What’s in a Name? by Paige Toon
2013/05/07  |  By:   |  Features  |  

Coming up with titles for books can be a tricky process, but it’s one of the most important things to get right. I thought you might like some insight into how we came up with my titles, starting with my first…Lucy in the Sky came courtesy of my brother, Kerrin Schuppan, who has always been incredibly creative (he’s head of menswear at super-stylish clothing company Country Road in Australia – if you’re interested). I was about to have a meeting with Suzanne Baboneau from Simon & Schuster about my book idea.My heroine, originally called Meg, is on a plane to Australia and has to turn her mobile off, but before she does, she notices a text from her boyfriend’s phone, saying ‘I have slept with your boyfriend four times this month.’ I didn’t yet have a title, so I texted my bro and he came back with a few suggestions, including Frequent Liar Points and Lucy in the Sky. I loved the latter so much that I changed the heroine’s name to Lucy, saving Meg (a name I really liked) for my second book, Johnny Be Good.

Johnny Be Good was also courtesy of my brother, and it was such a good fit that we used it despite my editor saying that books with a male name in the title don’t usually sell as well. (She was right: it’s my least well selling book, even though it’s probably the one my readers are most passionate about!) I can’t remember what my rock star character was initially going to be called, but Johnny seemed to suit him so we went with that, and as he’s a bad boy, the title was set.Chasing Daisy is one we really struggled with. I wrote an entire book about a heroine called Anna! The title Love in the Fast Lanewas suggested, but I have to admit I hated it. So I called my brother in desperation and he threw around a couple of movie titles: Run Lola Run and Chasing Amy. I liked the latter, so my editor, Suzanne, suggested a bunch of ‘A’ sounding names, including Daisy. It was strange reading the book back with a new heroine’s name, but now I can’t imagine Daisy as an Anna! I do like the name though, so I think she might appear in my eighth book…Pictures of Lilyis one I came up with myself, but I had to fight for it. It’s not a well-known song title, but that didn’t matter to me. I loved the whimsical sound of it, and it fit with the story about a girl who wanted to be a photographer. I think this might be my favourite book of mine, and I’m so happy with the new redesigned cover. I would have loved green for the original cover, but apparently green books don’t tend to do as well. So far the response from my readers has been good, so fingers crossed.Baby Be Mine is the sequel to Johnny Be Good, and I’m so grateful to my editor Suzanne for allowing me to write it! Johnny Be Good was left on such a cliffhanger (with Meg revealing that she’s pregnant but doesn’t know who the father is) that my readers all went a bit mental at me, so I really wanted to write them a proper sequel, even though Johnny Be Good wasn’t my best seller. Baby Be Mine has a double meaning, because Meg didn’t know who the father of her son was. We thought about calling it Be My Baby instead as it’s more recognisable, but my readers voted on Facebook for Baby Be Mine, and it also worked better on the cover.

One Perfect Summer. I loved the process of coming up with this title. I went for a meeting with my publisher and told them about the idea for the book. A group of about six of us sat around the table and brainstormed. Some ideas would spin off others, but I think my editor Suzanne was the one who actually said One Perfect Summer out loud. We all loved it, and it was a break away from the song titles of previous books, and looked great on the new cover design. The design spurned a whole new stunning look for my backlist.

The Longest Holidaywas again the product of a brainstorming session with the team from Simon and Schuster. I initially thought of The Long Holiday, but Maxine Hitchcock added the ‘est’ and it immediately sounded better. Originally this book was set to be called Tell Laura I Love Her, but it was decided this felt like a step back and we should be moving away from song titles. The title, Tell Laura I Love Her, was actually suggested to me years ago after Chasing Daisy came out, by an old colleague from heat magazine, Charlotte Ward. She said one day she’d like me to tell Laura’s story. I actually came up with the idea for The Longest Holiday first and then tried to think of a heroine’s name. Laura popped into my head and I suddenly remembered Charlotte’s idea and realised the two plots could be combined. My readers love links to my other books, and I find it so much more interesting to write about characters when they already have an established back story.As for my next book, we already have a title. But perhaps I’ll save that for another post!@PaigeToonAuthor