Titles are difficult. Not only that, but conventional wisdom says the book’s title can best be determined after the book is finished.
But it has to be called something in the meantime, right? If only so one can preface that terrifying question that comes after one admits to writing a novel: “What’s it about?”
So, what, you ask, does moonlight and roses have to do with farming in 1930s Nebraska?
Truth is, I was looking for some pithy play on the word rose, as that’s the name of my main character. So, I did the Oh-So-Scientific Google search and of all the phrases that were found, I liked the sound of Moonlight & Roses.
I know. You’d hoped for something a bit more interesting. But wait… There’s more.
One day, researching names of popular music that Rose might have enjoyed, I came across this little ditty.
Moonlight and roses
Bring wonderful mem’ries of you.
My heart reposes
In beautiful thoughts so true.
June light discloses
Love’s olden dreams sparkling anew,
Moonlight and roses
Bring mem’ries of you.
A song! And not just any song–a love song, written in the mid-1920s by Ben Black & Charles Daniels (words) and Edwin Lamare (music), and recorded in 1925 by John McCormack. It’s easy to imagine Rose humming the tune while washing dishes or weeding her garden.
It was re-recorded in 1964 by Jim Reeves, who happened to be my grandmother’s favorite singer. My novel is not about my grandparents, but they are, none-the-less, at the heart of it because everything I learn about this era transforms the middle-aged memories of my childhood into flesh & blood members of this difficult time in history.
So now, this seemingly random Google hit feels a bit more Twilight Zone-ish. And my working title is not quite so outlandish (although, it has the feel of a romance novel, and my story is anything but).
What about you? Maybe you have a story of how starting down one path led you to another? I’d love to hear it.
Listen to Moonlight & Roses here: https://archive.org/embed/JohnMccormack-MoonlightAndRoses1925
3 thoughts on “Working title: Moonlight and Roses”
Oh. my! What a find for the title, Taylor! That’s wonderful. My title is so prosaic beside it. With a “childless mother” at the center of my story, who longs for recognition on Mother’s Day, I use MOTHER’S DAY as the title. The fact that she does get a child–all be it, a 13 year old–makes it poignant.
Love it when research links and leads to other things — and love your old song find. It must be fun writing about a time whose music you can actually listen to!
What, you don’t think “Car Wash Murder Mystery” is a good title? [bg]
All of my other titles have either biblical references or refer to the sea, except for Larksong, which is set right before World War I, and is a reference to the “larks, still bravely singing, fly” line from the poem In Flanders Fields.
Larksong is an awesome title. As to the car wash, perhaps a Nancy Drew-ish title: So and so in Death by Car Wash.