Over on Facebook, I've been counting down to August 25, 2009, the official publication date of my debut novel, GONE FROM THESE WOODS, by posting a note about the book each day. I've decided to move those notes to my blog. Here's my note about the book's titles.
My debut novel, GONE FROM THESE WOODS, wasn't always called that. The original working title was RABBIT SEASON. I changed the title to A SEASON FOR RABBITS after a writers' group member said that title reminded her of a Bugs Bunny cartoon (Is it duck season or rabbit season?). My final working title was D-MAN (Daniel's nickname in the book).
After Michelle Poploff, VP & Executive Editor of Random House Children's Books, bought my book, she suggested two new titles: MOUSE CREEK ROAD and GONE FROM THESE WOODS. I ran all these titles (mine and hers) by several different groups of children. One group was made up of kids who visited the Athens Regional Library where my fellow writers' group member, Jackie Elsner, worked as the children's librarian. Another group was a gifted English class taught by another fellow writer's group member, Susan Vizarugga (author of OUR OLD HOUSE and MISS OPAL'S AUCTION, Henry Holt) in Oconee County.
The results from young readers was mixed. No particular title won. I preferred A SEASON FOR RABBITS, but finally agreed to my editor's pick, GONE FROM THESE WOODS, which is a line right out of the book.