What’s in a name? Nailing down the title for my second novel

Books are tricky things to give titles to. I learned that when writing my first novel, After Helen. Originally I called it Northwest Passage, a reference to the thread of history I had woven into the story (Lady Jane Franklin’s relentless search for her doomed Arctic explorer husband) and its parallels with the modern-day protagonist’s search for a way to reconcile his conflicted memories of his late wife, Helen. My publisher at the time was worried that potential readers might mistake it for a book about exploration. And so the title changed.

I’m now facing a similar challenge with my second novel. Until now, I’ve been calling it Our Fathers’ Sons. But before I commit to that title once and for all, I’d like you to tell me what type of story you might expect to find in a book with that title. Do your expectations match with the story synopsis below?

You can provide your comments on my website or by replying to this email.

Story synopsis

Dean Lajeunesse doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. He’s barely pushing fifty, but his memory is starting to fail him. He vividly recalls how dementia whittled away at his father and doesn’t want his own teenage son, Aidan, to see him lose his mind. Of course, he could just be overreacting. Maybe it’s the stress of his on-again-off-again relationship with Valerie, his long-time live-in girlfriend, or the feeling that he’s not measuring up as a father that’s making him absent-minded. But before he can understand what’s happening to him, he’s dragged home to the bedside of his crusty, ailing mother, on whom he turned his back decades before. There, he butts heads with his older brother, Perry, who has remained loyal to their mother and has succeeded in almost every way that Dean hasn’t. As old family tensions bubble to the surface, Dean must try to hold on to Aidan’s respect as he’s compelled to reveal long-kept secrets about his father – and himself.

Possible alternate titles

  1. We Are Our Fathers’ Sons
  2. My Father’s Son
  3. Sons and Fathers
  4. The Other Son
  5. Sons of Broken Fathers
  6. Mr. Lajeunesse
  7. [your suggestion]

This novel will be published in Spring 2015. My first novel, After Helen, will be released outside Canada in November of this year. To receive book updates like these by email, click here.

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