Sunday, April 25, 2021

Q&A with Eleanor Morse

From my Q&A with Eleanor Morse, author of Margreete’s Harbor: A Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

To give you a little background, Margreete's Harbor traces the life of a family of six people in three generations living under one roof during the 1950s and 1960s. They all end up together because the grandmother, Margreete, who suffers from dementia, burns down the kitchen and is unable to live alone safely. She refuses to leave her home and the rest of the family moves to Maine to be with her.

The structure of the novel is kaleidoscope, with six voices and six interconnected story lines. Because of this, I had a heck of a time coming up with a title that worked for all of those voices. I could have filled pages with titles I considered and rejected. Here are a few: Love, Even So. Keepers of This Place. Lifeboat. Rowing Toward the Light. Anthem for Six Voices. There were dozens more!

I owe the title, Margreete's Harbor, to my agent, who said, "Your book is like a five-pointed star, with Margreete at the center. Why not Margreete's Harbor?" So that was it.

Titles are the first words that a reader reads. Because of that, they feel really important. I wanted these first words to pull a reader into the book with a concrete image. In this case, I hope the word "harbor" does this through an image of water, boats, and...[read on]
Visit Eleanor Morse's website.

The Page 69 Test: Margreete’s Harbor.

Q&A with Eleanor Morse.

--Marshal Zeringue