Titles are the hardest part of writing a book for me, and yet one of the most important tools for letting the reader know just what she’s getting when she decides to pick up a Renee Ryan release. I’ve published eleven books so far, and I’ve been able to keep one of my original titles. That’s right, one. One! Just so you can see how bad I am at this, here are my original titles, with the final titles beside them.
UNSHAKABLE LOVE became THE MARSHAL TAKES A BRIDE (the hero is a U.S. Marshal)
A LOVE THAT LASTS became HANNAH’S BEAU (the hero’s name is Beau, heroine is Hannah)
A MOST UNSUITABLE LOVE became LOVING BELLA (the heroine’s name is Bella)
DAWN OF DARKNESS became DANGEROUS ALLIES (hero and heroine are both spies in 1939 Germany)
UNDER THE HIS PROTECTION became THE LAWMAN CLAIMS HIS BRIDE (hero is a U.S. Marshal)
INTIMATE ENEMIES became COURTING THE ENEMY (hero is a WWII spy, heroine’s father a Nazi sympathizer)
HAILEY’S HERO became HOMECOMING HERO (contemporary book with a returning Iraq War veteran)
CHARITY HOUSE REDEPMTION became THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION (former gunslinger hero released from prison)
Apparently, I have a long way to go when it comes to titling my work. So, what makes a good title? Here are a few of this week’s popular country song titles to give us a clue. Hope on the Rocks, Stay With Me Tonight, Only God Could Love You More, Sure Felt Like Goodbye, and Maybe You Remember Me Now. I don’t know about you, but I get a good idea what these songs are about without having to hear the lyrics.
And isn’t that what makes a good title, just a few words that encompass the entire story?
For fun, I want you to help me title my current work-in-progress, a historical western set in 1880s Denver, Colorado. For now, I’ve titled the book WINNING MOLLY’S HEART. Here’s the blurb for you to get an idea what the story is about…
She was the original runaway bride
Molly Taylor Scott loved being engaged almost as much as she loved the Lord. Brought up to believe in the sanctity of marriage, thankfully, the impressionable miss always realized the error of her ways before walking down the aisle. Her family hopes that Molly’s new position as a personal secretary to a wealthy widow will be a stabilizing force in her life.
Garrett Mitchell fell for Molly’s charms once. But that was long ago, when he was a boy of seventeen. He’s a prominent attorney now and a whole lot wiser. His focus is on a big land merger he’s orchestrated for his firm, not on a certain raven-haired, blue-eyed imp whose saucy smile haunted his dreams for too many years. Besides, after encouraging Garrett’s sister to break her own engagement—to Garrett’s boss—Molly is on his black list…again.
Garrett’s vow to keep his distance from the troublesome Molly becomes increasingly difficult when his firm’s most important client, the wealthy widow decides Garrett and her personal secretary would be a perfect match.
Will the third time be the charm for Molly? Will Garrett be the man who finally wins Molly’s heart?
Okay, you’re turn. What title would you give this book? If you leave a comment you’ll be put in a drawing for one of my past releases (your choice).