What's in a Name: The Origin of My Book Title


It's natural for readers to be curious about book titles—they set the stage for the book, possibly even the entire series, and are a brief glimpse of what to expect from the narrative. It's equally natural for readers to be curious about what meaning book titles hold.


Sometimes, authors may not be able to reveal that meaning because it might spoil something about the story, but for most authors, there is some explanation that can be shared. And that is what I intend to do. I get a lot of questions about my book title, The Genesis of Seven, mainly in regard to how I came up with it and what exactly it means. So, I thought it might be interesting to answer those questions now.


First, I must begin by saying that creating book titles is no easy feat. In fact, for me it's probably my greatest weakness. It took me months to finalize my title, and at that, I had already gone through two other iterations that simply did not work.


What were these other iterations you ask? The first was Forever Fallen, inspired by one of my favorite quotes from Paradise Lost ("Awake! Arise! Or be forever fallen."). The second was Call of the Angels, inspired by a key plot point in my story in which Gabriel must send out a call to the other archangels to gather them all together. However, I knew neither of these titles would work because 1) I wanted something more symbolic and 2) they just didn't feel right.


It was back to the drawing board for me to find inspiration for my title elsewhere. Coincidentally, as I sat at my desk one day wracking my brain for a title, I looked over at a stack of oversized art history books that sat on the floor of my office and suddenly inspiration struck. These art history books featured illuminations of the St. John's Bible, an artistic masterpiece in itself, especially for someone interested in art and religion like myself. But more to the point, these books were split up into different sections of the Bible.


My eyes focused on the word Revelation written across one of the covers, and immediately I thought from Genesis to Revelation, a silly phrase one of my college professors would say all the time about the material we were going to cover in class. Yet, as my mind thought about this phrase, I couldn't help but narrow in on Genesis—not only is Genesis a book in the Bible, but it also means beginning. My book is definitely a beginning because it's starting a new story, a new series even. However, it's also a beginning because my book is an origin story for the angels. And as that thought entered my mind, I knew that my title had to be The Genesis of Seven because there are seven main archangels that my book revolves around.


Quickly, I accepted this as my title because not only did it feel right, but it also had the right amount of symbolism that I was searching for. It's strange how you can get stuck on something for a lengthy period of time, and then all of a sudden figure it out. That's essentially what happened to me.


Ultimately, what I learned about creating titles is that you can't force it and the timing has to be right. It can be frustrating when a title doesn't miraculously come to mind, or when one does and it is completely wrong. All I can say is keep at it and it will come eventually. Everything happens for a reason (even the stumbles and the falls).

© SARA M SCHALLER. All Rights Reserved.