In the Serpent’s Wake

Titles are hard. Only one title ever came to me before I even started outlining the story to go with it, and that was my third book, Tess in Boots.

That’s the title that sparked the writing, anyway. You observant readers may have noticed it’s not the title the book ended up with. Tess in Boots, alas, was simultaneously too young-sounding — evoking Puss in Boots — and too “adult” sounding, as it were. It’s a rare title that can span that gap. Fortunately, this was not my first novel and I had a back-up title up my sleeve, Tess of the Road. Even more fortunately, the publishers liked it.

Tess of the Sea seemed the natural successor to Tess of the Road, considering that the first book had ended with our Tess boarding a ship. My husband, an incorrigible smarty-pants, suggested that a better title might be Tess in Boats, and I admit that will always be the secret beloved title of my heart. If it makes me laugh, it wins.

However, publishers have their own metrics for what makes for good titles. There were many suggestions, but in the end we managed to agree on In the Serpent’s Wake. It’s arresting enough to keep them happy, and has just enough hint of double-meaning to appeal to me. Wake is a lovely word, and carries weight in the text.

The book comes out February 1st, 2022. Please click here for more information, including pre-order options.

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