But the title is really bugging me. Nick + Serran was meant to be a placeholder until I came up with "the real title." For a while I considered just leaving it and having the cover design be something like their names carved into a tree with a heart around it, but I don't think that would give potential readers an accurate impression of what the book is about.
I think a good title is key. It needs to feel comfortable and be enticing at the same time. It needs to hint at what the book is actually about while still preserving some mystery.
I know I have months yet to figure it out, but somehow I feel like having the title nailed down would help me focus this draft. So I'm trying to come up with a better title than the placeholder one.
I think it may have the word fantasy in it, or at least be somehow related to the concept of fantasy, and here's why: my female lead, Serran Winters - aka Jane Garfield, the bestselling romance author - is completely hung up on memory and fantasy. She has gone through her adult life comparing her real-life romantic relationships to the one she never had with Nick Enfield, the male lead and her teenage crush, or to the relationships she dreams up in her romance novels. And when those relationships failed to meet her expectations, she could always fall back on this idea that she had shared something special with Nick, even if it had never come to fruition. She uses her fragmented (and possibly flawed) memories of the few intense moments they had together to nurture this fantasy version of him to which she compares all men and to which no man can measure up.
So I was thinking about something that touches on her reliance on fantasy as well as the fact that he's an "old flame," as the expression goes.
I could really use your help on this one. Here are some ideas I'm kicking around:
Fantasy Come True
Fantasy Meets Reality
Fantasy's Flame Reignited
The Flame of Fantasy
What do you think? Do any of these sound any good?
But maybe I'm being too one-sided about this whole thing. This book is just as much about Nick's journey as it is about Serran's, so it would make sense to take him into account too when coming up with a title.
What can I tell you about Nick? What he wants most is real intimacy. He wants to truly know someone and be known by them. He was married once to a lively, fun, beautiful artist named Mara. But after a while he realized that there was this part of her he could never access; it only ever came out in her art. A sad side, a dark side. She never shared that part of herself with him, and, he eventually realized, she never wanted to know the whole him, either.
Because of his experience with Mara and a few other women, he's come to see all women this way: as largely superficial creatures who are incapable of delving deep. But of course part of the problem is him. He attracts these kinds of women because of the way he interacts with women, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The kind of woman he wants to be with probably wouldn't talk to him under normal circumstances because he has a tendency to unwittingly objectify women. He comes across as a guy who just wants to have a good time and keep it light, so he attracts women who just want to have a good time and keep it light.
Add to the mix the fact that Serran is on tour in disguise as Jane Garfield when they re-meet and he has no idea it's her - and she wants to keep it that way - and I'm thinking maybe the title should be less about fantasy and more about disguises or artifice. Something about the masks we wear to keep people from getting too close, the way that Serran uses fantasy to keep men from getting too close? Something about unmasking? Removing the veil of fantasy and the veil of the selves we show to the outside world to keep from being vulnerable?
Cloak and Dagger
Veil of Fantasy
Veil of Flame
Fantasy's Flame: The Unmasking
Fantasy's Flame: The Reveal
Oof. If you have ideas or one of the brainstorm titles jumps out at you, please let me know!
P.S. One more thing that I'm taking into account when thinking of titles is that this is the first book and there will be at least one more, possibly two more. So I'm looking not only for a title for this book but also the title of the series itself.