Do you ever wonder where authors come up with book titles or the name of series? Let me tell you how the series title, Sheltering Trees, came to me.
It took a while to come up with the series name. First I thought of something in relation to my home state of Wisconsin, where the books are set, but I couldn’t settle on anything. Then my mind lit on the idea of using prepositional phrases as book titles. I liked that!
From there, I wrote down possible names. I thought of trees and how I have associated them with shelter, and the name Sheltering Trees sprang from that.
Next, the individual book titles came fairly easy. I named different trees, factored in their location and where I would set the books and went from there. The first three titles rolled out of my noggin without much trouble at all.
In a Grove of Maples made sense for the book inspired by my grandparents and set on my home farm. I remember a plentiful supply of maples in the area. My brothers still make syrup from the trees in the woods on that property.
Under the Weeping Willow came about because, firstly, I love willow trees. Secondly, I’ve driven by a neighborhood’s property hundreds of times, a couple miles away, which had the perfect setting with a pond, several willows, and a picturesque older house and farm. I imagined my novel set there.
I like to use real places for the setting of my novels—buildings, homes, farms, etc. that I’ve seen. The story seems more real to me then, and I can easily pull from my memory of a place.
I set my third novel in Sheltering Trees, On Bur Oak Ridge, on the farm my husband and I live on. Established in the 1880’s. It once was quite a huge farm for the time period. It had over 180 acres, a barn, chicken coop, summer kitchen, farmhouse, outbuildings, and a working windmill—providing water for the household and animals—atop the ridge, north of the farm. It just so happens that the predominant tree on the ridge are Bur Oak trees. Thus the name.
The last book, By Broken Birch Bay, came to me on vacation in Grand Maria, Minnesota. My husband and I were driving along Lake Superior, and I saw a stand of birch trees, my favorite trees, all with their tops missing, like a giant chainsaw had been lifted twenty or more feet in the air and had sawed the trees’ heads off. I’m not sure if a storm did the damage but it got me thinking, and a story started to formulate, a mystery of sorts.
And that’s the story of a series!