The first scene in the book is of Audrey’s mum threatening to throw her brother Frank’s computer out of the window. This was quite a key scene for me, and inspired a lot of the book, so for a while I called the book Get Off That ****ing Computer! Or sometimes: Get Off That ***ing Screen!
It’s not really Frank’s story though, it’s Audrey’s. So then I came up with another title, which I really liked: Level-headed. I was quite pleased with the play on words. Audrey is struggling to stay level-headed and not be anxious or panicky, while Frank thinks of nothing but computer levels. When their mum cries ‘Real life is not a series of levels!’ it means something to both Frank – level-obsessed – and Audrey, making her painful way up the jagged graph of life. I still rather love the title. Maybe I’ll use it elsewhere, one day.
I then focused more on the film that Audrey makes in the book. For a while, the title was My Serene and Loving Family. I love the irony of the title. The minute you read it you know that this will not be a serene family! (Although they are loving.)
But again, the book is really Audrey’s story, so it needed a title that reflected that. Another idea I loved was: Me & My Lizard-Brain. The concept of the lizard brain is quite arresting, and I thought it might make for a fun cover.
At this stage, the book was with my agents and publishers and the title discussion was opened up more widely. I remember that Project Audrey was suggested, but it was felt to be too close to other books.
Then Ben Clark from my agents LAW came up with the idea of Finding Audrey, and it felt just right to everybody. At the start of the book, Audrey is hiding from everyone. The true Audrey – sassy, wise and funny – is lost behind a cloak of anxiety and depression. But gradually she is found: by Linus, by her family understanding her better, by the reader following her story, and most importantly, by herself. It’s a very clever title and I love it.