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What does a book title do for you? Does it entice? Does it hint at the novel’s story? Does it reflect your personal circumstances? Does it confuse?

My current novel-in-process is set in Hong Kong and has no title, rather like an orphan with no name. I had what I thought was a brilliant title for it – East Rising Sun, based on a move in qigong, an ancient practice something like Tai Chi. However, at the urging of my editor, I’m adding a dual timeline to the story which makes this title inappropriate.

I have a collection of possibilities:

  • The Landscape of Time
  • A Necessary Obsession
  • An Island Apart
  • The Other Side of Longing
  • From Within
  • Love is a decision
  • Time and chance
  • Worlds Apart

I write these down at random moments when something sparks an idea and I’m sure I can come up with more. But I’m realizing that the title has to speak to me as the author as well as being one that will attract readers and those in the publishing industry.

My first novel is called Unravelled. But it had other names. For a while I called it Shadows – as in the shadows of war since one of my main characters is a WWI soldier. I called it Dance of Secrets at one point, and Silent Signals and While the Secret Sits and Until Shadows Flee. One day I wrote the word unravelled in the manuscript and it hit me – unravelled was the central theme of the story.

The unravelling of a man after war, the unravelling of society, the unravelling of relationships as a consequence. The title brought focus to my writing and I hoped it would appeal to readers as well.

Perhaps this means I haven’t quite settled on the central theme for this next story. I hope I figure it out soon.

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.