That Which We Call a Rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.

What’s in a name? William Shakespeare asked this question in Romeo and Juliet.100_1307

Now I ask you, would Juliet have embraced Romeo if his name was Joe Smith? You know, the hard-working guy from Ohio, and not the bad Italian boy across the street whose family was at odds with hers. And would he have smelled as sweet? And the rose…would the rose really smell as sweet if the name was changed to dandelion? That word conjures an entirely different smell. But did we smell the rose, that sweet perfume, and then coin the title? Who named it anyway?

Do you get hooked on the title of a story you’re writing and in your mind it could never be as sweet if changed by your editor? I’ve only ever had one title changed, and for the life of me it was always the book that I had to stop and think about.

So many people have asked me where the title for Corsica Gate came from. Why focus on the island of Corsica? A Frenchman said to me: “Corsica. Humph. There’s nothing there.”photo1

I did not disagree with him, because I didn’t know. All I had to go on was extensive research. What I saw, what I learned, held appeal. It became a heady sweetness like the scent of crushed rose petals. I later learned the island is named “the scented island” due to the wild flowering maquis that rises from sea level to almost 3,000 feet and infuses the air with scents clean and fresh: eucalyptus, juniper, laurel, rosemary, heather, myrtle, sage, and mint.

The title Corsica Gate came to me from a street sign in Indio, in the heart of the southern California desert. I kid you not.

100_1595Our ladies gym, Curves, relocated to Indio. I’d take the back streets and drive past that green street sign. Of course at that point I was knee deep in writing a romantic suspense series, but the sign waved to me every time I passed by. I got to thinking about it and wondered about how little I knew of Corsica, except for the fact that the little Corsican, Napolean, 🙂 had been born there. I began some light research, scribbling down items of interest and popping them into a file.

That research soon took on a mind of its own and before I knew it, Dia Sophia Romani waved her hand and stepped forward. “I’ll be your heroine,” she said. “Just make sure I get a hot hero. And nobody of Italian descent, thank you very much. I’m tired of things Italian.”

Enter the unlikely hero: Carlo Antonelli. And yes, he’s a second generation Italian American.


Corsica Gate, it could never be anything else. It’s magic. Che Bella…how beautiful.

Leave a comment, a hello, or a wave, and I’ll put your name in the hat. I’m gifting one signed print copy to the lucky winner…or they can choose a Kindle version. The contest will close on Friday, February 13, 2015.

And the winner is, Marie! Congratulations I’ll be in touch to find out which version you would like. 🙂

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8 Responses to That Which We Call a Rose

  1. Kelly Hartog says:

    I LOVE this title. Coupled with the cover photo it sounds both romantic and mysterious. Downloaded it. Can’t wait to read – hopefully this weekend.

  2. Sam Beck says:

    Hi Robena,

    Congratulations on your new release! I loved the title from the start, but perhaps a little more now that I know how a street sign you passed every day led you, (via the wonders of the Internet), to a beautiful, faraway place.

  3. Gina B. says:

    Aaah, I had no idea Corsica means the scented island…this sounds so lovely. I can almost smell the clean, fresh scents…I love the cover of Corsica Gate – it’s so beautiful! Congrats on your new release, Robena!

    • robena grant says:

      Thanks so much, Gina. It’s amazing what thinking about those scents does for me. I had an immediate sense of how Corsica smelled…now, I could be wrong. Ha ha. But I loved thinking about how it must smell like an aromatherapy store, or a spa.

  4. Marie Miller says:

    Hi Robena,
    Congratulations on your new release. And I adore the name and the cover. I feel like I am there and smelling all the wonderful scents of your island….Being from the island myself I do know what that smell is all about…jasmine of the night, plumerias and I can go on…Now I can’t wait to get the book to find out more.

  5. robena grant says:

    Thanks for coming by, Marie, and for those kind words. Yes, you would really know what I’m talking about. So much flora in such a tiny space of land. Heady stuff. 🙂