Thursday, August 1, 2013

Drum Roll please... My Harlequin Intrigue Debut Title

I found out this week that the title of my Harlequin Intrigue April 2014 release will be…  

Primal Instinct.   

Sorry to my smart aleck-y friends who voted for Murder Radar of Love as what they thought would be the title, or the even more pals who messaged me and told me they thought Throw Mama From the Train of Love was an awesome title. I’ll try to remember that for upcoming books.

Harlequin display at my local B&N - Intrigues are in the top right -sold out!
Of the other titles I mentioned last post, Dangerous Intent was never really under consideration by either my editors or myself. We liked it okay as a title, but it didn’t really work for this story.

Shielded, I must admit, was a favorite of mine. But the editors felt it gave off the wrong vibe for my book. It’s pretty vague and somewhat noncommittal to a plot. For an established author who already has a following of readers, that’s not a problem. But for a new author, it could scare away readers. (I tried to convince my editor that I DO have a following of readers, but evidently my mom and Cousin Sophie don’t count as a following.)

The last reason Shielded wouldn’t work is because there are evidently already a couple of one-word titles coming out the same month as mine.  As I stated last post, when editors are choosing titles, there’s much more coming into play than just any one book.

So Primal Instinct it is! I always thought the word Instinct was excellent for the title. My book is about an FBI profiler, after all.  

But I had concerns about the word Primal. I was afraid that it suggested savage in people’s mind – which really isn’t the tone of my book at all.  But my editor explained that when she thought of primal, she thought of:

 First. Original. Most important.

When I thought of it that way it all clicked for me. Everything about the heroine in my story is tied to her instincts – she can’t get away from them even when she wants to.  She has no choice but to go with her original instincts – when tracking a killer and when falling in love. Even though it almost gets her heart broken AND almost gets her killed.

Her instincts are the most important – primal – part of who she is.  Primal Instinct.

Explained that way, it seemed perfect.

Now I’ll admit, the title is a little bit, as a friend put it: saucy. And, because I’m such a movie buff and am
Primal Fear circa 1996  - what do you mean you don't remember it?
surrounded by movie geeks on every side, I did have a concern about a Basic Instinct/Primal Fear possible tie-in to my title. Both are movies that came out in the mid-90s with a "is this person psycho or not?" theme and mucho gratuitous sex and cigarette smoking. Not the image I wanted for my book either.

My editor basically, in the very nicest way possible, just scoffed at me and said no one but me and my movie-geek friends would make that connection. I have no doubt she’s right.

One very successful Intrigue author who has befriended me, told me not to worry about a Basic Instinct connection at all. If anything, she told me, I might gain some readers from that connection, but definitely wouldn’t lose any. You know what? I’ll take readers anyway I can get them.

All and all, choosing the title – finding one that works for everyone: me, the editors, the art department, the Intrigue Brand in general – has been an interesting next step in the publishing process. It was a learning experience, but definitely not an unpleasant one. Every step of the way I’m learning something new, and I’m loving all of it, even when it's a bit painful.

So now I can officially announce:  Primal Instinct, a Harlequin Intrigue novel by Janie Crouch, will be available in bookstores and online everywhere in April 2014.

And someday, someone (and by someone, I mean my mother or cousin) is going to ask me to sign their copy of Primal Instinct. And I’ll be able to write:

Always follow your instinct.

And it will tie-in perfectly to the title. Isn’t it great how that just works out?


  1. So I guess I'm one of the movie-geek friends, huh?!
    Great name for the story,
    great name for your first published book,
    and YES -- I also want a signed copy ;)

    1. Thanks Anu! I will make sure you get the very first copy I receive, my precious Beta Reader. ;) xx

  2. Love the title. Looking forward to the book Janie.

  3. I'll be first in line at your signing, my friend! YAY! Great title!!