Monday, April 13, 2009

On The Outside: Thalia Chaltas

Thalia Chaltas in the author of the upcoming release of her new Young Adult novel, Because I Am Furniture, which will be released on Thursday! You can find my review of it here. You can visit Thalia at her wonderful website here.


Titles are so personal, aren't they? I always have a one-word working title while I am writing. For me, that one word has to sum up a lot of the book, even if it isn't perfect as a final title. It often comes to me very early on, as I am playing with the main character, brainstorming, asking myself questions about where things could go. This novel's working title was the word Furniture, a reference to Anke feeling like furniture and the thread of physical furniture in the book. When we got to the almost-second-to-last-maybe-third-to-last edit, my editor, the wonderful Catherine Frank at Viking, said that the title wasn't enough and had been nixed by those higher up. I understood that just that one word didn't entice, or explain the story, unless you had already read the book. And, as Catherine said, it was a clunky word on its own. What if someone ordered the novel thinking it was a how-to book?!

So we started throwing ideas back and forth in some very long emails: Breaking Branches, Learning to Shout, Shaking the Family Tree…playing with words like: shattered, breaking apart, splintered…. Whenever I came up with something I really wanted Furniture in the title, but I was told to avoid that word.

And then a very good friend of Catherine's came up with Eight Tangled Limbs, from a particular poem. And I loved it! And others loved it! And then we had reservations…like, wouldn't you ask "Why eight? Why is eight significant?" We tried simply Tangled Limbs, but still it wasn't quite…something. Back to the drawing board.

Finally came this note from Catherine: "So at the risk of sounding like a total lunatic and taking us full circle, how would you feel about using the line from the very first poem: Because I Am Furniture." Okay, I was a bit irritated. They had been telling me not to use the word Furniture! And I didn't like it much because I felt it was vague, but I let Catherine defend her choice, and other friends and family said it makes the reader ask questions and creates intrigue. In the end, it just grew on me.

Honestly? I was thankful to be involved in creating the title. As a first-time author I was prepared to have all of that done without me. And I think that what ever the title ended up officially, I would always have called it Furniture.

The book cover is a different story altogether. Ready? The cover as it has been published is exactly what they showed me the first time. I loved it. They loved it. Done.

The 'invisible' girl debossed ('pushed in', the opposite of embossed or bumped out) into the room of furniture, the colors of black and purply-blue, the thin red font of the title, so wonderful. I was expecting a terrible process - I know many people who have not liked their covers! I was thrilled and I just stared at it for great swaths of my working day. Yup, sometimes I still do. When other things in the day are a struggle, the cover reminds me that I am a published author!

Thanks for having me as a guest, Kelsey!

Thanks Thalia!

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. Aww, that's so cool. :) It totally rocks when the author has a helping hand in thinking up the title.

  2. Awesome post. I am glad she had a say in helping with things. I love the title, so I'm glad they decided to go with this one. It does make you think and ask questions.

    I think it's great the cover is pushed in for
    Anke. So awesome. Can't believe it was the first idea...crazy! :)



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