I’m back with some BTS (Behind the Scenes) posts in the lead up to Carrion Crow‘s release at the end of March! To start off I’m going to answer a question I’ve been asked quite frequently: What does the title mean? Or Where does the title come from?
Some book titles are obvious (i.e. Vampire Academy which is about an academy for vampires) and others are a bit more difficult to decipher (i.e. And I Darken which is a gender-swap version of Vlad the Impaler). Mine tend to lean towards the obscure side (don’t worry I’ll do a post later for the Walking Shadows book titles!) so I figured why not lay it out for you? At last your mind can rest from the mystery! Haha
Below I’ll walk you through all three book titles in the Otherworld series. Some may surprise you, others you might have guessed, but in the end it doesn’t much matter because they are the titles that I have chosen and I’m happy with them. But if you’ve been long wondering what they mean, allude to, or how I came up with them at all then this is a post you’ll enjoy. Coming up with the book titles is perhaps the toughest part of writing/publishing a book (at least for me!). I’m absolutely serious, I loath having to come up with titles! But I won’t put you through the wringer, I’m going to answer that insistent curiosity in one post.
And don’t forget to buy a copy of Crooked Raven to read if you haven’t already because in just a few short weeks book 2, Carrion Crow will be available on Amazon!
Let’s go ahead and get this one out the way. The series title. I chose “Otherworld” because in complete honesty after months of brainstorming my brain failed me haha. Otherworld is a common name for the land of the fair folk/faeries, gods and goddesses, etc. I looked at a lot of myths for inspiration and they all let me down by referring to this magical place as simply the “Otherworld” so I went with it. Perhaps with a team to help me I could have come up with something far more original and exciting but at the time it was just me and by the time I decided to actually try publishing what I wrote the name had stuck and it felt odd to change it. Four years later and a part of me wishes I’d been more clever but alas it is what it is and I’m actually not all that unhappy with it anyway. After all, this series is about an other world.
In 2015 I sat the floor, puckered my face in deep thought, and came up empty. As usual. (I did tell you how much I despise coming up with titles didn’t I?). But then as I fell further into Celtic mythology I became really inspired by the corvids that featured in a lot of their stories which led me to researching the science and behavior of corvids and it all felt so perfect I knew I had to incorporate it into my titles. For the first book I chose the Raven and then finished it by adding “Crooked” (not crooked as in physically bent out of shape or off-kilter, but with regard to motive and psychology). Crooked Raven actually refers to a character in particular, and although she isn’t formally introduced in this book she’s present in every page even if the reader remains unaware until book 2.
Now a carrion crow is an actual corvid, and it’s a bit gross because they’re named such for picking the flesh off the fallen dead. This title came about firstly to continue the theme of corvids and secondly because by this point in my plotting process (I did the entire trilogy at once rather than one book at a time) the characters had evolved to show deeper backstories and motives. At first I thought the carrion crow was a different prominent character but as the story unfolded I realized that just perhaps the carrion crow and the crooked raven were one and the same. And yet a part of me remains unsure to this very day if it is one character or the other, or perhaps it is both.
Wings of Ruin
I did consider the rook for book 3’s title, and the Type A part of me would have loved maintaining the two-word titles, I even went so far as to brainstorm adjectives that begin with ‘C’ to keep the pattern, but alas nothing quite felt right and this title had come to me immediately (which never happens) so I decided to stick with it. Wings, of course, maintains the bird theme, and once you know who the crooked raven and the carrion crow are then you’ll be unsurprised that they cause ruin. This is a prequel that completes the circle by bridging the end of book 2 back to the beginning of book 1 (in a way) and it concludes the series and tells the story of how the chaos Adrianna and Geoffrey finds themselves in during Crooked Raven came to be. We are presented with heroes and villains, prominent characters and side characters, and yet with this book it becomes understood that this series was always about one character in particular.