Coming up with a title

I have a friend who from the get go was never enamoured with the title of my first book, Seldom Come By.  Her advice: ‘Go back to the drawing board.’ She was a published author with two novels under her belt. Reluctantly, her advice was not to be scoffed at. But try as we might – and I say we as there are two other people I always involve in the creative process when it comes to the big questions – we couldn’t seem to come up with a few mere words that said it better. Over a few years we came up with hundreds and in the end only two other sets of titles came close, but they didn’t eclipse the ones we had. (Yes, I will tell you more about the alternatives another time. 😉 )

Part of this complication was, naturally, I wanted the three titles to work together.

  • Seldom Come By
  • Come What May
  • Come Full Circle

I also wanted them to be apt for each individual story.

And I wanted the first one to have a strong connection to Newfoundland and, if possible, icebergs, because the sighting of icebergs was so exhilarating for Rebecca and hopefully for my readers as well.

If you spend any time looking through the history and geography of Newfoundland, you will find many charming and quirky names begging for an explanation — and these in themselves add to the personality of the country and no doubt the character of Newfoundlanders. Places such as:

  • Black Duck Siding
  • Halfway Tucks
  • Stepaside
  • Blow Me Down
  • Tilting
  • Jerry’s Nose
  • Lushes Bight
  • Heart’s Content

There was even a Come By Chance. But in the end I settled on Seldom Come By: in honour of Rebecca’s majestic icebergs; in honour of Samuel drifting by in his tender and the unlikelihood of Rebecca finding him; and by no means least, in honour of the original and striking young woman that was Rebecca.


 “As each mile on his voyage brought him closer and closer to Deception, Samuel could feel his excitement building. It was bursting through his veins like the boat’s bow ploughing through the water. Who was it that he was really coming here to see? He knew the answer to that right enough. And for what? So he could go away and spend another two or three years thinking about her, dreaming about her. So he could know for sure that what he felt for this girl was real. To know for certain that she still held his heart captive with her longing and her melancholy, with her beauty and her joyful, youthful delight. He knew it would only take a moment, a breathless fatal moment, and yesterday it had. In three years he had not been able to get this girl out of his head and now he was overjoyed that he had failed.”


So what do you think of the title, Seldom Come By?

1 reply
  1. Sarah Cunningham
    Sarah Cunningham says:

    I love the title! I love the tugs at the innate emotional response to romance that your snippet evokes! …,

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