The working title for The Grand Mirage was ORIENT. When it came time to decide on a title, I considered The Orientalist, referring to Lord Leighton. But at about that time, a nonfiction book by Tom Reiss -- a fascinating biography of Kurban Said -- appeared under that title and it seemed silly to compete.
I was afraid a title like Caravan to Baghdad would mislead readers who might be looking for something about the war in Iraq. My editor suggested Baghdad, 1910 to get around that, but I wasn't sure that would convey that this is an action thriller.
For a brief moment, I thought The Grand Caravan would be it, until driving behind the Dodge minivan of that name the next day, I realized it wouldn't do.
So we brainstormed. That is, I got together with several writer friends, ordered pizza, put a flip chart on an easel and we played around with numerous combinations before settling on The Grand Mirage. And now, here it is.