The first question I ask parents anytime I meet a baby is “What’s her name?” I’ll admit that I totally love babies (especially once they can hold their heads up and smile) and I love their names. I love thinking about how much of life that little person has ahead of her and how that name will probably be the only thing the tiny squirmy creature in front of me will have in common with the grey-haird grandmother she might become one day.
That’s probably why I was so surprised a few years ago when my friend told me that he did not have a name for the first month of his life. He said his parents couldn’t compromise or come to an agreement. “But…but…but…what did they call you?” I protested.
He shrugged. “They called me Baby Boy.”
This was a casual conversation. This was a good friend with good parents who clearly loved him. This was not supposed to be a disturbing detail of human behavior that latched onto my brain and wouldn’t let go. But that’s what it became. I’m not sure why but for years I’ve continued to ponder the Baby Boy. What would it be like to know a little human for an entire month—to memorize someone’s screams, to clean up his messed, to fantasize about his first steps—and yet still not know his name.
Well, I don’t want to imply that it’s near the same thing, but I’ve been thinking even more Baby Boy as I’ve waited and waited for my second book to have a title. I did not like calling it Book Two. Book Two does not sound like a real thing. Even when I finished my first draft of it last September, it still didn’t feel real. Even when my debut novel was published in February and I was asked over and over again what I’d be promoting next, it felt like I was talking about something fake. Even when I finished a first round of revisions and discussed cover ideas with my editor, it just couldn’t be real to me without a title.
In my relatively short time as a professional writer, I’ve learned that there are a whole host of non-writing skills that can help someone thrive in this field. Determination. Disipline. Confidence. But perhaps the one that is the most important is patience. Everything in the life of a YA writer takes time. And by time, I usually mean years, not months or weeks. While I was chomping at the bit for a titles, all of the wise voices in my life were coaching patience. It’s better to have the right title than the wrong title right now. It’s better to call it Book Two than a title that’s likely to change. At the end of the day, the only person who was bothered by this whole Book Two thing was me.
But the good thing about all of this patience is that even long waits really do end. And I finally have a title!
Are you ready for it?
It’s coming if you scroll down…
See, patience is difficult, huh?
Ok, here it is–
My second book
(which does not hit shelves until June 2014, so rest assure there will be plenty of time to get impatient about something else before then…)
will be titled:
MY BEST FRIEND, MAYBE
I love it! What do you think?
Photocredit: onewayoramother.com, fromconcepttocontract.com