The lovely and talented M.H. Gerber has tagged me for a blog hop called The Next Big Thing. Thank you, M.H.! She’s been one busy lady, with three books out. I’m so impressed!
After I take care of my weekly Best Blogs business, I’ll answer some questions and point y’all in the direction of some authors to watch.
Some weeks it’s easier than others to find new blogs worthy of recommendation, but yesterday the indomitable Totsymae, one of my all-time favorite bloggers, tossed me a gift when she turned me on to The Good, The Bad, The Worse. Blogger Linda Medrano covers a variety of topics with intelligence and humor. She’s fun and interesting, the kind of person I would like to get to know better. I’ve been catching up on her posts with great delight. Check her out!
Now, back to The Next Big Thing. Here are my answers to M.H.’s questions:
1. What is the title of your book/WIP?
Currently, I am completing Blood and Loam, a Vietnam-era book about a young woman coming of age in a time of social and political upheaval.
I’m also drafting a series of essays and a new novel with the working title House on the Hill. I’m sure that will change several times, though!
2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
With Blood and Loam, I wanted to write about the confusion I felt growing up in the 60s and 70s. Women’s roles were changing, and I was getting a lot of mixed messages. I’d had some turbulent relationships in those days, so I wanted to explore the life of a young woman with little self-esteem. Originally it was set in 1980, but when I switched it to 1970, it opened all kinds of exciting doors! A lot of things happened that year that reverberate through our current political climate, so the setting has become its own character.
3. What genre would your book fall under?
Good question! I am calling it historical fiction because the Vietnam-era setting is essential to the story. The main characters are female. Just as in The Foreign Language of Friends, I write about women who don’t get along very well – in this case, a mother and daughter. For some reason I am fascinated by the friction that can exist in female relationships. So, I suspect that some people will call it “women’s fiction,” but I don’t think it really qualifies.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Stella: Lindsey Lohan. Yes, you read that right. I’m rooting for her to make a comeback. She needs to stop messing with her face, though.
Ruth (Stella’s mother): Sarah Jessica Parker. I need someone petite and blue-eyed. She needs to die her hair black, though.
Adrian: Colin Farrell or Johnny Depp. I need someone who can come across as dangerous and sexy at the same time.
Luke: John Goodman. Well, John may be a little old for the role these days, but I need a big, beefy, blue-collar type of guy.
Grandma Hannah: Dianne Wiest.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When the violence at Kent State erupts, new graduate Stella Kellar returns to her small, Midwestern hometown to escape the turmoil, only to find that some wars are personal.
6. Is your book published or represented?
7. How long did it take you to write?
Years. Seriously. I first drafted the novel more than 20 years ago, but made the mistake of getting it critiqued too soon and ended up tossing the whole thing in the trash. It was originally a horror novel, but I didn’t want to end up being stuck writing horror — that’s not what I do. In 2010, I used NaNoWriMo to rewrite it in its current form. It’s now been through two developmental edits, and I think one more will do it.
It’s a hard book to write, but I think I have the right story now. I had to be older, wiser, and a better writer to do what needs to be done. There are big themes and some events in the book that are so controversial, I was told by one expert, that no major publishing house would touch it. I’m uncomfortable with it, but it’s the story that wants to be told, so I’m sticking with it.
8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to?
Good question. I’m reading some other Vietnam-era fiction now to see what other people have done. Right now I have no idea.
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
None and all. This book has no real roadmap – it’s unlike anything else I’ve read. That’s one reason it’s been so hard to write.
10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book.
It’s sexy and violent, with multiple taboo topics!
Some writers to watch whom I have tagged:
Juliet Greenwood: Check out her elegant, lovely Eden’s Garden.
Ute Carbone: The author of a fine novel, Blueberry Truth, Carbone has some new work out that I’m excited about reading.
Karen Wyle: Author of a powerful, character-driven sci-fi novel called Twin Bred. I recently had the privilege of being a beta reader for one of Karen’s WIPs, currently called Reflections, and she’s working on other stuff as well.
Have a great weekend, y’all! I’ll be busy the next several days at the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference. I’m sure I’ll have lots of news to report next week!
Talk about being busy–you are! How do you do all that you do? I love reading about your WIPs, especially Blood and Loam. And I’m excited that you’re working on some essays.
I’ll check out your blog recommendation–thanks for the tip!
My big secret for getting work done is to be an aficionado of The Artist’s Way. Julia Cameron taught me how to set my perfectionist aside so I can just do the work, to treat my art like it matters, and to “get the drama out of life and onto the page.” She also gave me one of my favorite affirmations: “Treating myself like a precious object makes me strong.” I’ve had the joy of studying with her twice in person, but the book alone changed my life completely. It’s a much longer story than that…probably a whole blog post… Read more »
Sounds like a good read. I like your Hollywood line up, too. Agree on Lindsey. I am hoping she finds her ground soon.
Oh, that girl. She has so much talent! I figure if Robert Downey, Jr., can come around, so can she. She has my prayers.
Thank you for mention Linda’s and my blog. She’s all that and a bag of chips…
You’re a busy bee at the keyboard. You’re good for pulling out a WIP drafted 20 years ago. If you’re holding onto it for that long, you’ve got to carry through with it. I’m chopping a few unfinished pieces into short stories. I’m not getting any closer to the finish line otherwise.
This darn novel won’t let go of me, so I’m going to have to git ‘er done! Man oh man. I love your writing, and I can’t wait to read some stories!