Right before the joys of the holiday kicked into psycho mode, Karin Davidson tagged me to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. While I’d heard about the process a little earlier, fall was the height of my busiest time at the day gig so I sat on the sidelines cheering the others on. At the same time, I stared at my blog and novel WIP knowing I must get back to both (I’ve been a serial short story cheater). This hop is my first 2013 entry to make it so.
Before we get a hopping (sounds frisky, eh?), I’ll share a little bit about Karin. I met her at the Kenyon Writers Workshop last June when she served as the fellow for Lee K. Abbott’s short fiction group. Originally from New Orleans and now residing in Columbus, she is one laid back, cool lady. She was a hands-on assistant who shared both insight from her work and writing process and a keen eye for seeing the writer’s intentions for a piece. Best thing is she dug the darkness spewing from my twisted unique storylines.
An MFA graduate from Lesley University, Karin’s work has appeared a number of literary journals and she is also the winner of A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Spring 2012 Orlando Prize for Short Fiction, the 2012 Waasmode Short Fiction Prize and a Peter Taylor Fellowship. Be sure to pop over and check out her Next Big Thing post as her pending novel sounds intriguing. Later this year, Karin and I will be kicking about all things music while visiting the Rock Hall of Fame. Get on your boogie shoes!
Rules of Blog Chain Engagement
This is a blog chain that originates from She Writes. Each writer answers a series of interview questions and posts them on their blog or website while also linking to five other writers. Those writers then answer the questions, post and include links to five other writers and so on and so on. If you happen to fall short of five peeps, that is cool. Just run with who you have.
Digging into My WIP
What is the working title of your book? Well, I’d been calling the poor thing a series of jumbled letters. Hey, I fessed up earlier to being a short story cheater. All those babies had titles, but not my novel. The draft title is now “Group Think.”
Where did the idea come from for the book? It stirred from a series of topics whirling in my mind. I’d started tapping back into my spiritual leanings and heightening my search for new church home. The worldwide religious atmosphere has ramped up to a level of warfare over biblical interpretations and, for some, a rating scale of judgments on sins. I started digging into my thoughts about growth and forgiveness (human to human not spiritual). Then, as happens with writers, some “what if” questions started percolating. What if there are some choices and actions that are unforgivable? Can there be forgiveness for someone’s terrible actions in the face of who they have become? What if someone wronged does deserve a pound of flesh to exact retribution?
What genre does your book fall under? Suspense and quiet horror. Chapter one starts off with Matthew face down with an X-Acto® knife in his back, but it happens off-screen so we don’t go all bloody…yet.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Great question and one I hadn’t given previous thought. For my two remaining (*cough* alive) leads, Jonathan could be played by Jeremy Jordan of Broadway (“Newsies”), “Joyful Noise,” and soon to be “Smash” fame. His look matches my vibe for Jonathan—someone with a good upbringing and heart, yet a boyish charm that could be swayed by misplaced loyalty.
David’s heart is a bit more self-serving and underneath that edge is a quivering soul. An Ian Somerhalder look works, though it would need to be someone who can pass for mid-20s. For Caitlyn, my technical villain, I’m not sure who would be a good choice. She is complex and is in many ways there, but not there.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? “Group Think” is the story of two men’s battle for redemption and forgiveness against one woman’s right to revenge.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My plan right now is to seek agency representation and a traditional publishing route. I’ve learned a ton over the past year about the changing marketplace so I won’t rule out if a hybrid of this dream manifests.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It is still ongoing. I started with the initial seed in fall 2011. I came up with the idea and, as the character list grew, knew it couldn’t be a short story. More space was needed to flesh out the characters as growing to know and care about them plays directly into the theme needs. I’m laying out a “no more cheating with shorts” plan to focus and get the first draft done this year. A short story can be a treat or reward, but not a main time stealer.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? When I think about the angle of people being “justified” in their actions of revenge, I turn to “Carrie.” Yes, things got a little hot in the end, yet we feel compassion for her and the path that led her there. At the same time, for her tormentors, who doesn’t make stupid choices when they are young?
Who or what inspired you to write this book? Well, my writing group has cheered me on to aim higher and put out a longer work. I started out as a poet who stumbled—kicking a bit—into short stories in college. I’ve grown to love them, but also wonder if I was capable digging into even longer work. Since I had the same feelings when moving from poetry, I’ve embraced the challenge.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? That it is a dive into the core of who these characters are. There isn’t a straight yes or no to who is right.
Now that you’ve had a peek into my writing, please stop by and visit the following five fab writers:
Deanna Adams is a freelance writer, writing instructor, and author of three non-fiction books, including “Confessions of a Not-So-Good-Catholic Girl.” A new novelist extraordinaire, she just received word that her book “Peggy Sue Got Pregnant” has found a home and is being published later this year. She’s also a member of my writing group and a great “get ‘er done” motivational kicker.
Kate Wood writes about everything from the Picts, to the Druids, to Boudicca and King Arthur, and other history and legends. Her stories are unique and weave through a range of characters and other worlds to captivate readers.
Kelley Clink’s non-fiction focus includes work that has appeared in multiple journals. She has also taught freshman composition and serves as the nonfiction editor of Ray’s Road Review. Her memoir is titled “A Different Kind of Same” and chronicles a life balanced with depression, the depths the relationship with her brother, and the travel through grief after losing him to suicide.
Sydney Matheson Avey is blessed to call home the Sierra foothills near Yosemite and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona (can you say stunning?). She’s completed an unpublished novel “The Sheep Walker” and is currently working on “The Lyre and the Lambs.”
Virginia Ripple is the author of several books, including “Apprentice Cat,” a fantasy mystery that has been described as “pure furry fun” and “Harry Potter with cats.” She is currently working on “Journeyman Cat.”
Did I say five? Well, as your bonus I’m going to mention Leslie Berry since she’s just released a collection, “Passing Judgment – Short Stories about Serving Justice,” that kept me hitting the next page button on the Kindle. It is a compact collection of twelve tales about people who deliver their own form of justice.
Your turn to share. What are you working on right now? What are you looking forward to reading in 2013?