I really like titles. Series and book titles hold a lot of meaning, and are very important in how a story grabs you. As I love naming my characters and finding the perfect name for someone, finding the perfect book title can be similarly difficult and fun. Granted, I know many of my titles can be vague or odd sounding (thankfully that kinda works for the fantasy genre) so since I have this blog, I can go ahead and explain! 😛
(I’m sure I’ve explained this before, but searching through this blog I can’t find it. So I either erased it or explained it somewhere else.)
First of all: The Larkspur Series. The first book is called Larkspur. This is a flower that’s both poisonous when consumed and has several meanings in the Language of Flowers. These range from ‘First Love’ (purple), to being fickle (pink). It has also been used in the past to ward off ghosts and other supernatural things. I loved the many meanings and how they related to each other and the realm of Clandestina. I first came across it when I was looking for poisons that Pierre would have also been looking to use. It is also July’s birthflower (like a birthstone, but, well, a flower) and Lizzy was born in my world’s ‘July’ – Iovilios.
I had a series title in mind, The Courting of Life and Death, but it did not feel as natural. I actually released Larkspur with this as the series title, but changed it soon after. I took the ‘Twilight” and “Game of Thrones” approach and named the series after the first title. (I know the series title is A Song of Ice and Fire, but most people are going to call it ‘Game of Thrones’ nowadays. Which is exactly what I wanted to avoid).
Thus started my ‘one word title’ trend for the books of Clandestina.
To make the title a little clearer, though, I was advised to use a subtitle, and so I went with the slightly older fashion of adding “or” and a short description of the work as an EitherOrTitle (TV tropes link!). In the end it was Larkspur, or A Necromancer’s Romance.
(Yes, I say necromancer even though Pierre is never referred to canonically as a necro-mancer, but a Suitor of Death, or a practitioner of necrocræft. This is further explored and clarified in book 2. -mancy means divination and while it’s a catch-all now for ‘magic’ it is not in Noctuina. But everyone ‘knows’ what a necromancer is so I put it in.)
Here with go with book 2- Delphinium, or A Necromancer’s Home. Again it relates to flowers. The same flower, actually. Larkspur is the common name for the flower, and Delphinium is the genus. To me that means it was larger, more specific, more encompassing. Fitting for a sequel. A Necromancer’s Home was also Necromancer’s Love at first, before the story expanded and was about much more than just Pierre and Lizzy.
(Originally Delphinium was named Spadille, after the capital city in Piques. Spadille, of course, is another name for the Ace of Spades, known as the card of Death).
Book 3 continues on with this: Aconitella, or A Necromancer’s Wife. Aconitella is another scientific name, this time it is a subgenus of Delphinium. Now that we’ve had the common name and the more encompassing genus, we get back to things that are more, say, concentrated. There is not much known about this very subgenus, but the name caught my attention. It seems to be similar to the name Aconitum, wolf’s bane/monkshood, a cousin of the Larkspur, and so I assume the name is taken from the same place, the Greek akónītos, “without dust, without struggle.” It is named such because once poisoned you did not have the time to struggle and simply fell down dead. You may not even have realized that you were dying before it’s too late. I liked this idea of falling into danger without realizing it, almost peacefully dying without a struggle because you were captured so thoroughly. In this book Lizzy and Pierre marry at the very start, and Elizabeth finds herself in the middle of something that she was not aware of entirely before. It is one thing to be a friend, or even someone courting a man who loves death, but to be his wife may be to find yourself in too deep.
Book 4, Consolida, or A Necromancer’s Love, involves another subgenus. Consolida. To consolidate is to come together, or to secure something. It also reminded me of console, to help someone work through pain or grief. It felt like a nice fitting end to everything that has been done throughout the series. The subtitle A Necromancer’s Love evens it out- because this love, which was at first only death itself, has become so much more throughout the years that this series will cover.
Of course that’s not the end! As I mentioned in a previous post this is only series 1 of 4 planned out for Clandestina. But I’ll explain those titles in more detail when I get to them