What’s in a Title?

We’re probably about 75% of the way through the publication process for a manuscript called Forgotten POWs. In May of this year, I sent the original – at least from a publisher’s perspective – novel to Deeds Publishing. The owner of the company read it over the weekend and said he couldn’t put it down.

Within a week or so, I was under contract for the novel and production started. We’ve been through a couple of iterations and now are in the proofreading process. My guess is that the novel will be out by the end of September or early October.

Last week, we had a discussion about the title. The book has two main plot threads – six Americans who got left behind and the end of the Vietnam War and what happens to them between the time they were captured and when they are rescued in 1982.  Now that they are back in the U.S., to some they are career or even life threatening. That’s thread one.

Thread two is about the wife of one of the POWs. Before she married one of the Naval Aviators who got shot down, she was an anti-war activist/revolutionary. Now a de-facto widow that became official when her husband was declared MIA – presumed dead, she is well into a career as a free lance assassin.

The two threads and supporting sub-plots weave back and forth until the conclusion. The story line led to an interesting discussion with the publisher, the company’s creative and marketing directors and me about the cover and the title. The conversation started with what thoughts I had on a cover design.

My response was that I wanted a face with a vacant, haunting look staring out at me with a map of Vietnam in the background. At the time I said it, I envisioned a man.

What evolved was a picture of woman’s face, half in shadow staring out at me. It is, truly haunting.

That led to a discussion about the title. Because it is about the POWs and a woman, the name has been shortened to simply Forgotten. I like it. In itself, it is haunting.

By the way, this book has one of my all time favorite characters. She is the woman who becomes an assassin. In a later blog once the book is out, I’ll tell you why I like this character so much.

Marc Liebman

August, 2016