I'm looking forward to a new release from Harlequin Superromance this Thursday. Dances Under the Harvest Moon is my third book in my Heartache, TN series, and writing this one brought me as much joy as the first two in the series. Some of that, I realized recently, had to do with the beautiful titles for these stories. Call me crazy... how can a title shape my whole experience writing an eighty-thousand word story? But for me, it really does. Allow me to explain.
|My October release|
I find it hard to work on a story without a title. It doesn't matter if it's not the title that goes on the cover in the end. I need a working title before I can begin a single word of a synopsis or chapter. While I certainly have book ideas that begin with characters, plot concepts, conflicts, or themes, I never really have a story take shape in my head until I've attached some kind of title to the idea. Only then does a book really start to grow for me.
With the first Heartache, TN book, I really felt from the start that I wasn't just creating a story. I was creating a world. It seemed important for a small town romance that I be intimately acquainted with the town. For me, that meant collecting photos, creating a map and sketching out some of the town's key figures. But the town itself wasn't the story world. That didn't really crystallize for me until we called this one Promises Under the Peach Tree.
Such an evocative title! Now the world wasn't just a place... it was a place with heart. A place I could breath in and feel the grass under my feet. Not only did Heartache become real for me, it became a place I enjoyed visiting each time I returned to the manuscript. I knew these people. They were friends.
With each return to Heartache, the titles have helped solidify moods and feelings. Nights Under the Tennessee Stars brought to mind drive in movies, midnight tailgating parties and drinks on the back porch. And this most recent story, Dances Under the Harvest Moon, well that just oozes romance! Hearing the title and seeing that book cover takes me to a romantic dance in the moonlight. Anyone else a fan of the Neil Young song Harvest Moon?
Like any romance reader knows, of course, a romance book is not just full of moonlit dances. We read romance to see how real characters combat the same kinds of conflicts we face in our lives, and to root for love to conquer all. But it makes me happy to give my characters those beautiful moments in the course of their journey that help make the battle for love all the more worthwhile. And in this book, a slow dance in the driveway helped remind me why this was a romance worth fighting for.
We all need our own moonlit dances, or nights under the stars or peach tree promises to get us through our own romances, I think. Those memories within our relationships pull us through real life battles and make us smile through hard times. It never hurts to think up your title-- to give yourself that memory or the lens through which to view your love-- and let it shape how you think about your romance. Our words mean so much. They shape how we think and articulate how we feel. Use yours kindly and christen your own romance with something to make you smile, too.
|A giveaway for you!|
***When you need a good, happy memory to make you smile, do you envision a shared romantic memory or a shared laugh? The times I love my husband the most are when he makes me smile at the moments when I'm discouraged. When he's at his best, he can tease a smile from my worst mood, and that's a special gift! Share with me this week and I'll give one random poster a little everyday romance to make YOU smile! A copy of Promises Under the Peach Tree and some decadent bath products to bring back the scent of warm summer days.