What's in a title?
I get a lot of questions about the title of my novel, The Toll Road North. People either love it, or have no clue what it means. If you are interested in learning how a medium is involved in developing my title, read this earlier blog post.
Essentially, "the toll road" is what many (older) Mainers call the Maine Turnpike, as drivers pay a toll to use it. For many native Mainers, entering the Maine Turnpike is the first sign of returning home. Even though it's an extension of Route 95, it has a completely different
feel to it: no billboards, lots of trees, completely dark in most spots at night, less traffic than the rest of 95. (I'm sure Summer visitors would argue this last point with me, but honestly, 75% of the year, there's little to no traffic on the Maine Turnpike.)
Dee, the main character in The Toll Road North, has this emotional experience of coming home when she enters Maine, and again when she travels from Lewiston to the Maine Turnpike's northernmost point (Augusta) and then continues on 95 to the Canadian border. Although the toll-paying portion ends in Augusta, it's that long stretch into the northernmost regions of Maine that takes a toll on Dee. For Dee, the greatest toll she pays is giving up her hold on her childhood naivety to ask the important questions of her mother.
Several of the book clubs I've spoken with love the title once they have finished the book, as it all gels for them. It's not about the Maine Turnpike, it's about following your True North, even though you might have to pay a toll.