Please help me welcome today’s guest…..drumroll…..Courtney Milan!
Confession time: I suck at titles. If I have to make up a title for a book, I hem and haw and basically come up with really awful sounding strings of characters that nobody would ever want to read, not in a million billion years.
Proof by Seduction was the very last title I had for this book. While I was writing it, I mostly just called it by its code-name: Ornithology, since my hero is interested in birds. I also pretended, from time to time, that it had other titles. I used The Making of Jenny Keeble, a truly awful title, when entering it into contests for unpublished romance writers. I briefly flirted with other possibilities: The Lord and the Liar, and Flight of Fancy. None of these seemed to fit the book, and I had just about given up, assuming that the book would be titled something truly awful and generic, like The Scientific Lord’s Virgin Fortune-Telling Mistress, which would have been unfortunate since Jenny is neither a virgin nor Gareth’s Mistress.
I found the title when I was beating my head against the wall trying to write a query letter for my book. For those of you who don’t know, a query letter is a dreadful rite of passage inflicted on newbie writers, whereby they try to make their 100,000 word book sound interesting and exciting using about 100 words. I was trying to be clever and cute, and noticed the similarity between the words “induction”—a word scientists use to describe the process of continued observation—and “seduction.” In fact, there’s a method of mathematical proof called a “Proof by Induction,” and a very long time ago, when I was flirting with the notion of becoming a computer scientist instead of a romance novelist, I’d learned to do proofs by induction.
Thus, the title was born: Proof by Seduction. It combines both the hard rigor and finality of proof with the languid sensuality of seduction. As an added bonus, it’s an awful pun that will make scientists the world over glare at me and stalk off in disgust. I did not mention this little tidbit to anyone while the book was on submission, because I was pretty sure that if I told them that the title was great because it was a horrible scientific pun that nobody would get, they would change it instantly to something less dorky. Now I’ve snuck it by them, and it is too late! Mu ha ha!
The book I’m writing right now is code-named: Bigamy. Oh yeah. You know you want to read it already.
Those of you who are interested in a copy of Ornithology–er, I mean Proof–will be happy to know that one random commenter will get a copy! Just tell me what your favorite title is for a book, and why you like it.