As part of the The Twice Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones blog tour, I am really happy to have Susie Day guesting on the blog, telling us how the book got its title.
I’m guessing every writer has a different tale to tell about titles. I suppose it’s even possible that there’s some weirdo out there who finds it easy.
There are plenty of literary classics that briefly flirted with quite different names. Catch-11, anyone?
Having characters called ‘Blue’ and ‘Red’ (they’re the same girl, one year apart) took us down all kinds of bonkers avenues. With the inestimable aid of my editor Marion Lloyd and her genius assistant Anna Solemani, we wrote lists of everything associated with each colour: Moody Blue, Blue Moon, Caught Red-Handed, Red Letter Day... According to my notes, we seriously considered ‘Red Light’ (Red’s a sparky, perky character, who brings lightness to Blue’s anxious life). Next to it is scribbled the mournful comment “BUT: prostitution connections”. Yeah. Not really the direction we had in mind.
Better Than Blue, The Opposite of Blue, The Summer I Lived Twice: all were contenders for a while. Even once we hit on Twice-Lived Summer... we took forever to pick out Bluebell’s last name. Bluebell Black, Bluebell Brass, Bluebell Price. (Looking through my notes, it appears I briefly toyed with calling her Bluebell Fish. That’s authorial despair for you.) In the end this last detail was settled, as it often is, with an office poll around Scholastic HQ. My title is a true example of teamwork.
Thank you Susie for letting us in on the decision process. I can't imagine it as any of those other titles now.
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