Monday, April 6, 2009

On The Outside: Beth Fantaskey

Beth Fantaskey is the author of the newly released, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. You can visit Beth at her website here and buy the book here.


As a new novelist, I expected some people to love my book, and braced myself for the fact that some people might just hate it. What I never anticipated was the reaction I would get to the title.

I’ll admit, as titles go, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is kind of long, and a little strange, but when I first came up with it, the words sounded right to me. They summed up what I hoped was a romantic, sometimes dark, and sometimes funny novel about an average girl who learns that she’s promised in marriage to vampire prince. A girl who receives an actual “guide” to becoming a vampire, herself.

I was so wedded to the title that when my manuscript sold, my contract specified that the publisher couldn’t change it without my agreement.

Of course, this eventually happened.

Just before Jessica’s Guide was headed to print, I got a call asking me to brainstorm possible new titles.

I swear, I tried hard.

I played around with Lucius’s name, with vampire-related words, and with things like “betrothed.” But nothing seemed to sum up the mix of light and dark that lies at the heart of the novel, and ultimately, everybody decided that Jessica’s Guide – or JGTDOTDS as some Internet reviewers have “acronym-ized” it – would keep its name.

Was this a good idea?

Well, some readers have suggested that the title didn’t prepare them for the emotional intensity of the story. They read the cover and mistakenly thought, “frothy.”

However, others have written to say they plucked Jessica’s Guide from the shelves just because the title intrigued them. They had to see what it was all about.

As for me... the title still seems right.

Maybe when you create something, and name it, and live with that name for over a year, it’s just too hard to rechristen it, any more than I could suddenly rename my children. Something of who we are is embodied in our names, which is why, although I’ve been married for about a dozen years to a Kaszuba, I’ll always be Beth Fantaskey, the name I grew up with, and which I also chose to put on the cover of a book with an equally quirky name.


Thanks Beth!

If any author wants more details on how you can do an On The Outside post with me, please email me at with On The Outside in the subject line and I'll get to you immediately with the details!


  1. Fun story. Her maiden name really is quirky, but I love it, and I do like the title of this. It's definitely something that jumps out at a person.


  2. such a great guest post! I loved JGTDOTDS and I love the title. But i am a lazy typer so I am one of the people who “acronym-ized” it. Can't wait for another book Beth!

  3. Oh, I've been dying to read this book!

    and you have an award waiting for you at my blog. :)

  4. I love the title of this and I can't wait to read it. :)


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