My latest book from Ellora’s Cave, Taming Tara, is out today!
I’ve been blogging around the interweb about how I based this story on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. (If you’re interested you can read more here and here). If you haven’t read those other posts, I got the idea for this story when I saw a similarity between how Petruccio tamed Kate and how a Dom would train a submissive.
But I’m not going to talk about Shakespeare here today. Instead I thought I’d share the naming anguish I suffered with this story.
The first version of this book was titled “What She Really Wants”. But I didn’t think it conveyed enough of the D/s aspect of the story and I also thought it would be nice to link to my last Ellora’s Cave book Power Struggle. So I renamed it “Power Exchange”. It was perfect! I sent it off to my editor and was thrilled when she offered a contract. Only one problem: Ellora’s Cave already has a book named “Power Exchange”. I had to change the title.
The Naughty Nine will tell you how I sweated over that, and I thank all of you for the title brainstorming! Eventually I came up with a title I liked, “A Sense of Place”. In the book, Tara’s family business is running an olive ranch which produces olives and olive oil, and at one point when Tara and Joe are in the olive groves she explains the concept of “terroir” to him:
“...up here, it feels…good.” He shrugged.
“You’re feeling it,” she said. “The romance of it.”
He looked askance at her.
“It’s the terroir.”
“It’s the land. Terroir is the influence of the land on the quality of the oil, the romantic part nobody can quite put their finger on. When the oil is good, people often say it is because of the land—the ideal soil, wonderful climate or whatever.”
“And when it tastes bad, it’s because of something else,” Joe murmured with amusement.
Her lips curved up. “Of course.” She lifted a shoulder and his hand trailed down her cheek to touch her collarbone, revealed in the open V of her T-shirt. “There’s a lot of science involved in olive productions—you’ve seen that. But there’s something else too…things difficult to pin down. I know all that stuff like irrigation and soil quality are really what matter, but there has to be heart and soul and…love.” She lowered her eyes in embarrassment.
There is no exact English word for terroir, but in translation it would loosely mean “a sense of place” and I thought it was nicely metaphorical for how Tara finds her place in the world.
But my editor nixed that title because it didn’t given enough of an “erotic romance” feel. So it was back to the drawing board. I thought up and rejected countless titles, none quite right.
Not only did I have to change the title, I couldn’t use the name I’d picked out for the hero because it was considered an overused name. I won’t tell you what it was because I ended up using it for a minor character in the book! Once again I turned to the Naughty Nine for naming help. It had to be an Italian name because Joe’s family ran Italian restaurants. Special thanks to PG Forte for making me cry with laughter by suggesting Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael.*G* In the end, the name I used was already in the book, and my hero switched names with a minor character.
And since the only title I could come up with that I liked involved the word “Taming” and my heroine’s name was Carina, and “Taming Carina” didn’t flow off the tongue, Carina became Tara. And my title became “Taming Tara” which thankfully my editor approved of!
Can I tell you how painful and traumatic that was to rename the characters? My characters become real people to me, and it was as off-putting as if I’d had to rename both my teenage children. They are who they are, their names are an integral part of them, and though I knew someone reading the book for the first time would have no idea, it really threw me. I’m still not used to it.
Despite all the naming angst, Taming Tara is now out in the world!