Three Kind of Lies
Remember Me, Irene
I had a new editor about halfway into the process of revising Dear Irene,. For a time, I believed I had talked her into dropping the name Irene from the titles. Don't get me wrong -- I like Irene's name. It's great for her, the character. But as a title, linked with imperatives....well, I believe it was Gar Anthony Haywood (aka Ray Shannon) who predicted that one day I'd write a book entitled Go to the Refrigerator and Get Me a Beer, Irene.
There was also a series about Irene Adler, "the woman" to those familiar with Sherlock Holmes, written by Carole Nelson Douglas. Carole's publisher wanted the name "Irene" in all of her titles too. You can imagine the confusion this caused our readers. For starters, her Irene Adler books take place about 100 years earlier than the Irene Kelly series.
So I was excited that my new editor was listening to ideas for new titles, and I had picked out what I still consider one of my best working titles for the fourth book in the series. New editor, new contract, everything was looking good for the fourth book to be Three Kinds of Lies. Then a single bookseller talked my editor out of it. (Yes, I know who you are, and I, um, can't thank you enough.)
Ironically, when I ask longtime fans to name the books with Irene in the title, they can rattle off the first three, then they stall out on number four. The title Remember Me, Irene is apparently difficult to remember. They'll recall the book and what it's about, but not the title.
C'est ma vie.
Where did the title I wanted originate? In another century.
Benjamin Disraeli, British prime minister in the mid-19th century, said these famous words:
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Those of you who have read Remember Me, Irene will know about the connection of statistics to the story.
I didn't get my way on the title, but I did get the best cover I'd had up until then. And the new editor began to patiently teach me a few things I really needed to learn at that point. Which is why, I think, that Hocus marks a change in the series.