August 28, 2015

About My Title: On the Verge

I’m in the midst of a last mad dash to clean up and polish everything I possibly can before I call it a day on this story. The book is *this close* to being ready for the digital producers to have their way with it and make it all pretty for your eReaders. In anticipation of that day when it finally goes live, I thought I would do a few posts on the book itself starting with the title.

Why On the Verge?

It helps to know a bit about the story. In case you haven’t made it over to the Novel tab on this site here’s what you might find on the back of my book if it were on the shelf at your local bookstore:

Freya is just a student at the University of Washington worried about grades and making her next tuition payment until a gorgeous succubus interrupts her post-exam latte with a proposition: come work for her boss, Seattle’s reclusive heiress and antiquities collector Imogen Beldame. Eagerly agreeing despite a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach, Freya finds herself swept up in a deadly quest at the behest of her psychopathic new employer. Beldame has given her until Halloween to collect three magical pigments that hold the key to crafting mesmerizing portraits that can access the Verge, an undiscovered borderland on the edge of human reality, and the powerful beings that call it home.

Freya’s reluctant journey takes her to a goblin stronghold in the Cascades for the color blue, to the Seattle Underground to request the color red from Baba Yaga, and to the Fremont home of a beautifully gruesome Cambodian ahp, or spirit of the night, for the color yellow. Working together with Rusty, an enigmatically disfigured man intimately connected with the Verge, and a motley crew of mercurial demons and loyal friends, Freya must come up with a plan to stop Beldame and preserve the fragile balance between fantasy and reality that is at its most vulnerable on Halloween.

So the Verge is pretty integral to my story. It’s a place where all the creatures of myths and legends dwell. The title pays tribute to this fantastical place while also hinting at the state of things in this world. If Freya doesn’t complete her color quest Seattle is on the verge of a major demon infestation orchestrated by a mad art collector.

It’s also a subtle nod to the art historical theme that underlies the book. Many old-fashioned texts from the period when the study of art’s history became a legitimate academic pursuit have titles that simply describe what the subject of the book is, like On Art and Life by the famous critic John Ruskin. The name of my book’s a bit of a play on the titles of those dusty tomes that throughly analyzed a subject. Ruskin wrote on Art. I’m writing on the Verge.

An important place in my story, a hint at the stakes, and a nod to the discipline that inspired the story.

That’s a hardworking title.


Image credit: Ideal Bookshelf, Painting by Jane Mount (send her a picture of your bookshelf and she will create a one-of-a-kind painting of your favorite books – how cool!)

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