What’s in a Name?
The first task for the team on learning that Strange Chemistry was a green-lit project was to come up with the name of the imprint – the name that we are so proud to see heading up articles and forum discussions right now.
My first thought was: “Well, that’s easy! We’ll just spend an hour or so on that and emerge with something decent.”
No. That wasn’t how it worked. Definitely not. I know that I found my mind dwelling on what to call this new imprint. I thought about it during work hours when I was supposed to be doing accountancy-type work. I lay in bed and thought about it at night. Maybe the rest of the guys managed to get some sleep! We threw around ideas by email and phone. We looked at websites, which included forwarding far too many bad jokes and pictures – including ninja kittens. (That nearly became the name, by the way.)
I know I asked my friends what they would call it; I’m sure the rest of the team did as well. Since it was my first effort at something like this, I came up with some truly AWFUL blunders. My favourite of these? Copper Candle Books. Just looking at that name makes me giggle right now! (As I recall, Marc’s return text to that simply said: “Quite frightful.”)
Personally, I started to think “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, and that I didn’t really mind what it would be called… I’m glad the guys who I’ll be working alongside kept me focused on what it would mean to find a really great name.
The best advice I received on naming the imprint came from Marco – he who has been through this a few times before and produced the blistering and mind-bending Angry Robot. He said to think about what I wanted the name to convey. I struggled with this. What could possibly encapsulate all of my thoughts and feelings about YA fiction and about the novels that I wanted to publish?
So, instead, I thought about the people I would be trying to reach out to. Those people who are finding their identity. Those people who are seeking inclusivity, but often finding themselves on the outside looking in. Those people who are striving to forge their direction.
Those brilliant people – spiky, clever, full of attitude, independent. Those people who are compassionate, look after their own and demand the best from themselves and from others.
“Chemistry” was the word that came first – the concept of taking a child, and transforming them through many means into adulthood. Teens are in that phase of their life where they are neither one nor the other, and are influenced and inspired by utterly different things. Songs, film stars, events they’ve seen, families and friends, books they’ve read: everything leads a teen into the adult they will someday become. So Chemistry seemed to fit perfectly.
“Strange” was added to indicate the speculative nature of the work that will be on show from this imprint – the weird and wonderful worlds that we will come to explore together. From epic fantasy to space opera science fiction, from horror stories that leave the blood frozen to retellings of fairytales – I hope that all these and more will be published from the imprint that has now become Strange Chemistry.
It didn’t hurt at all that Strange Chemistry also made the whole team think about mad scientists!
P.S. One of my friends, upon hearing that I had the job with Strange Chemistry, baked me this amazing cake!