THE NEXT BIG THING
I was tagged by David Blackdene, author of "Don't Look Back" (www.davidblackdene.com/) in a blogging chain called The Next Big Thing. Below are my answers to the ten questions in the chain. I tagged Lisa Halpin, author of "Someone Else Not Me" (www.anovelsuggestion.weebly.com) and Eileen Sharp, author of "Certainty" (www.eileensharp.com). All these authors have sample chapters available at authonomy.com.
1. What is the working title of your book?
2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
My best friend from college showed me a quilt she made from all sort of haphazardly cut pieces of different cloth, but when they were connected it was just beautiful. When I decided to write about piecing together a “family” from relationships with people you weren’t necessarily related to, the analogy fit.
3. What genre does it fall under?
I like to call it Southern Chick Lit. I didn’t set out to write the Great American Novel, but I did have a story to tell. I hoped it would be a book women would want to pick up and read. And being a southern girl, I definitely have that sensibility.
4. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I would choose Dakota Johnson for the younger sister, Harper. She’s the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. I think she has the perfect mixture of sweetness and sexiness. For the older sister McCall, I would pick Ann Hathaway. And for the love interest Andrew, I’d want someone women would fall for, but I wouldn’t want him to be movie idol perfect. I’d want him to be Southern and more accessible, like a younger Josh Lucas. In my mind I’m seeing Don Jeanes. He’s the guy that was in the Budweiser Brotherhood Super Bowl commercial about raising a Clydesdale horse.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Two estranged sisters’ lives are again entwined when their grandmother dies, leaving them a Southern Victorian mansion and the chance to change their futures.
6. Will your book be self-published or be represented by an agency?
I’m not currently published. I’m still in the editing and query process. I’ve only sent out three queries thus far. One agency asked for my entire manuscript. In the end, I wasn't right for them, but it was nice to be asked. I’m going to try for the traditional route, but failing that, self-publishing would be an option.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Funny story. I wrote the first 15,000 words when I was pregnant with my first child. Then I put it away for 18 years. I was inspired when I saw my husband writing a book, so I dusted it off and finished the 70,000 word manuscript in three months over the summer. Just to prove I could do it, I also signed up for NaNoWriMo this year and wrote 50,000 words of a second novel in 30 days.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My hero is Mary Kay Andrews (her pen name). I actually know her through some mutual friends. I’ve read of her books and thought, “I wonder if I could do that?” I’d like to think I could throw Emily Griffin’s books into that mix as well.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’m the oldest of five kids. My sister, Debbie was not quite a year younger than me. When I was 13 we were taken from our parents and became wards of the State. Debbie and I were like oil and water and were estranged for quite a few years. With age came wisdom and we worked on building a relationship. Sadly, she passed away from lung cancer about four years ago (I kept a blog during her final months: http://www.onemorecrappything.blogspot.com/). Before she died, she gave me a newspaper clipping showing a man she said was my father. He was not the man I grew up thinking was my father. This idea of two estranged sisters being forced to confront their relationship interested me. Throw in the fact that they may have different fathers, and I thought that could be worth pursuing.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Besides its southern sensibility. I think there are some interesting characters people will come to love. I tried to weave in the relationships Harper forges as she makes her “quilt”, with the mystery of her father’s death.
I tagged Lisa Halpin, author of "Someone Else Not Me" (www.anovelsuggestion.
weebly.com), Eileen Sharp, author of "Certainty" (www.eileensharp.com) and Laura Dzubay, author of "Life According to the Dead". All these authors have sample chapters available at authonomy.com.