Friday, December 16, 2022

Q&A with Henriette Lazaridis

photo credit: Sharona Jacobs
From my Q&A with Henriette Lazaridis, author of Terra Nova: A Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I had a hard time settling on a title for Terra Nova that could signal not only the narrative of my two Antarctic explorers James Watts and Edward Heywoud, but also the story of Viola Heywoud, the woman who loves them both and who remains in London. My placeholder title was Had We Lived, a striking phrase I drew from one of Robert Scott’s final messages from his race to the South Pole. His race against Amundsen had inspired my novel, but that title didn’t capture Viola’s story, and, powerful though the phrase is, it didn’t really capture the ideas of exploration and ambition that I wanted for the book. Finally, after trying After Images (too soft) and An Undiscovered Light (didn’t sound good read aloud), I settled on Terra Nova. It’s a reference to Scott’s Antarctic expedition by that name, but it also stands for all the new territory that each of the three characters in my novel is striving for, including Viola in...[read on]
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--Marshal Zeringue