The first job of a great title is to spark the imagination: It has to grab the reader as surely as the cover art, compelling him or her to pick up the book. And obviously the title has to capture something essential about the story, whether a plot element or a character or a theme. Beyond those basics, something I’ve always loved about effective titles is when they have multiple meanings or when they can be interpreted in various ways. In the case of Tessa Goes Down, I came up with a catchy title that has not one, not two, but three distinct meanings.
This is the story of a desperate young woman, Tessa Rae Jayne, making a mad dash to the Texas/Mexico border because of something rash she’s done back home—so there’s the literal and most basic premise of “going down” to the bottom of the country.
In a little town called Malvado, Tessa meets Floyd Tillman Weathers, a good ol’ boy with his own criminal past, and in a burst of sweaty spontaneity, the two youngsters become real tight, real quick—so there’s the emotional (and physical) aspect of “falling for” Floyd.
But perhaps the strongest interpretation of the title is the overall theme (bolstered by today’s politics) that, more often than not, the bad guys are winning. And the good guys are going down.
Tessa is facing long odds, but with Floyd by her side, can she overcome them? Dive into Tessa Goes Down to find out!