One of the hardest tasks with writing a book is coming up with a title. The title sticks with the book through thick and thin. It is the first draw for any potential reader. It defines the essence of the book: it’s story, it’s location, it’s timbre.
A title sets the scene; the writing tells the story.
Book 2 has gone through a few iterations. Originally it was The One with the Brain Event, and I’d labelled all the chapter headings The one with… just like in the TV series Friends. Then my very wise husband pointed out that Friends is over now, and perhaps no-one will get the connection (can you believe the programme finished 10 years ago?). And perhaps they’d laid some sort of rights to the phrase The one with… as a title starter.
So that was scrapped.
And, in fairness, for a couple of years it probably lay there labelled as Book 2. I shall be sorry to lose that, as I have quite enjoyed the title. If nothing else, it emphasised to me that I had completed Book 1!
But I wanted something that followed on well from In the Shade of the Mulberry Tree but also reflected Africa. As a sequel ‘More tales from the Mulberry Tree’ might have worked. Instead I concentrated on the tree theme and thought through all the trees I had come across while living in Zambia. This was made a little easier as the houses at my children’s school were all named after trees, but in the end I decided they weren’t appropriate.
What finally tipped the title into being was rediscovering a poem my father had written for his grandchildren. It is by no means his best poetry, but it is fun and light-hearted: perfect for a 5- and 3-year-old, as they were then. He, in turn, took his title from a sign that was nailed to a tree at a cafe we frequented in Lusaka.
Beware the falling avocados
What do you think? All I have to do now is finish writing and editing the book!