If you’re an author, it’s quite common to be asked at a reading what’s your next project. You always need to be working on something, or you might as well hang up your pen! The question, “What are you writing right now?” inspired this blog hop where a number of writers from all over the U.S. are writing on “My Next Big Thing,” answering the same 10 questions you see here.
I’m honored to be tagged by Mary L. Moore, author of Sleeping with Patty Hearst, a coming-of-age novel set in North Carolina in the 1970s. It’s a genre-bending novel that features a lost sister, an illicit affair and a pregnant teenager who elopes. Last year, Mary and Sleeping with Patty Hearst were featured in the Wonderland Book Club, the writers’-centered book club I’ve sponsored since 2008. I was so happy to be able to share Mary’s book with so many! In the blog hop, Mary wrote about a few of her favorite things and who she thinks would be ideal from the movies to portray her characters. Please check it out!
Now on to the hop:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
Heroes Without Capes
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’m a poet and a person who is fascinated with death. And I’m not talking about physical death all of the time. There’s death of a relationship, a career or of an idea. Take my death fascination and pair it up with my love for the characters of pop culture. What are they thinking about when they are facing a deep moment of personal crisis? When they are facing a death? Remember, death is life’s change agent and an important component of an author’s tool kit. Death makes the plot much more exciting and it tends to quickly bring out a character’s true nature.
Heroes Without Capes will be my first full-length poetry collection. Featuring mostly persona poems and a few odes, the theme is pop culture, historical figures and celebrities—sort of like a Jeopardy! Board. Predator, Darth Vader, Bruce the Shark, Kathy Griffin, the Devil, Hamburger Helper, Captain Bligh, and the Road Runner will all be making cameos. My characters reflect on their issues in these poems usually after a stressful episode in their life. We’ll also meet Nolan, the Split Foyer house who has insecurity issues and Dina the Jet who is a snarky fashionista. As you can probably guess, there’ll be a lot of humor in this book. I love dissecting ironies and exploring socio-economic class issues through my poems.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry. I write long poems that are story-based and full of conflict. If there was a section called “Humorous Poetry” you’d also find my book there, but there won’t be since the poetry section is already so small!
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’d have all of the original actors play their roles:
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
We’re all heroes of our destiny. Some of us just take a little longer to get there.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be traditionally published! Check back with me later on publishing details.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m still writing the poems for Heroes Without Capes—this book is taking about 2 years to complete and it will be published in 2014.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Graphic novels where the artist and the writer meet. This is definitely a genre-bending book! It’s for folks who hate poetry, but love reading something short and funny. It’s also for folks who are raving fans my characters and want to see where I take their stories–fan fiction poetry if you will.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’m a child of the eighties and of pop culture. It’s how I relate in the world and yes, I proudly admit, I’m a die-hard Star Wars fan. In addition to being fascinated with death, I also want to bring to life to many of my favorite characters I loved growing up: the Predator, Darth Vader and The Road Runner.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Haven’t you always wondered where the Predator gets his groceries? Read “Predator at the Super Wal-Mart”
Don’t you think The Road Runner looks a tad feminine? Read “The Road Runner Gets a Sex Change”
What does Darth Vader really think of the Emperor? Read “The Sith Lord’s Lament”
Find out the answers in my upcoming book!
What’s the one piece of advice you would give a new writer?
It’s all about making an appointment with yourself on the calendar and giving your own work top priority. I choose certain days of the week to get my own work done and this further trains my brain to get into the creative spirit. I’ve also found that contests, publication deadlines and open mics help me get motivated to produce new work and they can help you! Even when I was on maternity leave four years ago I wrote every day and used my online and offline poetry groups to keep me accountable. My advice is to write down your deadlines in your daily planner or on your smart phone. Also you need to write down your writing goals and be specific. How many markets do you want to submit to in a month? When you do you want your first draft of your book ready? Writing your goals down will make them real and measurable and will fuel your desire. You can also give yourself a reward when you do reach your goal—my reward is hanging out on Pinterest or Facebook.
NEXT! I’ve tagged 4 fabulous authors who (are also so beautiful) to follow me in the Blog Hop!
Elaine F. Bayless is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer, living in Raleigh, NC with her husband, daughter, and three neurotic cats. Tori Amos is her musical muse and her strongest writing influences are Barbara Kingsolver and Margaret Atwood. Born and raised in East Tennessee, she lived in DC for many years until moving to NC in 2005. She has published a collection of short stories titled “Birds, Bees, and Church Trailer Thieves,” and is working on a memoir, a Bible story book, and a novel. Her blog post will be about her memoir.
Look for her post on Thursday, February 28th at http://www.elainefbayless.blogspot.com/
Joan Leotta has been writing and performing since childhood. Her newest work, Giulia Goes to War is book one of a four part series, Legacy of Honor, that traces the women of a family and how they find love and independence from WWII era through the Desert Storm era. Her other books include Massachusetts (Scholastic), Christmas Gift (Warner), Complete Guide to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia (Norton) and Tales Through Time: Women of the South (an anthology of short historic fiction co-authored with Edith Edwards, published by Lulu). She is working on the second book in the Desert Breeze Legacy of Honor series, Letters From Korea.
Elisa Lorello is a best-selling novelist and the author of four books: Faking It, Ordinary World, Why I Love Singlehood (co-authored with Sarah Girrell), and her latest, Adulation. Currently on sabbatical from teaching, Elisa recently returned to the northeast from North Carolina, where she is busy developing new projects (she’s superstitious and never talks about her works in progress!) and getting re-acquainted with snow. Elisa’s blog post will be about Adulation—perfect for Oscar season!
Look for her post on Monday, March 4th at http://www.elisalorello.com/blog-ill-have-what-shes-having.html
Julia Tagliere is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Writer and other national magazines. She lives with her husband, their three children, and one crazy Weimaraner. Widow Woman is her first novel.
Look for her post on Friday, March 8th at http://juliascribbling.com/