Monday, November 29, 2010

The Wrong Mother

I just finished a first draft of a revision of a previously completed manuscript. The manuscript has been around for a long time and had a title, but after the revisions and the clarity of time, I’ve decided that the title needs to change. To give you some background on the book, the story is about a woman from St. Louis who shows up on the doorstep of a moderately wealthy business owner in Fort Worth, claiming that she has raised his son’s daughter. Having lost all the other children in a terrible accident the year before, the businessman is elated at the possibility of another grandchild, but the timing couldn’t be worse. The woman and girl have shown up just as they are preparing to announce the merger of the family business with that of another family and there is talk that the businessman’s son will marry the daughter of the other family. The woman has a reputation as a con-artist but some of what she says convinces them that they must check out the story. The businessman hopes to find proof that the girl is his granddaughter while protecting his family from the con-artist. The woman wants to deliver the girl to her family, but she doesn’t want to be left out of the girl’s life. Of course it has all the normal twists you would expect from a story like this.

After giving it some thought, The Wrong Mother seemed like a good title. It has a bit of irony to it and it seems like someone would want to learn more about the book just to find out how the mother could be the wrong one. But then I did a search for that title and discovered that Sophie Hannah wrote a book using that title that was published in September of last year. Her book involves a woman who investigates a man with whom she had adulterous relations. If the reviews are any indication, Hannah’s book hasn’t been particularly well received, so I could probably go ahead and use the title without fear of people confusing the two books. I’m guessing that most of the people who read her book have forgotten the title. But I’m also a little concerned that I might like that title because I watched Alice in Wonderland this weekend and it made reference to “the wrong Alice.” And there’s also the Jack in the Beanstalk movie that makes a reference to “the wrong Jack.” For some reason, I like that phrase.

What can I say? I need a title. I’ve got another one up my sleeve that is similar to the one I mentioned, but if you’ve got suggestions, I would love to hear them.

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