Titles can be tough. Such was the case with my new book, Blueberry Truth.
Books begin from all different starting points. In the case of this story, it all started with a little girl. She began talking to me and like a good writer, I took down her words. "My mama call me Blueberry," she said, "because that what she like when she have me. But my grandma say no child of mine be called Blueberry and she change my name to Truth." I called the story Blueberry Truth and pretty soon the vivacious and wonderful Beanie, who became Truth's teacher and eventually her foster mother, began to chime in.
I started writing both voices, both in the first person. The name of the book became "Beanie and Blue". Then Beanie's husband Mac demanded equal time, so I added his voice as well. And the whole thing evolved into something new. I'm a sucker for alliteration, so the title "Beanie and Blue" stuck.
Several first readers read and liked the story. So I sent it out to a few agents, one of whom agreed to read. She turned it down, saying that the three first person voice structure made for a bumpy ride. And that I ought to let Beanie tell the tale.
I gave it a lot of thought. The advice meant a major rewrite and lots of changes I wasn't sure I wanted to make. I let the book sit under the bed while I wrote other things. I kept going back to it. And finally, I decided I'd give it a whirl and do the rewrite. I could always save the original, after all.
The agent had been right. Although the book lost a few steps in terms depth, it gained leaps and bounds in terms of smoothness and clarity. "Beanie and Blue, however, went from so-so title to bad title. I changed it yet again to "Blossom for Me" and sent it to Etopia Press.
Annie Melton, the publisher at Etopia, wrote back saying she'd love to publish it. Only one thing, it needed a new title. After jumping for joy a few times, I got back to work. We edited the book and all the while I brain stormed new titles. The list I had was exhaustive. Everything I could possibly imagine. I even wrote down the old titles, including...Blueberry Truth.
I kind of liked Blueberry Truth. It had a nice ring to it. My editor kind of liked it to. So did Annie. And at the end of a long journey we ended up with a new title for my book. Blueberry Truth. We've come full circle. Seems I had it right all along.