Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Samantha Durante, author the Stitch Trilogy! The second book, Shudder, debuted this past weekend. I’m a huge fan of this series and excited she could make a stop here during her blog tour. Thanks for swinging by, Samantha!
What’s In a Name? How I Titled Shudder
by Samantha Durante, Author of the Stitch Trilogy
You’d think that writing a book is the most difficult part of the process, but for me, that’s generally not the case – coming up with a decent title once I’ve written the thing is *infinitely* harder.
After all, a good title is as important as a good cover – it’s just reality that readers are going to make snap judgments about your book based on the title. In fact, I almost missed out on what is now one of my favorite books – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – because the long, stuffy, and unwieldy title led me (incorrectly) to assume it was a long, stuffy, and unwieldy book, and not the engaging and heartwarming tale it turned out to be. So I know from being a reader myself that a solid title can make all the difference between a quick dismissal and a potential sale, regardless of the quality of the book itself.
As a result, I find the exercise of naming my books to be a generally daunting and stressful endeavor. I constantly second-guess my choices, wondering, “Is this catchy enough? Does it really reflect what’s going on in the book? Is it easy to remember and spell? Does it sound nice with the other titles in the series? Will readers understand what I meant by it?” and about a million other apprehensions.
So how do I know when I’ve got a good title? Besides satisfying a number of criteria (concise, memorable, simple, upbeat, and goes well with the other titles in the series), I also look for titles with depth – some word or combination of words that convey multiple levels of meaning. For Book 2 of the Stitch Trilogy, I knew I’d found that with “Shudder.” Here’s why:
Level 1 – The Literal
The book takes place during the middle of winter, much of which is spent by the main characters surviving in the wilderness and the remains of a shattered world. Therefore, it is cold. Cold enough to shiver, tremble, quiver, shake… or even shudder.
Level 2 – The Emotional
Taking this one step further, the characters in the book are also grappling with staggering feelings of fear as they confront various terrors throughout their journeys. From mysterious powerful bloodthirsty creatures and a ravaging deadly virus, to an insurmountable totalitarian enemy and inexplicable paranormal happenings, to captivity, confinement, self-doubt, and even the threat of mental illness, the characters in this book are scared. A lot. (And understandably so.) Scared enough that they actually physically shudder in response to the challenges they’re facing.
Level 3 – The Metaphorical
So you can shudder from cold or shudder from fear, but there’s also something else we commonly shudder from: disgust. Abhorrence, aversion, loathing – call it what you want, but everyone knows that feeling, that deep-seated physical repulsion to something that another says or does that just doesn’t sit right with the way we think about the world. And since we get to know the *bad* guys in the series a lot better in this installment, both the characters and the reader will find themselves shuddering internally at various points in the story from some of the appalling things the antagonists have done and their twisted reasons for doing so.
Level 4 – The Empathetic
The final reason for the selection of the title “Shudder” I can’t reveal to you without spoiling one of the biggest surprises in the book. But suffice it to say, if you’ve made it to the end of the story, you’ll know what I mean. Something absolutely, mind-numbingly horrible has happened to someone that the main character, Alessa, holds very dear. Readers have told me that the revelation gave them goosebumps, made them mildly nauseous, made them literally cry out in sympathy for the discovery that Alessa makes at the end of the story. As Alessa herself puts it, this thing that happens is, “unspeakable, the nightmare of a nightmare come horrifyingly true.” (See what I mean?)
Once I find that a title fits my book on so many different levels, that it encompasses the book inside and out, that it can show readers how to understand the story from a completely different perspective than perhaps they first approached it with, I know I’ve got the right one. (You can see now why this is so hard for me, right? It’s not exactly a simple task to choose just a couple words that can mean so much!)
And with Shudder, I knew right away I’d found the right fit. Give this book a read, and I’m sure you’ll see why too.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Samantha! If you haven’t started this trilogy yet, grab Stitch and Shudder before you take off for vacation. You can check out my review for Shudder here: https://teripolen.com/2013/06/12/shudder-by-samantha-durante/ and Stitch here: https://teripolen.com/2013/02/20/book-review-stitch-by-samantha-durante/.
Stitch Purchase Links
Amazon (Kindle $0.99, print $8.99) Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $0.99) Barnes & Noble (Nook $0.99) Also available in the iTunes store ($0.99 e-book) and wherever e-books are sold Note: Stitch is coming back to B&N Nook, iTunes, and Kobo by early July!
Shudder Purchase Links
Amazon (Kindle $2.99, print $9.99) Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $2.99) Barnes & Noble (Nook $2.99) Also available in the iTunes store ($2.99 e-book) and wherever e-books are sold Shudder will be available on B&N Nook, iTunes, and Kobo by early July!
Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.