Blog on the Bus pt 38 (in search of a title)

Morning friends and welcome to this morning’s blog. My new good friend José Bográn has paid his fare and is here to share (hey maybe I should be a poet?) Over to José:

What’s in a name? From a sales point of view, it is the initial hook, a partner in crime that, along with the cover, will make potential readers interested in our novels. In short, it’s invaluable.

Invariably, when selecting a title for one of my works I must hear a “click”. No kidding. It is the actual sound of something falling into place, like the cogs of a safety box when you put the right combination. Hey, most writers claim they hear voices—their muses, why can´t I hear a click? To select a title I play with different words. Sometimes it happens before the first draft is over, other times until after the tale is told. However, they all come from me. Until now.

There’s this manuscript I began in 2006 with the working title of “Shattered Plans.” The main character, former firefighter Sebastian Martin, had lost his family in an air accident and now must make a last effort to cling to life, or at least, get a semblance of one. Yes, this is how my damaged hero begins his journey. Of course I had worse things in store for him. By the second third of the book he’s strapped to a chair facing torture at the hands of a former K.G.B. operative. I had decided that the climax of the story would be in my home country Honduras. In searching for a suitable location, I came across this little bridge over the main road.

riohighland

The area of Tela had been the base of operation for the Chiquita Brand Company in Honduras—known domestically as the Tela Railroad Company. The company had developed the lands for banana plantations and, along the way, they had christened a few places with names in their native language, English. Thus, we have a small stream in a Spanish-speaking country with an English name: Highland Creek.

So, very clever of me, I renamed my novel with the same name of the location of the bad guys’ hideaway: Highland Creek. Or so I thought.

In 2012 I signed with Rebel E-publishers to release the novel. After the first round of edits, it became apparent the name didn’t evoke any images related to my plot, except to people familiar with Honduran geography.

The search for a new title took the shape of hundreds of emails back and forth with my editor: Random Casualties, Sebastian Saved, Deliverance at Highland, An Arbitrary Inception, The Rage of Angels, A Time for Rage, A Random Loss, The Implacable, Husband, The Formidable Helpmate, The Implacable Helpmate, An Authentic Rage, and a prolonged, steady, annoying Etcetera!

Nothing clicked. Did I mention already how important was for me to hear that “click”? Well, I didn’t hear it.

Then I turned to Backspace, an online forum whose motto is “writers helping writers.” I figured it was time I tested that motto. My editor and I selected five finalists. The idea was to simply run a poll and have my friends decide the winner. Yeah…easy…right? NOT!

Of course, the titles earned a few votes, but the comment section was in turmoil. Many complained that the offered titles were not a good match to the story. They said that the word “highland” didn’t sound like anything even remotely related to Hondurans. Heck, an author friend thought Highland Creek was an Irish whiskey!

Among the commentators appeared one that suggested a simple word for the title: Firefall. Well, she made other suggestions, but I heard the click. And a weird click it was because it came from a word I didn’t come up with. After I cleared it with both my editor and my publisher, it was confirmed. Catherine Lea, thank you for naming my book!

FIREFALL will be released during Fall 2013. In the meantime, I invite you to take a look at my debut novel TREASURE HUNT. Oh, and don’t miss this amazing short story collection with some awesome thriller writers (and Stephen and me) in DEATH TOLL.

J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator.

You can find him on the WEB, on Twitter, and Facebook

Thanks for stopping by José, it was nice to hear from you. Until the next time, happy reading!

Stephen

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