Although Ken had the plot of The Pillars of the Earth outlined years before it was published, the title posed more of a challenge.
During the writing process, Ken says he went through several different titles. "My working title was Vaulting because of the vaulting in the church and because a lot of the people in the story are ambitious," he says. "The only problem with that was people thought it was going to be a novel about pole vaulting."
After scrapping that idea, Ken sought out divine inspiration. "[The title] is a phrase from the Bible," he says. "Phrases from the Bible often have a kind of resonance to them—they often make good titles. I just looked for a verse in the Bible that said something about pillars or columns, and I found the verse that said, 'The Lord hath set the Earth on its pillars.' I thought, 'Oh yeah, The Pillars of the Earth. That sounds good.'"