The third Lucy Black novel, Preserve the Dead, is due out at the start of August, except, in the US, it will be called The Forgotten Ones. The idea of a book having two names in two different territories is not unusual but it can be confusing. The same thing happened with Hurt which, in the US, was called Someone You Know. In both cases, the decision to change the names was made by the respective publishers, who felt that their name would work best in their region. As an author, I feel a need to balance giving the books their best shot in each area with not confusing readers or misleading them. I know some people bought Someone You Know having already read Hurt, believing it to be a new Lucy novel, for which I can only apologise. I will try always to make it very clear, here on Facebook and on Twitter, when I have a new novel released.
It’s not the first time that the names of my books have been changed. The Nameless Dead was originally called Isle of Bones until the publisher felt it sounded too much like a horror novel and suggested the change. I liked the first title, which is mentioned several times in the book, but could understand their concern. The second Lucy book, Hurt, was originally called Family Life, while the new Lucy, Preserve the Dead, had a working title of Sticks and Stones, which is the opening line from the Tom Waits song, On the Nickel, about homelessness. In fact, to add to the confusion, some sites have listed Sticks and Stones as the final title of the novel too.
It’s not the first time I’ve used a song title as a name either; Bleed A River Deep is a song by the English singer Ed Harcourt. Little Girl Lost, on the other hand, takes its name from the William Blake poem of that name. Hurt was originally called Family Life after the Blue Nile song of that name and its eventual name in the UK came form Johnny Cash’s version of the Nine Inch Nails song, Hurt.
I’m working on the fourth Lucy novel at the moment and similarly am struggling to settle on a title for it. The working title was Sins of the Fathers, but I suspect that will change….
For the sake of clarity then, this is the list of my books to date with their alternative titles where relevant.
Inspector Devlin Series
Bleed A River Deep
The Nameless Dead
DS Black Series
Little Girl Lost
Hurt (UK)/ Someone You Know (US)
Preserve the Dead (UK)/ The Forgotten Ones (US)