“The Next Big Thing” — Have you all heard about it? It’s a chain blog post that’s doing the rounds at the moment. Actually, it’s been around quite a while and is still going strong. It’s ten questions that are an opportunity for writers to tell people about their next project — a completed book about to be published, a work in progress or simply an idea about to be embarked upon. Writers from all over the world have been taking part and posting each Wednesday.
It was Sandy Fussell (author of the Samurai Kids books) who sent it on to me. I blogged my answers last Wednesday on my personal blog (here), talking about my soon to be published third Gamers novel, Gamers’ Rebellion. I then passed the invitation on to Sue Bursztynski, Simon Haynes and Michelle Heeter. Unfortunately, Michelle doesn’t have a blog, so I offered to host her Next Big Thing here.
1. What is the [working] title of your next book?
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
My first novel, Riggs Crossing, is a Young Adult novel that deals with a teenager whose father is a professional marijuana grower. Due to the constraints of the YA genre, I had to leave out a lot of interesting material. Ripped will tell a different story set in a similar criminal milieu, but will be told from an adult’s point of view and will be aimed at an adult audience.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
General literary fiction.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Sasha Horler for the female lead. For the male lead, the singer Paul Kelly, if he could be persuaded to give acting another go.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A professional marijuana grower and his girlfriend become trapped in a lifestyle that leads to violence, imprisonment, and finally, redemption.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
No self-publishing! I need editors to tell me what’s good and what isn’t. I’ve managed so far without an agent, but it might be time for me to start looking for one.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
There is no draft yet. This has been roiling around in my head like a swarm of bees for a couple of months; I had not set anything to paper before answering these questions. I’ve been dreading the start of this project, as it’s going to involve revisiting a lot of bad memories and interviewing people about parts of their life that they’d rather forget.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can’t think of a similar novel. Gabrielle Carey’s book Just Us is a non-fiction account of her relationship with a jailed criminal, but the characters at the core of my proposed novel are quite different to Gabrielle and her former partner.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
“Inspired” isn’t quite the right word. “Haunted” would be better. As with my last novel, some unfortunate past experiences provide the material to be shaped into a book. Bad luck can be turned into good fiction.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I was recently hired by a TV drama production company for a brief consulting gig—they’re planning a series about women whose partners are in jail. Basically, I talked to a team of screenwriters, answering their questions. It was a great experience. It would be interesting if any of the material I plan on using in the novel ends up in the series, but I don’t think this will happen. I think the screenwriters know their intended audience, who is after a bit of light entertainment and would recoil at hard truths about jail and the stigmatised life of a crim’s girlfriend. The average TV viewer does not like to be made uncomfortable or made to re-examine entrenched attitudes. Book readers, in my opinion, have more active minds.
Thanks, Michelle, for sharing your Next Big Thing with Boomerang Blog readers.
Catch ya later, George
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