News Flash: Kay Garrett is the giveaway winner! Congratulations, Kay, and please check your email.
Edith/Maddie writing from a dark and cold north of Boston.
But a bit of light comes from today’s guest, Marilyn Levinson, whose Death on the Shelf is her fifth Haunted Library mystery (written as Allison Brook). And she’s giving away a copy of the new book to one lucky commenter!
In Death on the Shelf, librarian Carrie Singleton is attending her best friend’s wedding reception when a guest suddenly dies. Was it illness or murder that ended the life of the good doctor? Carrie investigates and discovers secrets and intrigues.
What’s In a Title?
Authors know that choosing the right title for a book requires considerable thought. You want something clever but not so clever that its meaning is obscure; catchy but not overused; trendy but not derivative. It needn’t be original because titles are sometimes used again and again. The title should give some insight into the story printed on its pages as well as reflect the book’s mood and genre.
Years ago when I was writing kid lit, I usually came up with the titles for my books. I loved taking a line from my novel, a line I felt summed up the mood and feeling of what my book was about. But perhaps that type of novel-naming is a thing of the past, along with borrowing phrases from the Bible like THE SUN ALSO RISES, SONG OF SOLOMON and EAST OF EDEN.
These days certain words are popular in titles. Think of the number of books that include the word “girl” in their titles. Like GONE GIRL, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON to name a few. “Last” is another recent popular word in titles, along with “widow” and “wife.”
Cozy mysteries have whimsical titles because while they involve murder and mayhem, their tone is lighthearted. Cozy titles let readers know that these are fun books to read and often are puns of familiar sayings such as NO GRATER CRIME by Maddie Day, THE GUN ALSO RISES by Sherry Harris, and A CHRISTMAS PERIL by JA Hennrikus.
Alas, my success rate of creating titles for my HAUNTED LIBRARY series that I write as Allison Brook is rather low. The first title came easy enough. Since the series centers around a library, I wanted the title to have something to do with books or a library as well as murder. Since a cold case was involved, I thought that DEATH OVERDUE was an appropriate title. My publisher agreed and that became the name of book number one. Afterward, I discovered there was already a mystery out with that title, but they weren’t concerned and neither was I.
I was asked for title ideas for the following books and happily came up with a list of possibilities. My group of cozy authors also provided their wonderful suggestions. Some of their proposals were taken. Other titles came from my publisher. None came from me.
It doesn’t bother me . . . anymore. After all, what’s in a title? In truth, I sometimes confuse my own titles. I even posted a giveaway in my newsletter changing the first word in DEATH ON THE SHELF to MURDER. No matter. The winner received her prize. Most importantly, my readers know what to expect when each new book in the series comes out, regardless of the title on the cover.
Readers: Does a book title determine whether or not you plan to read the book? I’ll send a copy of Death on the Shelf to one US commenter.
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series. Her juvenile novel, Rufus and Magic Run Amok, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. And Don’t Bring Jeremy was a nominee for six state awards.
Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids. She invites you to sign up for her newsletter: http://www.marilynlevinson.com