What’s in a name?

To my delight, a number of great reviews for Highland Solution have been posted on Amazon. One of my favorites was posted by a reader calling herself “Sandy Milan” and entitled “Dreadful title to a really good book.” She gave it 5 stars (well 4.5 really) and had the following to say:

I’m an absolute sucker for arranged marriage stories and this one is rather nice. I absolutely loved how the h was so loving and good. I only deducted 1/2 star because the H and his mistrust annoyed me. Other than that I thought it very sweet and I liked how the love built between the main characters. I recommend this book and hope there will be a series because some of the secondary characters were very interesting.

I like this review because I don’t know who Sandy is (so there is no bias), she has reviewed nearly 1000 books on Amazon (mostly romance), and her reviews run the gamut from 1 to 5 stars. She uses 1 star and 2 star reviews sparingly and with the exception of her 1 star reviews, she generally has at least something positive to say about books she dislikes. She is also very specific about what she likes and doesn’t like. I can read one of her reviews and have some idea about whether I would have similar issues with the book.

That said, I realize that her comment about the title has merit and I thought I would share how I came up with the title and perhaps why it is less than ideal. Initially, I had a terrible time sorting out a title. So many Highland romance titles are similar and I wanted something unique. I thought about a play on movie titles. For example “The Man Who Loved Kat Dancing” could become “The Highlander Who Loved Kat Ruthven.” Ewwww. Then I thought of solid bold titles like, “The Bourne Identity” (Supremacy, Ultimatum and Legacy).

I liked this idea and tried to think of a single word that could capture the basic plot. The original version of the novel contained a scene between Niall and King David II where Niall asked for financial help. At the time, King David was also pondering how to give Ambrose Ruthven what he wanted (and for which he had already paid the king handsomely).

The king stopped midsentence; he saw a solution. This laird had lands and title, but desperately needed funds. Perhaps if he was paid a sizable dowry he would be willing to relinquish his bride’s lands and title? He wondered briefly whether giving a sickly slow-witted girl in marriage to this rather large Highland laird was a better option for her than sending her to a convent but he didn’t let it prick his conscious for long. This solution would solve both problems and the result would be the eternal gratitude and allegiance of both a powerful Highland laird and a very wealthy Lowland lord.

Thus, the “solution” for the king’s immediate problems rested in an impoverished Highland laird so I landed on the title “The Highland Solution.” My publisher removed “The” from the title and during the first round of edits I eliminated those early scenes, to improve the flow of the book. I see now that by doing so, the meaning of the title became much less obvious.

If you have read the book, did the title confuse you as well?

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6 Responses to What’s in a name?

  1. ann leeson says:

    Nope, got it because you added it in the first chapters.

  2. Mary Morgan says:

    I had no problem with the title. 🙂 Have to say that I’m almost done with the book and…I’m loving it! Each chapter is like a layer, unfolding and revealing more about the hero and heroine. You are taking me on a journey.

  3. cecigiltenan says:

    I’m speechless. Thank you. The best part of this book release journey has been “meeting” people like you and Ann and so many others who have received this little piece of me so warmly.

  4. Sandy says:

    Hi Ceci

    Thanks for the nice comments about my review of this book. You actually hit on the exact reason I didn’t care for ‘solution’ – it’s too ‘business’ and not enough romance. I work in finance and ‘solution’ is so overused and annoying.

    Unfortunately I lack imagination and wouldn’t be able to give you a better alternative:)

    Sandy

  5. cecigiltenan says:

    Well it certainly did start as an absolutely cold business arrangement, but I do see your point. The next one is called Highland Courage, a bit more romantic I think. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it as well.

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