A lot of readers ask me how I came up with the title for my debut novel, Blue Straggler. So here’s a little story for you, including a list of what might’ve been the title of my first Amazon bestseller!
The short story that birthed the idea for Blue Straggler was actually titled Boondocks. The title hit on the main character’s feeling of isolation, along with a hint at the crazy family out in the sticks. But as the story grew into a novel, the title didn’t feel right anymore.
Then, I was in the middle of writing Blue Straggler my first year in Colorado and I was reading an astronomy book. Moving up here had made me want to learn more about these stars I felt like I could touch from the top of a mountain. I came across the term, blue straggler, and its definition:
There are stars in our galaxy that belong to a globular cluster but have an anomalous blue color and high luminosity in comparison with other cluster members. When the globular cluster is plotted, there is a distinct turn-off point on the main sequence. The stars that appear to be disconnected from the cluster’s main sequence are called Blue Stragglers.
I knew right away that was the title I was looking for. The term and its image fit the main character, Bailey, so well. She’s down on her luck. She’s a kind of straggler in life. She’s disconnected from her family. She’s at a distinct turn-off point.
My agent, who signed me based on this novel, suggested I change the title. She said it sounded too sci-fi and wouldn’t resonate with the target audience in women’s fiction.
We brainstormed other ideas, even though I felt strongly that the title shouldn’t be changed. Here are some of the top ones we considered:
- Don’t Stop for Cigarettes
- The Draw of a Good Enchilada Is a Powerful Thing
- It’s Hard to Escape with Texas Plates
- Nowhere I Want to Be
- Therapy Is Working Wonders
Luckily, my agent eventually let this be my decision, and I stuck with Blue Straggler. So did my publisher.
What do you think?