Many of you have noticed that there is, in fact, no Blood Lily in Blood Lily. There’s a Marigold, a Moonflower, even the odd bit of frangipani, but not a single blood lily, of either the floral or pseudonymous variety.
I’d like to claim that there’s some deep metaphysical reason for this. But there isn’t. There’s a rather mundane and entirely practical reason for it. The book was originally titled “The Something Something of the Something Marigold” (catchy, no?). But the marketing powers that be deemed marigolds an insufficiently sexy flower. I wasn’t going to change the name of the spy (once a murderous Marigold, always a murderous Marigold), so we compromised by agreeing to pick a flower that would, in some way, represent Penelope. I sent out an SOS to the folks on this website. Suggestions flooded in, in great, floral waves. After much discussion and deliberation, the popular vote went to the blood lily, as being the flower that most closely captured Pen’s fiery spirit.
Oddly, despite the fact that there is no blood lily in Blood Lily, I’d say this is probably my favorite title (with the possible exception of The Masque of the Black Tulip).
And that, my friends, is why there is no blood lily in Blood Lily.