Choosing a series title was tough. After a lot of brainstorming, I have tentatively settled, on Once Through A Garden Gate.
I chose this partly because “once” has multiple meanings. When this word is used as an adverb, it can mean “at some time in the past.” But it can also mean “for one time only.” When used as a conjunction, it means “as soon as.”
This ambiguity helps create a bit of mystery and lots of possibilities.
I also like how the series title uses a prepositional phrase, and “once” goes so well with “through.” For me, “once through” has a sense that something is going to happen, something needs to be done, and there may be no turning back.
Changing the book title was tougher. All along, I have been planning to title this first book The Biggest Scary Thing. That is where the plot is goes. First there is The Big Scary Thing. Then there is The Bigger Scary Thing. Finally there is The Biggest Scary Thing.
But over time, I began to feel as if The Biggest Scary Thing might sound more like the title for a children’s picture book rather than a children’s novel.
Out Of The Shoebox may sound more “grown-up” to younger potential readers. It’s also another prepositional phrase. Something is going to happen and there may be no turning back. You may need to get yourself ready for an adventure once you are out of the shoebox!
In this current book, Gracie left The Feed And Seed Store in a shoebox with her best friend Bessie. At several key decision points in the story, she things about going back to a previous time in her life, maybe even back to that shoebox. (Don’t we all have days when we would rather just stay in bed?)
But life moves forward, and we must move forward with it. Sometimes that means facing our fears. Sometimes that means realizing we truly are good enough. When we don’t, we have made a kind of shoebox for ourselves. Light and Life and Love can’t exist in a shoebox.