My next book finally has a new title: ‘MESSY, WONDERFUL US’.
I can’t tell you how good, if a little scary, it is to announce that. If you follow me on Twitter you might already know what a palaver it’s been trying to come up with a title for the follow up to ‘You Me Everything’. Hitting on a cluster of words that captures the essence of a book and stands out on the shelves is always tricky, but this time it eluded me for a ridiculously long time.
In fact, the entire novel had been written, re-drafted, edited and copy-edited months ago in time for its UK publication in May 2019, but it still didn’t have a name that felt one hundred per cent right. As it’s a fairly well-established convention in the publishing industry that books need titles this was a bit of a problem. Honestly, if you’d seen my ‘shortlist’ of about 150 possibilities, you’d have howled at some of them. (I suspect my editor did). Still, now we have it: ‘MESSY, WONDERFUL US’. Three simple words that sum up the far from simple relationships in the novel . . .
‘You never know what life will throw at you. You just need to know who to turn to for help.’
My editor at Simon & Schuster, Jo Dickinson, came up with that lovely strap line, as well as a blurb for the back cover. As I’m pretty sure I can’t top this, I thought I’d shamelessly reveal every word of it to you right here:-
One morning in early summer, a man and woman wait to board a flight to Italy.
Allie has always lived a careful, focused existence. But now she has unexpectedly taken leave from her job as an academic research scientist to fly to a place she only recently heard about in a letter. Her father, Joe, doesn’t know the reason for her trip, and Allie can’t bring herself to tell him that she’s flying to Italy to unpick the truth about what her mother did all those years ago.
Beside her is her best friend since their schooldays, Ed. He has just shocked everyone with a sudden separation from his wife, Julia. Allie hopes that a break will help him open up. But the secrets that emerge as the sun beats down on Lake Garda and Liguria don’t merely concern her family’s tangled past. And the two friends are forced to confront questions about their own life-long relationship that are impossible to resolve.
What do you think? Sounds okay? Good? Amazing? (I’m praying for the latter, I’ll be honest). Either way, it’s now available to pre-order in the UK , so if you fancy helping me prove to booksellers that this should be on their shelves, I’d love it if you’d consider pressing hitting that button now. Thank you and I’ll love you forever, promise.