Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Q&A with Mark Cecil

From my Q&A with Mark Cecil, author of Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I really love my title, Bunyan and Henry; Or, The Beautiful Destiny, which I think does a lot of work.

The initial title of the book was just “Bunyan” because it’s a big, larger than life story about a very famous folk hero. Sort of like, Oedipus Rex, or Hamlet, or Madame Bovary and so on. By the time my publisher acquired it, we changed it to, “Paul Bunyan And The Beautiful Destiny,” because this picks up some of the spiritual and philosophical themes of the work as well.

But by the time we were ready to go to print, the team at my publishing house thought that title could be improved. So we came up with a number of alternatives, and even sent a list of possible titles around at Penguin Random House and at my agency, and people voted on their favorites. I think we got it right in the end.

First, it highlights the unlikely friendship of these two American folklore heroes—white lumberjack Paul Bunyan and Black steel drivin’ man John Henry. The other title didn’t have John Henry in it.

The second part of the title “Or, The Beautiful Destiny,” is great for a few reasons. First...[read on]
Visit Mark Cecil's website.

My Book, The Movie: Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny.

The Page 69 Test: Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny.

Q&A with Mark Cecil.

--Marshal Zeringue