Book titles: Bitter Orange

BitterOrange FINAL pb cover

Archaeology

The titles of my books have always tended to evolve, and Bitter Orange is no exception. Usually though, the early Word files are simply called, Book 1 or Book 4, or whichever it is. But my third novel had a title from the beginning: Archaeology. I thought it was going to be about people digging things up, literally and metaphorically.

I keep a writing diary and on 22nd April 2016 (the novel was started on 23rd December 2015), I thought that Archaeology was too difficult a word to write. ‘Those three bloody vowels in a row are beginning to annoy me,’ I wrote. And on 30th August of that year, I added, ‘I’m thinking of changing the title to Blood Orange’.

Blood Orange

For the rest of the time when I was writing it, the novel was called Blood Orange, and this was what it was called when I sent it to my literary agent, and when it was submitted to my publishers in the UK, the US, and Canada. And they bought it with that name. Blood Orange.

The story is about Frances, a woman who is commissioned to survey the follies in the gardens of an English country house in 1969. There she meets and becomes besotted by Cara and Peter and visits the orangery alongside the house which has (or had at the time of writing) a single blood DSCF8951orange tree, so enormous it has broken through the glass panes. Blood oranges are sweet, and the fruit are ripe at a certain time of year. Three blood oranges are picked from the tree and squeezed to make juice – a point integral to the plot.

Then, in July 2017, after the book was sold, my editor at Penguin told me that the sale of another book, a debut thriller by Harriet Tyce had just been announced in The Bookseller (the UK trade magazine for publishing), and it was called Blood Orange.

Titles of books, or albums or anything else aren’t copyrighted, but it was quickly agreed that publishing books with the same title around the same time was not a good idea, and Harriet’s had been announced, and mine hadn’t. It was mine that would have to change.

Bitter Orange

Changing a title I’d been happy with for months if not years was a difficult thing to accept. I was angry – at no one in particular – for quite a while.

I had lots of conversations with my editors and agents and lots of suggestions were bounced back and forth. I went through the novel with a highlighter and I wrote lists of word combinations. It was Sarah Lutyens, one of the founders of my literary agents, Lutyens and Rubinstein who came up with Bitter Orange. I think she just emailed it to HoAme one day – two perfect words.

Except, that a bitter orange (which is not eaten or juiced, but generally used to make marmalade), is a very different thing to a blood orange. I wrote to Patricia Oliver from Global Orange Groves who had been helping me with orange tree advice for the book. Bitter oranges fruit at different times to blood oranges, and the juice is barely drinkable. Anyone who writes will know that you make what might seem like a simple change in the text: blood to bitter, but the repercussions ripple on and on. If I needed my characters to try to drink the juice, someone needed to realise they needed sugar, then they had to get sugar, which meant someone had to go shopping, which meant someone had to leave the house when I needed them to remain there. I faced lots of niggly revising.

Bitter Orange is better

But once I’d sorted out the changes and had lived with the new title for a while, it seemed more suited than Blood Orange, which I think sounds very thriller-like, and Bitter Orange isn’t a thriller.

By the time the book was published in the UK, in the US, and Canada, I loved the title: Bitter Orange.

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What do you think about the title? Please leave a comment below.

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Bitter Orange is published in paperback in the UK on 2nd May, and is also available in the US, Canada and Germany (where it is called Bittere Orangen). Visit this page to buy a copy.

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Where next?

Read an article on my favourite book titles.

New Cover for Bitter Orange Paperback

 

BitterOrange FINAL pb cover

The paperback of Bitter Orange will be published in the UK on 2nd May 2019. (Readers in the US will have to wait a little longer.) And I’m delighted to share with you the new cover. As you can see it’s as different as you can get from the hardback, but I hope it will intrigue and entice a whole new set of readers.

The hardback is still available in many bookshops and available to order, but if you’re waiting for the paperback publication you can pre-order now from Amazon or (preferably) your local bookshop.

Make sure you sign up to my newsletter and follow me on Twitter or Instagram to hear about competitions to win copies of my novels. (A competition to win a copy of Swimming Lessons is running on both Twitter and Instagram until 7th February 2019.)

I’d love to know what you think about the cover – please comment below.

Buy a copy of Bitter Orange.

UK Paperback of Swimming Lessons Published Today

SL Paperback

Today the paperback version of Swimming Lessons is published in the UK by Penguin. If you’d like to win one of two copies head over to my Instagram account: @writerclairefuller to find out how to enter.

If you’re thinking about what book to read next, and you’re considering reading Swimming Lessons in your book group, get in touch if you would like some questions to help get the discussion started.

And if you’ve already read Swimming Lessons and enjoyed it, please do tell your friends, or leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Thank you!

Swimming Lessons Paperback Published in US

SL1

The paperback of Swimming Lessons is published in the US today. My publisher, Tin House, has created a beautiful version of the hardback jacket using darker tones. And this version has book club questions in the back. If you do read it for your book club remember to take a picture of your group with the book and I’ll post the best to my Instagram account.

UK readers will have to wait a little longer for the paperback to be released.

The pictures above were taken and posted by some wonderful bookstagrammers, and if you’re on Instagram, I’d highly recommend following them all, not only for some wonderful bookish features, but lots of friendly bookish chat and reading suggestions.

Click to read more about Swimming Lessons.

Thanks to: @theloudlibrarylady @gracerajendran @bkInbooks @booksforyears @booksonherbrain @dlgillis20 @les_livres_ jennicapps15 @lblovesbooks for the pictures.

Paperback Published and Selected for Richard & Judy, and Waterstones Book Clubs

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Ten months after the hardback of Our Endless Numbered Days was published in the UK, the paperback is officially out today. It’s had a beautiful new jacket designed with some wonderful quotes from readers. The picture above is what I woke up to this morning: our Christmas tree, newly decorated by my husband, and a bottle of champagne.

And I’m delighted to finally be able to announce that it has been selected for both the Richard & Judy book 351 Dec17club, and the Waterstones book club.

Richard & Judy
Three times a year eight novels are selected for the Richard & Judy book club which are promoted throughout all WHSmiths (a UK chain of book, stationary and news shops), as well as providing author interviews, book club questions and podcasts on the WHSmith blog.

A week before Christmas I was invited up to the Covent Garden Hotel in London to meet Richard and Judy, and be interviewed and recorded. It was great fun – they were lovely, and funny, and very professional.

IMG_0382And seeing my novel on the R&J stands in my local Smiths was exciting and a little odd. I’m not sure what all the customers coming and going thought I and my husband were doing jumping up and down and taking pictures.

 

Waterstones
Waterstones (the largest chain of bookshops in the UK) select eight books, four times aIMG_0423 year for their book club, and I’m delighted that Our Endless Numbered Days has been selected. This means that the novel will be promoted throughout all the shops, as well as having exclusive extra content in the back of the Waterstones’ version.

 

Poster campaign
Penguin are running a poster campaign alongside the paperback release, so look out for posters across London andOEND Poster make sure you take a picture and send it to me (with you in it!).