About Me

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J is an unpublished author, represented by Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency. J's first novel is a YA fantasy horror, regarding a siren who must choose between the haunting life and humanity. J draws on occasion, reads quite often, and is a founding member of the critique group 'Thoughtical Verbosity.'

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week 21: The Next Big Thing

Hello, Internet! How have you been? You're looking well. I like what you've been doing on Youtube. (And don't worry about that bit of bloating around your political side...I'm sure it's just a bit of swelling. It'll go down in another couple months. Until then, just cover it up with a few GIF jackets, and it'll be much less noticeable.)

Anyway, I've been up to stuff lately. Lots of stuff. Book stuff. Writing stuff. Head injury stuff. But that's neither here nor there (or maybe it is, how would I know? I'm still trying to catch up on what day of the week it is). But I am here now because my dear friend, President of the Missoula Chapter of the Extreme Grammarians (or something, I can never remember the full name, sorry!), and fellow budding authoratrix Amber June tagged* me in this neat little interview for human-types with texty works-in-progress.

The rules state that I am meant to say something about the process and my tagger, and then answer the following questions. I am also supposed to tag five people in turn. Unfortunately, I have been working very hard to conform to the scraggly-haired, scatter-brained, moony-eyed weirdo that REAL authors are supposed to be. What I'm trying to say is that I don't know any other authors or writers. Or rather, those I do run in the same circle as dear Amber June and I. So they've already been tagged. Plus, I waited until the day before my blog was due to actually ask anyone. They haven't responded yet. 

So, I'm going to be THAT gal and just tag anyone who reads this and wants to do it themselves :) I'll gladly add your names and links to your pages if you want to jump on the wagon. Just mention that you're doing it in the comments and I'll edit this beauty of a blog to include you.


Ze Questions:

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?
Lorelei, Once.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Alright, so. Once upon a time, I wrote a book. It was an awesome book full of detectives, sorcery, stolen artifacts, kidnapping, and face-to-knee-style violence. I loved this book. I still love this book. And absolutely no one in the publishing world wanted to touch it.
After the initial heartbreak, I found myself floundering for new ideas. I couldn't keep throwing my head against that particular wall, but I'd poured so much of myself into that one work that I was hesitant to offer more than a passing glance to something else. I decided I needed to hang up novel writing for a while, and perhaps play around with short stories, just to get the feel of ink back under my fingers.
But again, I couldn't latch onto an idea. A friend at work (cool guy; sexy writer's brain) suggested I work with some personal material. He mentioned stories I'd told him from my past: about my brother and I, running wild through the woods in West Virginia sans care, sans shoes, sans parental control. It was the happiest time in my life; full of sunshine and frightened toads and hidden turtles and more than a few near-death experiences.
So I did what he suggested, and considered those images. However...whether due to my grim mental state at the time, or simply because my Tim Burton-loving side was catching the light of the moon, the images morphed into something a little darker. I imagined the kids as pale-skinned, sneaky little sprites that lured people deep into the trees. I wondered where the kids might be taking these poor souls, and imagined a perfectly round pool that delved into the earth out of nowhere, filled with water slick and dark like an oil spill. And when the tricked humans crawled out of the pool, they were smaller. Paler. With wicked grins and yellow eyes and a penchant for luring strangers back to the pool...
Things started rolling after that.   
What genre does your book fall under?
Romantic comedy! Lawl. It's a YA Fantasy Horror. Though I suppose there is some romance, and a chuckle here and there.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I have spent entirely too much time thinking about this, and when Joss Whedon finally gives in and buys the rights to this film, I'll have the cast list pretty much all ready for him! I realize that, unless you've actually read any of the book, this section doesn't matter to you. But for those of you who have, here's who I have mostly pegged:
(NOTE: I was going to have pretty pictures of the cast, but at the risk of bringing down the wrath of the internet with pics I don't own, I'll just list names with links to their IMDB pages).
Cinder, our leading lady/repentant sirenSaoirse Ronan
Prince Aden: Jamie Campbell Bower
Margaret: Anna Popplewell
Ysbail: Summer Glau
Rhosyn: Jayne Wisener
Dakir: Jamie Dornan
Amel: Liv Tyler

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A water spirit grows weary of drowning humans, and is offered a challenge: if she can guide a group of them safely out of her haunted forest home, her own humanity will be returned to her.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm gunning for the representation route, but my crystal ball is too far away for a proper reading, and I'm far too lazy to get up and grab it. Which means I could never successfully self-publish anything, soooo...

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Technically I DO have a first draft done, but I don't consider the manuscript finished. All the same, I started writing this monster in April (of this year). It feels like it's been much longer, but all things considered, this has come along very nicely and very quickly (my first book was nearly a three-year project, which I realize is still rather fast for a dayjobbing, sometimes-school-taking author, and I really cannot bemoan the time my craft requires. Did you know Tolkien worked on his world for...like...all of the time I've been alive?).
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I know I should have an answer ready for this...but most Fantasy Horror books in the YA section are very heavily focused on romance. Mine is not so much focused on kisses. In fact...I don't think there's been a single proper kiss so far, not even between the awkwardly married couple, and we're nearly 300 pages in. So I'm not sure the comparison would stand.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The entire reason the main character is a reformed-ish water sprite is Florence + the Machine's What the Water Gave Me, which my First Wife (and real-life-plagiarization-victim inspiration for one of the most popular characters, thank you very much) directed me to, and which led me into the deep, wonderful cave of wonders that is all of Florence + the Machine's work. Some of the moments and details in the story are direct, obvious tributes to the band and their many wonderful songs. 'Girl With One Eye,' for example. Again, if you've read it, I don't have to explain this one.
Many musicians have had a heavy hand in the formation of this book, though. Ashley MacIsaac's 'Wingstock' gave me the idea for the Meridian Archers, and Flogging Molly's music helped form them into what they are now: easily the most popular characters in the book.
But back to that First Wife: my best friend, whose name I won't list just in case I end up getting sued by IMDB or something, has been a huge inspiration to me. She has directed me to awesome music, supported me from the moment I was floundering for new ideas and beyond, and just been the sort of epic hand-holder that the casual neurotic needs to get through something like writing a book with no solid evidence that it will ever go anywhere. That's why she's First Wife. And her stories about her Irish heritage were definitely straight-up stolen and tossed onto, as I said, one of the commonly favorite characters, Kelia, of the Clan McGuire.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
At its heart, this is a story about choices. How they really can't be made by anyone but the individual, even if they effect the whole party. Accepting that and rolling with those punches has been the hardest thing I've ever had to learn. And that little 'The More You Know' nugget is wrapped up in a tale with ghosts, spirits, leather-clad rebellion leaders, tragedy, comedy, and, FINE, maybe one kiss.

*follow-up joke: textually transmitted disease.