Sunday, 11 January 2009

The Name of the Book - Catherine Johnson

This is the blog equivalent of that awful Norwich Union/Aviva name changing advert on the telly. Although of course, this blog has been bought to you for a mere fraction of the budget of the ad with, sadly none of the celebs and none of the action.
I have to change the name of my new book. OK so I don't have to, but after talking to my daughter who agrees with my editor, I can see they are right and a better title needs to be found.
Until last week, the book was called The Munro Inheritance, see what I'm doing there? Cunningly referring to those Bourne movies and suggesting thrills and spills and fast paced espionage and action. However, although the story does contain all those things, it's also set in Soho in 1947, in a jazz musicians cafe, and features a fascist party called the British League, a fighting band of mostly Jewish young men called the 43 Group, and Soho gangsters.
Thanks to the immeasurable wisdom of the Scattered Authors Society I am veering towards something with the word 'Undercover' or perhaps something mirroring 'A Rage in Dalston,' an excellent radio documentary about the 43 Group, but I doubt whether that's going to have any 12 year olds reaching for their birthday book tokens.
It's very hard, especially as I've thought of the book as Munro for a year now, it's a bit like deciding to change your baby's name. As if you called her Blondie when she was born and now her hair's dark. This actually happened to my good friend Sophie up there with me in the photo, whose effortlessly clever, beautiful, and most excellent daughter Xanthe (Greek for blonde) is no longer fair haired.
So I need to be thinking snappy, exciting, and snappier still. And in this post Christmas vegetative state all I can think about is staying in bed and reading. Got some great books as presents though, and if anyone out there likes picture books with a few more words try The Lying Carpet by David Lucas. Now there's a wonderful title.


Mary Hoffman said...

How about 43 Undercover?

And I think Xanthe means "flower" doesn't it?

Catherine Johnson said...

Sophie's Greek cypriot Mum told me it meant 'yellow' and was used in Cyprus anyway - like blondie.