Well, quite a lot actually. Cold Granite didn’t start life as ‘Cold Granite’, but something else. I changed it ‘cos I didn’t like the first title and needed something to call the damn thing. But I kinda liked ‘Cold Granite’ as a working title and so it stuck. Good thing too, as HC think it’s the dogs danglies – for this particular book anyway. And then along comes book two. Now normally I start with a title in mind, and this then helps shape the story – lends flavour to my thinks, but the only working title I have for book 2 is ‘Shore Lane’. Appropriate, because Shore Lane is the heart of Aberdeen’s red light district. Bad, because I really don’t like it, and the nice people from HarperCollins go quiet and change the subject whenever they hear it, so I’m assuming they’re not too keen either. And even if I did like it, that naughty Mr Rankin has put the doodads on using it with his latest offering: Fleshmarket Close. Just round the corner from where I spent my first year in Edinburgh, for all you trivia fans out there. Can’t use ‘Shore Lane’ on the heels of ‘Fleshmarket Close’: just end up looking like a Johnny Come Lately. So back to the drawing board for a new name. And I HATE naming things after I’m nearly finished. My head is by now so full of all the different little things that happen I end up with naming paralysis.
Arsebiscuits – that’s what I say. (not a proposed title, I might add, just an expression of bearded frustration [which is like normal frustration, only hairier]).
The name for book 3 is already decided – before starting writing: see? – and everyone’s happy with it. So Book 1: title good, Book 2: title poo, Book 3: title good. And I have, for some unfathomable reason, decided that all these books must adhere to a two word title. Something something. Just like that. I’m flexible as far as syllables are concerned, but not that much.
So, herein lies the challenge: anyone want to suggest titles for a book they’ve never read, with no idea of what it’s about, who’s in it, or what happens? Oh, and the only prize would be to swank about, pointing at the thing on the bookshelves and telling your mates, “I came up with that, I did.” While they look at you with disgust and reply, “Don’t be daft.” Your only reward will be the ridicule of your own friends: ‘cos you’re not getting any of my money, you dirty spongers.
Oh, and in case you’re ever tempted to try it: eating warm chicken salad with a plastic fork has little to recommend it.