What’s in a Name? On Titles with Meg Benjamin
When I wrote the first book in my Konigsburg series for Samhain, I really hadn’t thought much about the subsequent ones. All I was really thinking about was how much I liked the title: Venus In Blue Jeans. For those who don’t recognize it, that’s a fifties song by Jimmy Clanton. The song itself is fairly dumb, as many fifties songs are. But I thought the title and concept were cool, and they worked very well with my heroine, a somewhat zaftig redhead who the hero thought was built like Botticelli’s Venus.
Once I had the song title thing going, though, I stuck with it. The second book in the series was Wedding Bell Blues, a song by the Fifth Dimension in the sixties. Since the book was about a wedding from hell, it seemed appropriate.
Book number three was Be My Baby, which has been recorded by everybody from The Ronettes to Linda Ronstadt (a really lovely lullaby version). The book was a thriller in which the hero and heroine fight off a nasty kidnapper, so again it seemed to fit.
And now for book four. I wanted to call it Kisses Sweeter Than Wine because the heroine manages a winery, but, alas, another author at Samhain had already beaten me to it. I undertook a frenzied two-day search through the song lists at iTunes, looking through songs about wine (around 500), songs about home (around 800), and songs about loneliness. But nothing really struck me. Then I was going through some road songs and I hit Long Time Gone. There are at least three different songs with that title, but I was sort of leaning more toward the Dixie Chicks version. My hero is someone who’s trying to make amends for his rotten adolescence, winning back the trust of his family and his belief in himself. The title just seemed appropriate. My editor was slightly dubious—cool, but was it a romance title?
Meg Benjamin writes about South Texas, although she now lives in Colorado. Her comic romances—Venus In Blue Jeans, Wedding Bell Blues, and Be My Baby, all from Samhain Publishing—are set in the Texas Hill Country in the mythical town of Konigsburg. When she isn’t writing, Meg spends her time listening to Americana music, drinking Colorado and Texas wine, and keeping track of her far-flung family. She recently retired from twenty years of teaching writing, Web design, and desktop publishing.
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