The title of a book communicates a lot to readers, what to expect from those pages within, how much we’re going to love the premise. And when an author is constrained by a series title, well, it gets even trickier! We dared Carly Phillips to walk us through how she handles such conundrums for her Dare to Love series. Take it away, Carly!
Book titles can be the bane of a writer’s existence. How to pick titles that go with your story but also appeal to a reader? It isn’t easy. First you want a title that ties to the theme of your books. Or at least I do. And I like when a title ties to a story. Since I’m also lucky to have a wonderful writer support group, women who have plotted with me and brainstormed with me since … oh, I can’t say, that would date me — suffice it to say a long time. I turned to them to help me title the series.
I started with the main family’s last name, knowing I wanted to use it in the title. As I recall, Dare came pretty quickly. It was a hot, sexy last name and I loved it. Dare to Love came next for book one. Again pretty easy. It also immediately struck me as the right name for the series. Next came the list of words that go with Dare to … boy, are there a lot! All words that express something about the need each character has in their life … the need for love, desire, touch.
The Dare cousins took me by surprise. I never intended to write them as part of the series but once I did, they needed titles too. All the Dare to Love series stories are hotter than older Carly Phillips books, but the New York cousins really steam up the pages. They contain a touch of BDSM and their titles needed to reflect that intensity and passion. Hence … Dare to Surrender, Dare to Submit and Dare to Seduce, which is out on November 17th. I want readers to know what they’re getting by the title, and those three really did the trick.
It became fun to pick out titles. My rocker, of course, wanted his book to be titled Dare to Rock and next year comes Dare to Take. Since I wanted to be able to give readers a family tree so they could have a visual of the family dynamic, I needed to finish picking titles for all the siblings. Since the father, Robert Dare, had a second family hidden away, there were a lot of children … and stories. (See the whole family here — Ed.) Although I don’t know the characters that well in the last trio of books, the illegitimate siblings, as I call them, I was still able to pick titles that I can tie to story. After all, who doesn’t Dare to Want, Dare to Pleasure and last of all, Dare to Dream?
For me, titles aren’t random and always have meaning relating to the story. I hope whenever you read one of my books, you can find the tie in. It’s always there!