— Elaine Dundy American journalist, actress 1921 - 2008
Context: Halfway through writing the book, I still had no title. It came wonderfully into being when I complimented my host at a party on his flourishing avocado plant. I said, I’d kept trying and failing with my own avocado pits. Someone said, what you’ve got is a dud avocado, and Ken said, that’s a good title for a novel. I thought, this title is mine, and it was. Ken and I had the same agent, and for a publisher we decided on Victor Gollancz, who was so good with first novels. Wonderfully, he accepted it, but with several caveats. He didn’t like the title. It sounded like a cookbook. He also wanted me to write under my married name. I said no to both. He accepted. He decided it needed a subtitle, "La Vie Amoureuse of Sally Jay in Paris." I said, Oh no, no! He said, this was the first time in his experience that an unknown writer had complained about a book cover. However, he did put on the book’s jacket that the subtitle was the publisher’s. Ken read it in proof and said, "You’ve got a thumping great best-seller here." Curiously, the first thing I felt was relief. I believed him. No one could predict how a play or novel would be received by the public like Ken could. And only then was I set free to let excitement take hold of me.