What’s in a name? Apparently heaps.
Years ago, when I was a swimming teacher, a fellow teacher commented that, because of multiple negative experiences with boys called Jackson and girls called Brittany, she couldn’t help but think ‘God no!’ when she got a kid called Jackson or Brittany in her class. Now, I don’t think these kids’ behaviour had anything to do with their names, but it did make me think about what we see in a name, how it affects us and the lasting impressions it leaves. This question became even more important when I had to start naming my novels.
Sometimes the publisher loved what I came up with and other times, they didn’t. At first it seemed a bit arbitrary – I mean, what was wrong with the name I’d chosen? But now I have been in the business for a while, and have been self-publishing in the last year, I realise how important names truly are on multiple levels.
Take Need You Tonight for instance.
When I started to write this novel, as usual, I had no idea what it was about. I am a true pantser. But I had had a re-occurring dream about a music producer with a dark past she wanted to hide and a rock star she wanted to work with whose fame threatened to bring her secrets to light. There was also a phrase that kept recurring in my dream, ‘sounding the heart’. The hero said it to the heroine when he was talking about what he saw in her and what his dad used to call the kind of music that expressed emotion so truly it would touch everyone who heard it. So, by the time I was 1/3 of the way through, its title had changed from ‘Story 4’ (I used to name all my work ‘Story 1’, ‘Story 2’ etc until I came up with something better) to Sounding the Heart.
Of course, that title would be good if it was a straight romance novel, however, it in no way suggests the suspense/murder part of the plot – which is a quite significant part of the story. I knew I couldn’t keep it. So I started thinking about the importance of titles and what certain titles said to me. I know there have been times when I’ve picked up a book just because of what it’s called. Of course, if the blurb didn’t appeal to me, I put it right back, but the title was the thing that caught my eye. So, it seemed, there was a lot in a name if I want people to pick up my novel and have an idea from the title what it might be about.
I quickly came up with a bunch of titles that encompassed different aspects of the novel – the twin connection, the music, the dark creepiness of the stalker and combinations that encompassed elements of two or three of these. I really wanted something that would speak of the way the hero and heroine’s music spoke to each other (so touching on the feel of the original title), but also suggested the darker side of the novel. I also wanted to express the rock side of things but also choose a title that could work as a series – because I was planning to write about each of the band members.
Then one night, an epiphany came in a dream: to link the names to songs by one of my favourite bands. And that’s how Need You Tonight was born. It hints at the romance, but also the obsession of the stalker and ties in the rock aspect in a big way (for me at least).
So, after years of calling the novel by another name, the first book in the Storm Haven series is now called Need You Tonight with the second novel being called The Devil Inside and the third Never Tear Us Apart. And do you know what? I love them. They feel good, much better than Sounding the Heart ever did. It tells me so much more about the story. And I hope it speaks to readers too.
About Need You Tonight
Not even fame will protect him from her violent past.
Reclusive music producer, Lexi Deningham, has worked hard to escape a violent past, building her reputation so world famous rock stars come to her at her isolated recording studio in the Victorian High Country. That includes the wildly talented Daemon Flagherty who has just arrived to discuss his band’s next album. After a messy divorce, all Daemon wants is to focus on his music, even if that means going to the end of the world to work with the best, albeit mysterious, music producer there is.
When Lexi gets a call from her twin sister’s secure mental health hospital telling her Cat has been attacked, Lexi has no choice but to bring her twin home. Lexi isn’t ready to deal with both Cat and Daemon at the same time but if she wants to work with Daemon – and she does, desperately – she has no choice.
Romance should be the last thing on their minds, but it seems that neither Lexi nor Daemon can ignore the passion between them. Until the threat from Lexi’s past comes crashing into the present, determined to make her pay and with no care for who might get in the way.
Lexi is used to going it alone, but will she realise she needs help before it’s too late?
Rock star romance meets small town thriller. If you love hot, creative heroes, stubborn and talented heroines, romance against the odds, a suspenseful mystery to sink your teeth into, a rural setting mixed with music, concerts and sexy scenes on the spicy side, then you’ll love Need You Tonight.