Friday, October 4, 2013

Why Do Books have Name Changes? by Elizabeth Chadwick (and GIVEAWAY)

I am excited and honored to have one of my all time favorite authors Elizabeth Chadwick here today as a guest blogger on Laura's Reviews.  I am also embarrassed to admit that this blog should have been posted a few weeks ago.  The new semester with me teaching several new classes with a new lab is taking more time than I even imagined!  One thing that is keeping me going is reading Chadwick's latest novel, The Outlaw Knight.  Or is it her latest novel?  More on that from Ms. Chadwick herself . . . 

THE OUTLAW KNIGHT has just been published in the USA.  It’s the story of medieval knight Fulke FitzWarin who turns outlaw when his lands are taken away from him by King John in order to spite him over a long-running quarrel.  It’s also about the fiery, lifelong  passion between  Fulke and heiress Maud le Vavasour, on whom King John has his own designs.

This isn’t the novel’s first outing. Readers will find it in the UK under the title LORDS OF THE WHITE CASTLE, and several years ago it came out in hardcover in the USA with that same name.  In Spanish it is ‘EL PROSCRITO’ or THE OUTLAW.  In German it’s DIE BRAUT DES RITTERS -    THE  BRIDE OF THE KNIGHTS.

So, the burning question for reader is why on earth publishers have to go around changing names. It’s confusing  isn’t it?   It means that sometimes a keen reader who follows the author and buys their books as soon as they can, will end up with one they have already read because of that name change.
Generally it’s not some fiendish plot aimed at getting the readers to part with their cash second time round for books they already have, but it is born of marketing strategies.  In the case of the change from the LittleBrown UK title to THE OUTLAW KNIGHT for Sourcebooks,  you can blame the White Castle hamburger chain.   We may have imported Macdonald’s to Britian, but we don’t have the White Castle outlets.  So the main reason for the change is to avoid association.  Actually I do really like the new title and if I’d thought of it originally, I might well have used it instead of the longer one.

A couple of other novels of mine have undergone title changes in the transatlantic crossing.  In fact most  of my titles are changed for other overseas editions too, but it doesn’t cause so much of a problem when  they’re not in English, whereas the UK and the USA are countries separated by a common language.   DAUGHTERS OF THE GRAIL          was original titled CHILDREN OF DESTINY in the UK, but this was  because my British Editor and my American editor had different personal preferences.  When the novel was reissued in the UK a few years later, I had a different editor who preferred the American title.  So it changed in the UK for the re-issue.  

Another title that has changed in transit is THE TIME OF SINGING. In the USA it has become FOR THE KING’S FAVOR.  Some people prefer the UK version which is based on a quote from the Song of Solomon in the bible.  Its relationship to the content of the novel isn’t immediately obvious, and hints at the story rather than being to the point.  It was changed for the States because we felt it was slightly obscure and  might benefit from being more direct. FOR THE KING’S FAVOR more or less explains the dilemmas of the hero and heroine and what they have to work through in the course of the novel and why.   In German it’s  DIE ROSE VON WINDSOR – THE ROSE OF WINDSOR. 

Hand in glove with the title changes go the cover changes, which also serve to mask the fact that the reader might have read the book before, but again it boils down to decisions of culture and personal taste and marketing strategies aimed at a wider audience.  The UK cover for LORDS OF THE WHITE CASTLE prefers to show the woman of the piece Maud le Vavasour.  The Spanish one depicts a man with a moustache whom I don’t personally see as Fulke FitzWarin myself, but that’s the way it goes.  Sourcebooks has gone for the male knightly pose with Whittington Castle itself in the background.

Sometimes, although not in my case, you will find titles are changed to reflect a current trend.  The word ‘Tudor’ or ‘Boleyn’ or ‘Darcy’ might be involved in this, and yes, it’s an attempt to garner more revenue, which is understandable, although perhaps questionable if the book is republished in its country of origin.  

It’s an interesting and thought provoking conundrum which has increased since the book market has become more global.  As far as I know I don’t have any more name changes in the offing for the next three novels in the English language, but if I do, I’ll let you know!

 Thank-you for your excellent post!  I especially loved learning about the different covers as well.  If you would like to read The Outlaw Knight yourself, see below for giveaway information.

 Description for The Outlaw Knight from Goodreads

Westminster, 1184-- in the court of King Henry, playful competition is about to turn into something far more serious. Young courtier Fulke FitzWarin would not be an obvious companion for Prince John, but the boy from the Welsh Marches is there as a reward for his family's loyalty to the crown. The FitzWarins are as proud as they are true, and when Fulke is accused by John of cheating during a game of chess, he cannot help but respond. Thus begins a bitter rivalry that will resonate throughout their lives.

The FitzWarins dream of reclaiming their family estate and title, Lords of the White Castle. After this quarrel with Fulke, however, John's vindictiveness leads to Fulke renouncing his allegiance and becoming a rebel outlaw.

In romance, too, Fulke is no closer to fulfilling his heart's desire. A youthful dalliance means nothing compared to his love for the spirited Maude le Vavasour, but marriage in medieval England is more about alliance than about love, and Fulke can only watch helplessly as Maude's father arranges a more suitable match. After all, what can Fulke offer Maude apart from a lifetime on the run....

With all the intrigue and pageantry that bring the twelfth century vividly to life, this award-winning novelist spins us an irresistible tale of a deadly rivalry and an impossible love.

Sourcebooks has graciously offered a giveaway of one copy of  The Outlaw Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick.

If you would like to win this book please leave a comment about what most intrigues you about this book or this guestblog.

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using (or a monte carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).

No P.O. Boxes.

The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday October 11th, 2013.

Please make sure to check the third week of October to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner, but lately I've been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.

Good luck!          


  1. Thanks for this interesting post on name changes and the novel which captivates my interest. I have read that other countries do change the name of book titles. Many thanks for this wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. The cover is awesome. It really got my attention. I love books set in this time period. And I think what I really liked is an whole chain of events is going to be set off by being accused of cheating in a chess match. We all know how small things can get out of hand. Thank you for your post.

  3. My apologies. I really wanted to read the post about book's name changes. I went right past it. Seriously interesting stuff! It never occurred to me that, as the books go overseas, there may be a word or words that are not lets say good to use on a cover. The whole White Castle thing really got me. Come on guys! I cannot ask you directly but you did not complain and seem to accept it. I do not think I would be as accomodating but then again, I am not an author. I guess you do what you have to. So many changes to go through! I will definitely not only think twice about a books name and cover, but check to see what other names it may be under. Thanks again!

  4. This looks great! I love historical fiction! Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com

  5. Thank you so much for the giveaway and brilliant blog post! I am a HUGE fan of Elizabeth Chadwick. She is my favorite medieval historical fiction writer, as her work is SO authentic.

    What really intregues me about this post is how her latest novel was published in the UK under a different title. Interesting to know why!

    Thanks again x
    Email ~ lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

  6. I appreciate the heads up about the title and cover changes. I remember when I first started reading Agatha Christie and then Ellis Peters; I ran into this and had to read the blurbs carefully to see if it sounds familiar. I love covers so I'm intrigued when I run into a cover from another country which are sometimes more attractive, but sometimes not so much. I look forward to reading this one under either title. ;D

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

  7. Interesting post. I've been aware of the different titles on some of Ms. Chadwick's novels. My copy of Lords of the White Castle is a bit dog-eared and I would love to win a copy of the new issue. thanks for the giveaway.

  8. This post is fascinating and the historical interests me very much. The author's novels are always intriguing and wonderful. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. the time period sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  10. Laura, this sounds like a book I'd truly enjoy. I'm interested in learning more about the pageantry of the 12th century. Thank you for hosting this wonderful giveaway.


  11. Hi... Thanks for this great giveaway opportunity, and my apologies if this is a duplicated post as the page seemed to have difficulty accepting my post the first time. I am interested in the book because I have read and enjoyed some of Elizabeth Chadwick's previous books, particularly The Greatest Knight. I am also a dedicated student to English History of the 12th and 13th centuries and an enthusiast for stories related to Robin Hood, the legendary outlaw whose exploits some have argued are based on the adventures of Fulk Fitz-Warin.

    presterjohn1 at hotmail dot com

  12. I am relatively new to Elizabeth Chadwick but what I have already read of hers I have thoroughly enjoyed. I also enjoy reading about 12th and 13 th century England. This book looks to really fit the bill.

    Bob Thibodeau

  13. i would love to read this book!!! i enjoy historical fictions & have added this book to my WishList!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  14. No need to enter me in the giveaway - I already have the book. I always find it interesting what goes into the name of a book or a name change. I always get frustrated when the title is changed in a reprint or other situation. I do realize however that many authors don't necessarily get a say in how the book is titled or what the cover looks like. Great posting!