A BOOK BY ANY OTHER NAME by Sally Carpenter

Hi, Marilyn, thanks for hosting me again. In a recent post, Marilyn discussed how she chose the titles for her many books. Today I’d like to explain how I created my titles as well.

I’m with a small press so I have considerable freedom in picking my book titles and arranging the cover art. Authors with the large New York presses have no input into their titles or covers. I know of one author who had her title changed by the publisher. However, this new title was the same name of another mystery book of a different ilk!

My cozy mysteries comprise the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series. I found this title often confuses people. Many think “teen idol” means the books are for young adults. No, the books are written for adults. My protagonist is a 38-year-old former teen idol. He’s too old for a YA hero and teens wouldn’t care about a book that is set in 1993 and has flashbacks to the 1970s.

But what else would I call my series? “Sandy Fairfax, Recovering Alcoholic” or “Sandy Fairfax, Washed-up Celebrity” would be accurate but not appealing monikers. “Sandy Fairfax, Former Teen Idol” just doesn’t have the right ring to it. And if I simply said “Sandy Fairfax,” people would assume the protag is female.

In the series, Sandy starred in a hit ‘70s TV show, Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth. During the 1970s, real TV shows often had distinct titles. In The Man from UNCLE, all of the episodes were “The So-and-So Affair.” The Wild, Wild West episodes were “The Night of Such-and-Such.”

So for Buddy Brave, the episode titles had alliteration and ended in “caper.” Some examples are: “The Billowing Big Top Caper,” “The Gruesome Gang Caper” and “The Sizzling Salsa Caper.”

I like the word “caper” because it implies a lighthearted, fun mystery or adventure, a good description of my books.

The book titles likewise follow the Buddy Brave formula. In the series so far I have: The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper, The Sinister Sitcom Caper and The Cunning Cruse Ship Caper. The titles are nicely branded as one series. Also, the reader gets a good clue what the book is about and where it’s set.
BTW, the next book in the series is The Bloody Black Tie Benefit Caper. Can anyone guess what will happen in that story?

Bio: Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.

She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City.

Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.

She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.

The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper was a 2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel.

The Sinister Sitcom Caper and The Cuning Cruise Ship Caper are published by Cozy Cat Press.

She has short stories in two anthologies: “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” in Last Exit to Murder and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in Plan B: Omnibus.

Her short story “The Pie-eyed Spy” appeared in the Nov. 23, 2013, issue of Kings River Life ezine.

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. 

Contact her at Facebook or scwriter@earthlink.net.

 Thank you so much for visiting me today. I love the titles of your books!



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