I was thinking of this because of a lovely review of our book by Becca's Books in which she writes “Firstly the title. Ambiguous and I LOVE it”. I was overjoyed to read that to be honest.
The title seems so right now, but it was one of the last things we wrote. The original title of the book was Wish You Were. Not 'Wish You Were Here' - though yes, we expected people to add a silent 'Here' at the end. Which we then mirrored with the last line of the book – 'PS', so that the last thing people were supposed to read was a silent, unwritten “I Love You”. (Of course, in reality, we not only changed the title, but the proof-readers missed out the PS at the end of the novel).
So, the title was Wish You Were for 95% of the time we were writing the book. My guess is most people reading the book will imagine that the title came first, and that explains why Trip has such a silly nickname. But in reality we came up with the nickname first, at least a year earlier. It was only when we were improvising a dialogue scene on facebook chat that I used the phrase “a farewell trip” and suddenly realised that was an obvious title.
It still took a while to take hold. I was worried about using such a corny pun. Karin and I had become attached to the original title. Wish You Were what? And Anne had stated constantly that she hated the name Trip. Tim also. Even Karin wasn't keen.
Now, to me anyway, just as with Four Weddings and a Funeral, it feels like the book has always been Farewell Trip, was always meant to be, and could never have been anything else. And Becca's review sits nicely with that.