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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing

The Next Thing Someone Will Get a Copy of by Mistake and Read Cover-to-Cover because They didn't have Anything Else to Read in the Loo.

First of all, The Next Big Thing is not me. Or anything I'll write. The Next Big Thing is the newest i-Phone, latest Google application or most recent explosion of plastic crap peddled as a kid's toy (think 'Trashies' or 'Beyblades') from China. Those are Next Big Things

Oh, you mean The Next Big Thing in writing? Hmm. Okay. That's the title of a series of questions writers are asking other writers to answer. Someone tags you (you're it) to say you're writing something great or cool (hence, 'The Next Big Thing' title). You then attempt to respond in a way that acknowledges their prescience while maintaining your humility (quite easy when you perch on the lowest rung of the writer's ladder known as the Blogosphere).

So, let me first acknowledge my friend, Lee Murray's, foresight and wisdom. Not in choosing me to write a blog post entitled The Next Big Thing, but for playing the role of mentor and cheerleader so convincingly, I've started to believe if I don't have The Next Big Thing, I at least could write The Next Thing Someone Will Get a Copy of by Mistake and Read Cover-to-Cover because They didn't have Anything Else to Read in the Loo.

My point is, Lee believes I'm working on something worth reading. She's an award-winning children's author and science fiction writer, marathoner, mum and world traveler. I suspect her IQ lies in Mensa territory. Her EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) floats in a similar astral plane. The reason I'm taking part in this exercise is because someone who's already accomplished so much - who acknowledges, challenges and encourages fledgling writers from young schoolchildren to slightly scattered expat mums - has read about 40,000 of my words and believes I'm writing a book other people will enjoy. So, in deference to Lee's talent (and the fact I have yet to use her spa pool, which may not happen unless I complete this assignment) I'm gonna answer the Ten Required Questions for The Next Big Thing:

1) What's the working title for your book?  Love, Loss and Facebook (though I'm tinkering with changing it because of an idea that cropped up during a recent writer's retreat).

2)  Where did the idea come from for the book? From real-life. I can't make this stuff up; I'm not that creative. I wrote almost nonstop during the four and-a-half months my late husband lie in hospital, sharing his struggle with an ever-expanding circle of 'friends' on Facebook. Many of those people suggested I turn the updates and our story into a book.

3) What category does your book fall under? Memoir/non-fiction.

4)  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Oh, that's a fun one:  As Sean - maybe Liam Neeson (though he's way too tall); Jake Gyllenhall (no resemblance - I just like him); Jude Law, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig...I think Sean would appreciate those choices!  For me: Jennifer Connelly, Ashley Judd or Isla Fisher. Or Halle Berry. No resemblance. Just 'cause I like her, and she's from Cleveland.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  It's a love story about Sean, me and our kids that positions us in the middle of a social network web that helps us continue our journey even after terrible events spin us off one strand into the head, heart and geographical space of other worlds (Yes, this was a run-on sentence - I guess I really can't sum up my book in a single sentence!)

6)  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Yes. Either. Anyone know an agent willing to take on a new non-fiction writer?

7)  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? (Sigh) It's still in progress. I started about a year ago. Theoretically, I could finish the draft by Christmas. And my kids could start complying with my requests The First Time I issue them. Theoretically.

8)  What other books would you compare this to within your genre? That may be a problem. I haven't read anything quite like what I'm writing. The format's not for everyone. However, if I don rose-colored glasses and squint really hard, I see shades of Kelly Corrigan, Elizabeth Gilbert, David Elliott Cohen, Sarah Darmody and an eensy, weensy smidgen of Joyce Carol Oates. Just don't tell her I said so.

9)  What inspired you to write this book?  My late husband, Sean, who fought so hard to reunite with his family, including our kids, Fiona and Finley (now ages eight and seven). Our kids. Other family, friends and acquaintances who know what it means to love and grieve. A community of friends - online and face-to-face - who insist I keep writing (you know who you are - and I've already pre-ordered you a copy of the book!).

10)  What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? It's also a travelogue - I take readers around the world with the kids and I as we hop from Europe to South Africa to Australia and finally, New Zealand. I learned about these places during our visits and learned even more while writing about them. I want to bring readers along for the ride. Oh, and did I mention there's sex involved? Of course there's sex. Every (adult) love story deserves consummation. Or was it contemplation? Did I go too far? Damn thesaurus - never around when I need it. 

Next Five Big Things:

Becky Aud-Jennison - American psychotherapist and writer living in NZ's Northland

Lisa Fairbanks-Rossi - American freelance journalist and blogger in Spokane, WA who writes about the woman 'formerly known as my mom,' who's losing her mind to Alzheimer's.

Jeanette McQuarters - New Zealand poet and mum living in Tauranga. She writes what I call 'accessible poetry' - even a non-poetry reader like me can identify with and even love the phrases she crafts. It's head-nodding stuff.

Marcel Currin - New Zealand writer and dad living in Tauranga. He writes quirky short stories like 'Beer with Jesus.'

Andi Cumbo - American writer and teacher whose blog about writing (and life) instructs and inspires. I found her blog while Google searching an Anne Lamott quote. Andi's writing a book about the people enslaved on the plantation where she was raised.

There. I did it. Are ya happy, Lee? I gotta go write. Right now. Or maybe after lunch. 

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