Okay. The second book was Relics. I thought it sounded great with Artifacts. I liked the one-word plural archaeological noun theme I had going. I figured titles were now the last thing I needed to worry about. I had titles licked. Pride goes before a fall. I should remember that more often.
My agent thought I should save the title for later, to go with a book about religious relics and really old dead sacred bodies. I saw her point, but I liked it for this book. Because, not only is Faye digging up actual relics, she is working with an ethnic group that is a relic population left over from an earlier time, the Sujosa.
I made the word Sujosa up, and I modeled my fictional ethnic group after some actual relic populations in North America, but they're very real to me. I can't tell you how ridiculously proud it makes me when somebody tells me they wanted to know more about the Sujosa, so they googled them and came up with nothing but me. So it seems appropriate for the title of the book to reflect the importance of my relic population.
I had a moment of panic when I saw the first dustjacket, because Relics was in a very Gothic font and, combined with the flaming cover image, it looked like a horror novel. They toned down the flames and the font, which was a huge relief. It just never occurred to me that Relics sounded like a vampire novel or something. To refresh your memory, here are the more subdued flames:
One last story before I remember my resolution to write shorter. My son was 19 when Relics came out, and still a less-than-respectful teenager. He said to me, "Mom. So you named the first one Artifacts and the second one Relics. What are you going to name the third one...Trash?
Remind me to write him out of my will.