well and vague enough to be mysterious but not so vague it's silly. Basically I love them both along and I remain very excited to meet Jared and the rest!
Jul. 11th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
*Love* the titles! They sound like exactly the sort of thing that would make me pick up a book in a bookstore.

And Madam, Will You Talk was also the reason I visited Provence (didn't get to dance on the Pont D'Avignon, worse luck). Mary Stewart's books always make me desperately want to travel somewhere hot and picturesque.
Jul. 11th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
Hot Blond Death

&hearts &hearts &hearts

Unspoken is a fabulous title, and I am so looking forward to your wonderful new book.

(Deleted comment)
Jul. 11th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
congrats on the naming! love them ♥

i was just thinking as i read this, that you guys (meaning the bunch of authors that hang out together in various ways) totally need to come up with a title for yourselves as a group (you know, like the inklings). so that in the future, when historians are chronicling your lives, they won't have to say that Robin and Cassie and Sarah, etc were in paris, they could just say, "while part of the [clever name here] group was in paris, they mulled over titles for the upcoming series by Sarah..." it's only polite to help, I think

Jul. 11th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
i know you've already moved up to other things, but i just want to tell you that i read DR and i absolutely loved it. it's my favorite of the series, though i do not know if i say that because I ALWAYS SAY THAT (like i fervently stated last time that my favorite of the novels was the second one?) but i think i adore DR like a whole sincere bunch. and i'm sooooooooooooooooooooooooo picky if i say so myself. really picky and the book was so so good. and i think it was really wonderful and deserving of my love because:

- you made me love Sin where i had merely liked her and -- i repeat-- you made me LOVE her, all while doing things i didn't approve of. which is like, the sign of a great character and good writing, that ability to make a reader love a character whose behavior you're not %100. sometimes, sadly, we over-I.D. with the female character and she's a stand-in for many girls, and if she doesn't do something THEY would the vilification is totally epic. i don't do that, because hell, thank pluck i know better, but you side-stepped that neatly. you made a character so 3-d she was not the stand in for anyone else. i appreciate that sfm.

- you also made me think of like, how lucky i am in this day and age that a female character is strong and weak and flawed and impulsive and she doesn't get punished for not being JUST strong (in a non-threatening way, of course). she's just rad and SHE'S NOT THE ONLY RAD GIRL IN THE BOOK. NOT AT ALL. which, you'd be surprised --probably not-- how many novels show the female protagonist as totally awesome and she happens to be the only awesome chick in sight. and Sin wasn't. there was like a plethora of faboo female characters in your novel, not all of them nice, but WHO CARES WHEN THEY'RE SO FIERCE AND FABULOUS?

-all the PoC stuff was so on the money. i was wondering a bit whether that would be ignored and you didn't ignore that, you handled it head-on and well and yeah. so was the issue of being a beautiful girl and how even that can be used against you and a whole other issues in the tradition of what it feels like for a girl, in this world lalalalalala.

-you made me totally cool with her being so forward with you know who and getting rejected and i never felt like -- idk-- how sometimes in books and movies (*cough*Vanilla Sky Fatal Attraction*cough* just to name two out of 849838028092 portrayals) where the girl is the one that goes after the other person (i don't want to spoil too much bb) and then she's painted as a crazy pathetic psycho with no sense of dignity or pride or sanity-- and this felt so so different. like, "yeah, Sin you go try and fail and try harder and fail harder and get what you want, because nothing has ever come easy for you, has it?"

there was other things that i adored about the novel, but those are the principle focus-points of awesome love. thank you for this trilogy, that was a lovely gift you gave us (who've been following you for years like creepy stalkers). i'm super excited to read everything you ever write in the future. i really think that you're getting better and better and better. <3

Edited at 2011-07-11 08:56 pm (UTC)
Jul. 11th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
erm... i'm just reading one of your links and this comment has something to do with that, so let's just pretend i had already read your article and that's why i wrote this and it's totally relevant. \o/
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jul. 11th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 11th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
I freely admit that as soon as I saw your Gothic Family was all blonde, I immediately had Flowers in the Attic flashbacks.

Which I guess is pretty good company to keep, when it comes to Gothic traditions. Newer ones at least.

Sounds exciting, anyway! I will for sure buy it when it comes out.
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