Sometimes coming up with a book title can be more difficult than coming up with a story. When I sold the Countess of Harleigh series to Kensington, I knew book three would take place amid the events surrounding Frances’ sister, Lily’s wedding. In my mind that book was titled A Lady’s Guide to Weddings and Murder. There’s a wedding. There’s a murder. Why not?
The title held through the writing of the book and submission, but when my editor asked for cover ideas, I ran into a snag. I needed Frances on the cover, but this wasn’t her wedding. Yet, the title indicated this story would be about a wedding, so I needed a bride and groom, right? I discarded idea after idea. Every cover I thought of seemed contrived and really didn’t express what actually happens in the book. I agonized over this, trying to make something work. I just couldn’t come up with a cover image that went with the title and the story. Then it dawned on me, I had the wrong title.
Here’s a short blurb of the book:
Wedding bells are ringing for France’s sister, Lily and her fiancé Leo. They want to forgo the fanfare of a society wedding in favor of a quiet ceremony, and George Hazelton offers his family home in the countryside for the festivities. The groom’s family joins Frances and Lily at Risings where a shooting party is already in progress.
While Frances and Lily plan for the wedding, the houseguests amuse themselves with the usual country pursuits—shooting, riding, and the random romantic dalliance. But this bucolic setting harbors a menace, and their pleasure is marred by injury, and even death, when mysterious accidents befall the household and guests. Before long, Frances suspects these “accidents” are deliberate, and fears the intended victim is Leo.
As Frances and George search for the killer among the groom’s family and friends, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. No one is safe. If they don’t flush out the culprit, this house party, and the groom, could come to a deadly end.
The wedding is the reason everyone is gathered in the country, but it’s just on the periphery of the story. This wasn’t a lady’s guide to dealing with weddings. The wedding wasn’t the problem, it was the mayhem of the wedding guests, family members, and even servants, falling victim to the mysterious “accidents.” I immediately came up with a cover image—something that said, Welcome to this idyllic spot in the country, while implying: it’s very dangerous here! Once I had the cover in mind, the title came easy. A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder, suits the story perfectly. I hope you enjoy it!