Monday, 26 September 2011

The Stuart Agenda- How William and Kate lost Scotland.

Picking a name for a book can be tricky. The title has to catch the attention of browsing and more serious readers. It also has to be vaguely relevant to the plot and convey a sense of what the book is about. In the case of my new novel, The Stuart Agenda was the third title to be considered and finally chosen. When I began the novel more years ago than I care to remember, I set off with Restoration as the title to convey a sense that my Stuart hero was simply taking back what was rightly his in restoring the Stuart dynasty to the throne of Scotland.  Restoration also conveyed the idea of correction, as though the Hanoverian period had been a mistake or a blip on the face of Scottish history. However as you can imagine, various other books had already used that title and its lack of specificity eventually ruled it out.
     I then adopted The Next King of Scotland  as my title and ran with it almost until publication when I got feedback from an author whose opinions I respected. The view was that my title might be confused with Giles Foden's Last King of Scotland, a novel about the life of Idi Amin, which was made into a very successful film. I was torn between accepting that opinion and saying that such confusion might be very helpful and that crumbs from a broad table would be very welcome. The clinching argument was that the title gave away the ending, removing the uncertainty for the reader.
     The Stuart Agenda had been around as a possible title for some time. It introduced the dynastic competition from the long deposed Stuarts and also trailed the conspiracy that had to be mounted to achieve the final objective. It also had the right sort of ring for the thriller genre, so it ended up on the cover.
      Coming fully up to date and looking ahead, it's now clearer that in the time frame of the novel set in the mid twenty-thirties, the Hanoverian monarchs are likely to be William and Kate, so an updated subliminal title might be, How William and Kate lost Scotland.

The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder at, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

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