I’m a person who rarely can make a concrete decision without thinking about a myriad of options that might or might not work. My closet is full of varying styles of black shoes simply because I can’t choose just one. I could look at it as an obsession only related to black shoes, but it’s less of a consumer fixation and more of an inability to make up my mind. My rationale is I like having options. But too many options can lead to indecision.
The same goes for selecting a book title. I had ultimate control. I could any word or string together any number of words all at my choosing. When I first stated working on this book I chose Emerald Shadow. It sounded creepy and I planned on incorporating an emerald ring into the mystery. I had pages and pages of possibilities and scoured the thesaurus for unique and intelligent words that would convey the right tone of my book. Okay, Emerald Shadow fit the bill.
Then a few months later I looked at the title. What is an emerald shadow? A green ghost? Did the sun suddenly turn green and cast frog colored hues down onto Earth? Nowhere in my book does any of this occur. What a stupid title.
Back to the drawing board.
I spent another week filling a notebook full of possibilities, none quite living up to thrilling movie running through my mind. A glance at my notebook and one might think it was filled with the scribbles of a psychotic. I tossed title after title aside.
Finally, I settled on The Halo Effect. My heroine, Marissa Nash, has a dog named Halo, who plays an important role in the story. I was walking on air. I had a title.
Then I went to the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. There were pages of books, both fiction and nonfiction, using either that exact title or a slight variation. I’m not so brilliant after all.
Ugh. I pulled out my notebook again.
Then one day as I reviewed a chapter from my villain, I saw it. The villain, Vivian Tenney, wants to evoke fear. She feels more powerful when others fear her. The evil organization founded by her father is called The Order.
Then I thought my heroine and hero.
Marissa Nash has always played by the rules and has suffered several times because of it. Despite following the rules of road, Marissa is involved in a traffic accident the day before her audition to Juilliard’s ballet program. With a broken ankle, her dreams are dashed but soon she recovers and sets a new path in academia. Several years later she meets handsome, self-assured David Skinner and eventually they are engaged. Then David begins to change. He is sullen and mean and not the man she thought she loved. When Marissa discovers he’s been cheating on her she knows she should leave him but taking such a step is a difficult for her. On the day she finally musters the nerve to call off the wedding, she finds him dead on their bathroom floor. David’s selfish deed, directed at Vivian unleashes her wrath not only upon David but also upon an unsuspecting Marissa. Fear becomes a mainstay in Marissa’s world. She fears the growing feelings she has for her fiancé’s best friend, Justin. Marissa fears the mad woman out to kill her and those closest to her. She comes to realize that in order to survive, she must walk through her fear to land on the other side with happiness.
Dr. Justin Tanner is a trauma surgeon and a member of the Army medical corps. When his medical unit is attacked in Iraq he is unable to save a woman he’d come to care for. He returns home and wracked with guilt so much so he turns to alcohol to self soothe as he relives that day in flashbacks and nightmares. A few years later he has climbed out of the hole, embraced the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, has better control over his PTSD and is a successful trauma surgeon at a local hospital. Then he meets Marissa, but she is engaged to his best friend. Justin tucks away his feelings for Marissa all the while knowing David isn’t good enough for her. After David’s death, Marissa turns to him for support. As danger grows, Justin vows to keep Marissa safe, forcing him to face his worst fear. Can he once again fight through danger and his fears to save the woman he loves?
It makes sense to me. Fear is tied to Order. One must almost deal with fear in an orderly manner to use it in a positive way.
Order of Fear is perfect.
At least for today.
Stay tuned for Emerald Shadow, no scratch that, The Halo Effect, scratch that one too, Order of Fear (yes!)— summer 2015.