Oh, come on, you know I can’t just blurt it out.
As you may know, the working title for my YA novel was Illegal. It was its title before it was even a YA novel. Then, when I got the notes from my editor, hidden inocuously among them was, “There is a YA novel which came out in the last few years with that same title. Although it is a totally different book than yours, we have to explore other title options.”
Stab me in the eye with a rusty fork! I do not cope well with changes, especially after I’m totally set on an idea. When I got a phone call that I couldn’t give birth to my daughter in the midwifery center on which I’d planned (because it had been damaged by a fire) I cried for a week. And hated every minute of the hospital, even though my midwife was with me.
Anyway! Change = bad. I dreamed up a couple of ideas, sent them to the editor and she politely blinked to keep herself from telling me how much she hated them. I was in a full-on panic which only got worse when we all got on the phone to brainstorm. Ideas flew that I absolutely detested and couldn’t bring myself to imagine ever uttering out loud. I would have to wrap my book in a paper bag every time I did a signing.
But, hey, I am a catastrophizing drama queen. (At times!) My amazingly patient agent, Susan Cohen, and wonderful Lisa Cheng from Running Press, my editor, graciously sat with me until I stopped being a toddler who couldn’t find her favorite toy. And, finally, we picked a title I absolutely adore. It is…
The Secret Side of Empty.
The main character of the book is named M.T. (her initials, obviously) and when you say that fast it sounds like “empty.” But there is more there, too, about the secrets we keep and how empty we feel when we think no one knows us truly.
Plus it’s so lyrical and sweet I just could sing it to myself all day long. So happy! The Secret Side of Empty, coming to a book store near you in Spring, 2014!