Today on my blog I have a guest post from the author of The Tissue Veil, Brenda Bannister.
What if you discovered a hundred-year-old diary under your floorboards – and then found references in it to yourself? Or if you lived in 1901, yet kept seeing glimpses of a girl from modern times? And what if both of you had problems that only the other could really understand? Emily and Aysha live in the same Stepney house and an inexplicable link develops between them, fuelled by Aysha’s discovery of a journal and Emily’s sightings of a ‘future ghost’. Each takes courage from the other’s predicament – after all, what’s a hundred years between friends?
Brenda studied English at university and later qualified as a librarian, working in various educational settings from schools to higher education. Moving from London to Frome in Somerset in 2010 proved a catalyst for her own writing as she joined local fiction and script writing groups. She has had a number of short stories published, plus short plays produced in local pub theatre, but all the while was incubating a story based in the area of Tower Hamlets where she had worked for eighteen years. This germ of a story became ‘The Tissue Veil’.
Brenda is a founder member of Frome Writers’ Collective, an organisation which has grown from a handful of members to over a hundred in the past four years, and helped set up its innovative Silver Crow Book Brand. She is also the current organiser of the annual Frome Festival Short Story Competition. A lifelong reader, Brenda rarely follows genres, but enjoys modern literary fiction, historical fiction, classics and the occasional detective novel. The latest Bernard Cornwell might be a guilty pleasure, but she’ll be even more eager to get her hands on Hilary Mantel’s final instalment of Thomas Cromwell’s story.
Social Media Links
Here is Brenda Bannister’s Guest Post about Novel Titles, thank you so much for taking the time to write this post for my blog.
Thank you for inviting me onto your website. You’ve given your blog a striking name which has got me thinking about titles in general.
Choosing the title for a novel is almost as sensitive as naming a child. Baby names follow a fashion, but you probably wouldn’t give your child the name your best friend recently used; similarly, you’d like to think the name of your book is original. But there’s no copyright where titles are concerned, and nothing to stop anyone pinching one that’s already in use, or two authors coming up with the same idea independently.
Recently, my book group fell foul of the confusion caused by duplicate titles. We take turns to suggest our next book choice and one of our number had proposed The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso, a story of feuding elderly neighbours — one white, one black — in post-apartheid South Africa. Well, we all read the right novel eventually, but not before three of the group had got some way into a psychological thriller with the same title by Cass Green. After a while, they started to think that the book they were reading didn’t seem like a typical ‘Jacky choice’, but by that time were into the story, so ended up reading both. Each author published in 2016, so the common title is likely to be coincidental.
There are at least four books titled The Woman in Black listed on Amazon, including, of course, the Susan Hill novel on which both stage play and film were based. ‘Woman’, ‘girl’ and ‘daughter’ all feature strongly in contemporary novel titles in a trend that goes back to Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White. Recent publications feature daughters of shoemakers, elephant keepers, clockmakers, poachers, lighthouse keepers, alchemists, silk merchants and many more professions! It seems like a winning formula.
The title of my dual narrative novel, The Tissue Veil, symbolises the time barrier between two young women living in the same place but in different eras — something which prevents physical contact, but is at times flimsy enough to allow each of them a glimpse into the other’s world. Aysha finds and reads a mysterious journal; Emily gets occasional glimpses of a ‘future ghost’. The two girls explain it in their own ways. Edwardian Emily is reminded of the opaque sheets which covered illustrations in a book she once read at school — a bit like the overlays in traditional wedding albums: ‘the images were there, behind their tissue veils, but you couldn’t quite see them until you turned the leaf. Sometimes I think that’s how it is with Aysha: that she’s there all the time if only I could see. But which of us is behind the tissue, I cannot tell’. Aysha, the twenty-first century history student, thinks about archaeology and how time is layered in the ruins of an ancient city, rebuilt many times. One reviewer wrote that the title ‘can be taken by the sceptical reader as simply an image or metaphor, while others will accept without question the relationship between the Emily of 1900 and the Aysha of 2000’.
Either way, I hope my title arouses readers’ interest and expresses the time-defying link at the heart of the book.
Please do go and take a look at all the other blogs that are participating in this blog tour, they are all listed below.