Thursday, 23 August 2012

Guest Post with author Darcy Burke

What’s in a title?

Thinking of titles of romance novels can be so fun! The most fun? Hearing my 11 or 7 year old children ask me, “Mommy, is that Her Wicked Ways?” in reference to my first novel. I admit the first time I muttered, “Uh, yeah,” while suppressing a cringe at having my kids say that out loud. I’ve since learned to embrace them saying it. (But no, they don’t read them!)

 So if a romance title isn’t okay for a kid to say, why are they titled that way? Um, because they’re not for kids? In all seriousness, I love romance titles. I think they’re sexy and provocative, just like the novels they represent. A title with wicked, seduce, passion, or rogue is already halfway in my shopping cart. So how’d I come up with mine?

Believe it or not, Her Wicked Ways titled itself in about five seconds. As soon as I knew who the heroine was and how she was a self-indulgent Society girl banished to the country for misbehaving, Her Wicked Ways just popped straight into my head. I panicked at first because I thought for sure there had to be another romance novel with this title. Why else would it come so quickly to my brain? A quick Internet search told me the title was all mine. There were similar titles out there, but not precisely that one. Easy peasy! (I should note that titles are duplicated all the time—go search Fifty Shades of Grey/Gray and see what I mean! I try not to duplicate, however, especially if a book was released within the last three or so years.)

Then I had to title the next book, which wasn’t terribly difficult, but it didn’t stick. (At least at first. You’ll see how I came full circle.) See, Her Wicked Ways was originally the first in a three book series about siblings Miranda, Gideon, and Jasper. The books were Her Wicked Ways, Their Wicked Bargain, and His Wicked Heart. I ended up shelving Her Wicked Ways and focusing on His Wicked Heart as a stand-alone novel. Since it was no longer going to be part of a series following Her Wicked Ways (or so I thought), I retitled it The Earl’s Obsession. I didn’t love that so I went back to the drawing board. In the meantime I was plotting the book that came after Jasper and Olivia’s story and like Her Wicked Ways, the title came to me like a bolt of lightning. To Seduce a Scoundrel was perfect because the story was about a celibate scoundrel who was going to require seduction. Using that as inspiration, I eventually settled on Surrender of a Scoundrel for book two.

So why is it called His Wicked Heart? I always preferred that title because it seemed very appropriate for Jasper. He tries so hard to be the proper heir, but he has all these unruly passions—a wicked heart. Plus, when I decided to publish these three books, I liked the first two having sort of matchy (to borrow one of my daughter’s favorite words) titles since two of the main characters were siblings. I kept To Seduce a Scoundrel for the third book because it was a) too perfect and b) featured characters in the next two books, whose titles are also Scoundrel-centric.

Bonus title background: I’m working on a novella featuring a character who’s briefly introduced in Her Wicked Ways. The heroine of the piece is a thief so I brainstormed titles with thief in them. To Love a Thief was the clear winner (a riff on To Catch a Thief), especially since it followed the format of To Seduce a Scoundrel.

What is your favorite romance novel title? Do you prefer provocative titles or something a little more mainstream?

Darcy will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, a copy of the anthology Born to Bite (out in August), an ebook of The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle, and a Sara Ramsey ebook. She is also running a contest on her website: sign up for her newsletter during the tour and you might win a $10 Amazon gift card. The tour dates can be found here:

About the Author:

Darcy Burke wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. An RWA Golden Heart® Finalist, Darcy loves all things British (except tomatoes for breakfast, or any other time of day, actually) and happy ever afters.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her devoted husband, their two great kids, and three cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. She’s also a fair-weather runner, and her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge. Visit Darcy online at, follow her on Twitter at, or like her Facebook page,


  1. I don't know that I have a favorite romance title. I do like them a tad provocative & suggestive.


  2. I am glad to see that you are considering more stories from this series. I am really excited about it.

  3. I love the insight into how you chose your book titles. My husband is always teasing me about the titles of the books I am reading

  4. The books sound wonderful.

  5. Your titles sound irresistible! I haven't read it, but I have to admit SPANKED BY AN ANGEL always piqued my interest title-wise...


  6. Thanks, MomJane. I'm writing as fast as my little fingers can go. ;)

  7. Nice, Marybelle! Shannon, my husband stopped teasing when I started making money. ;) (I kid, he's very helpful!) Trix, I have to agree that's an intriguing title!

  8. I like all kinds of titles. I like The devil in Winter title.


  9. bn, Devil in Winter is one of my all time favorite books! And I loooooove that title!


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