My initial reaction was sheer panic. Does this mean I’ve got to change my title? Or even scrap the whole project? The process of finding a title for a novel is still a mysterious one to me, even though I’m currently working on my fourth. Each time I’ve started without one, and yet something has mysteriously worked its way to the front of my mind and moved from the status of ‘working title’ to something that’s indelibly linked to what I’ve written. It’s the same with First Time I Met The Blues, named after a song by Buddy Guy that one of my characters talks about at one point. (Oddly, I can’t remember now which came first: the scene, or the idea of naming the book after the song.)
Anyway, once I’d calmed down, I decided that this coincidence could actually be a good thing for me. For instance, people searching for the other book online might find this blog instead, or as well (even though I’m not showing up on Google yet – oh yes, I’ve checked). Besides, the rival book isn’t a novel but a memoir, by a bloke who was friends with Jimmy Page when they were teenagers discovering the blues together. Similar subject matter, then, but a completely different treatment. Maybe it’s even a sign that the British Blues Boom of the 60s is coming back into fashion – but no, that’s too fanciful.