CONFESSION: That’s right. We have new book titles in the Phantom Island series! No longer is it just Wind and its sequel, Water. No, we have all new names and identities around here…I think I’m ready to share. *biting nails* First let me say that choosing new titles was HARDER THAN I EXPECTED. When I originally started this series, I wanted four books – each one titled simply and symbolically by the element of most importance within that book. So I started with Wind.
But Tate Publishing, being a mainline publisher competing with the big boys of New York, had to lay down the law on word count before offering me a contract. However, instead of wanting me to chop up my book into something it was never intended to be, they offered to split each of these monstrous volumes into two. This would solve the word count issue and allow them to format it according to standard industry formatting. It also took my pre-planned four-book series into an EIGHT-BOOK SERIES (and each book is still roughly the length of a Twilight book AFTER being split.)
After my editor threw around some title ideas, I still felt very strongly about the symbolism contained in the particular element of highest thematic importance. These first two books make up the one volume of Wind… so I wanted “wind” to remain in the title for BOTH! Fortunately, my editor agreed. But how do you do that for all four elements and not have these long, cheesy titles for eight different books? And, okay, the word “wind”… there are so many fart jokes already out there about me “breaking Wind” into two books. Every word with wind in it just started to sound fart-tastic to me!!
And then the inspiration hit… One word titles… compound words… that contain the most symbolic element in them. I’ve always liked my ONE WORD title under the PHANTOM ISLAND series title and these compound words are very symbolic to the story (as you’ll see in just a little bit). If you’re like me, you love digging into a title and cover art just as much as the book itself!
So are you ready for the unveiling of the first two titles?! Here we go…
“Even though I knew I would never go back to the withdrawn, alien girl I had become the year that Dad disappeared, I knew that little girl was still there, tucked away in the darkest corners of my memories and emotions. She was the one who still scanned the multitude of faces in a crowd searching for the tall blond man with compassionate gray eyes. She still believed that he was coming back someday for her. She could not accept the reality that he was gone. Just gone—like a whisper caught in the wind, never to be heard or seen again. And so I had to silence her because she was innocent and naïve. Grown-up Whitnee knew that nothing could change the past. Dad was dead to me. Whether he had physically died or chosen to leave Mom and me, it didn’t matter. People don’t come back from either. Chasing after the truth was like chasing after the wind—no matter how hard I tried, I could never catch it.” –Windchaser
Windchaser documents Whitnee’s adventures through Camp Fusion all the way through the discovery of the Island (and Gabriel, yum-yum) to what transpires at the guesthouse their last night in Aerodora (after the Nightingale dance scene). I feel like the excerpt above really sums up thematically what is going on in this section of the series. Whitnee is chasing after truth – the truth about Camp Fusion and her father, the truth about the Island and who’s really there to help her or not – so much is hidden from her at this point. And that chase for truth sometimes seems as futile as trying to catch the wind – which also has a double meaning since Whitnee is learning to control the element of Wind. Windchaser, as a title, conveys action and a sense of going on a quest or adventure – which is appropriate for the first book of an epic fantasy series. We threw out other titles such as “A Rising Wind,” “Whirlwind,” and “Windmaker” (which, again, sounded like someone making farts.) Windchaser also had the most changes from the original to the new editions. This was necessary because the Camp Fusion scenes needed to be scaled down a bit and some of them were just completely cut out. (I’ll explain more in a later post about SPECIFIC changes you can expect.) Overall the book that will now be known as Windchaser is better, cleaned-up, more strategically paced and still just as much fun! (My grandma hardly noticed the changes – which tells me that what was cut was forgettable anyway.)
And for the next one…
“Caleb still had an arm around me, and I felt Morgan do the same. And there I was, sandwiched in between my two best friends, a safe cocoon of love and friendship. Gabriel had said my friendship with them was a life force in and of itself. And now I knew what he meant. I felt a transfer of their strength and warmth fill my very soul in that moment, and I could not imagine how I could ever become the reclusive girl I had been after Dad first disappeared. Circumstances were different now. I was different now, and to fall back into old patterns would make everything I had worked so hard for in my life become meaningless.” –Windfall
So there it is… Windchaser and Windfall. I love these titles and am so thankful that Tate is supportive of author input and allows me to be involved in so many aspects of these decisions. After all, nobody knows my series better than I do. And every one of these decisions – big or small – is prayed over with care and plenty of thought. Thank you for joining me on this journey – and just being excited in these different stages with me! It feels like a whole other world a lot of times – especially as things HAVE to be done RIGHT with these first books since they set the stage for six more books. It’s a lot of pressure…