In the last days, we’ve been talking about titles. The book she’s about to send out to editors had a working title of Changelings. I looked for a new title because I felt that had been done too many times and didn’t feel right. My choice was God of the Beanstalk Land...please don’t ask me to explain; suffice to say that in the redrafts Lisa advised, beanstalks became less important and I changed it to More Full of Longing... which is a quote from a favourite poem of my by WB Yeats...The Stolen Child. But Lisa didn’t think that was the right title.
Writers sometimes hope the perfect title will just ‘arrive’ at some point, like an unexpected fall of snow – and sometimes they are lucky enough to have that happen. But others are still searching for their title long after they’ve completed their book. Not knowing yours should not prevent you from writing your book, but if you’ve got the perfect title from early on, it can give an emotional and psychological ‘leg up’ – adding focus and vigour to your writing, so I do recommend choosing a ‘working title’ as I did.
Finally, Lisa and I agreed on what we both think is the perfect title. The Stolen Child. Not only is a quote from this poem at the front of the book, but we both think it lives up to all four points of the plan...especially the final one. So I’m asking you all now to cross fingers, arms legs and even eyes for me and Lisa as she sends this novel out to the publishing world. You might like to read the blurb that will go with it...
Barbara Campbell left her home for university and never returned to her family. She’d been a drudge – expected to care for her sick mother, her dour father and her little sister. Now, at twenty-six, she’s finally got it all sewn up; rich lover, a home in the woody heights above Bristol’s suspension bridge and the start of a job she can feel proud of.
But under the surface, all’s not well. She’s the rookie in a social work team, bullied by her boss and struggling to cope with children who are mistreated, abandoned, fought over and lied about. When a client turns out to be her sister, she has to face the family she’s not seen for eight years.
Her ailing mother reveals a history for Barbara’s nativity that is not what she imagined at all, and sucks her into a world of intrigue, madness and magic, where everything she held dear is tipped upside down, enigmas become crystal clear and fortunes are reversed...
With a major theme of mother love, a powerful narrative line and an undercurrent of dark, dry humour, The Stolen Child will appeal to readers who enjoy edgy and extraordinary fiction, blending reality and romance, myth and mystery, and exploring issues that normally remain hidden behind a veil of professional defensive armour.