Linda Howard

RWA Lifetime Achievement Award-Winning Suspense Author

How Rah Rah Boom became TO DIE FOR

Behind the StoryJulie Trelstad

Sometimes book titles are just puzzling. I've posted here before (I think) about book titles, some of which we the writers come up with, and some that are dictated by the publishers' marketing departments. As an example, my very first book (which, if you haven't read, don't bother because it's truly bad!) I titled "The Black Widow." The title was changed to "All That Glitters," which truly had nothing to do with the book, but marketing felt that "The Black Widow" was too something or the other -- and then that very same title was used on another book that the publisher put out a year later, so I guess they changed their minds.

I've noticed over the years that when one book does well, for some reason a bunch of similar titles will pop up on other books, as if the title is why anyone buys a book. I've never bought a book because of the title, have you? But after "Sarah's Child," there were a bunch of books with "Child" in the title. After "Duncan's Bride," there were a thousand "Bride" books. After LJ wrote "Bridger's Last Stand," here came a slew of "Last Stand" books. I have to say that when readers talk to me about specific books, they tend to remember the titles if it's what I've titled them, but forget the more generic titles that marketing departments came up with.

I remember "Cry No More," but I have no idea which of my books has the title "Up Close and Personal" -- at least without looking up the plot. "Rah Rah BOOM" and "The Buick Stops Here" became "To Die For" and "Drop Dead Gorgeous." I admit TDF and DDG are probably better titles, but I enjoyed the whimsy of what I'd named them. This is on my mind because I just read "I've Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm" by Kelly Bowen. I really enjoyed the book, the plot, and the characters. The title completely puzzles me, though; not only does it not fit a Regency, or the plot, the hero isn't a duke! Never was, never will be! So what the heck?????