This blog post is part of the NEXT BIG THING meme. No, not Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing — I know a number of former contestants on that (Hollywood Ending, Kicking Daisies, Matt Johnson, Palaye Royale (back when they were “Kropp Circle”)), but that’s a music competition, and this NBT is about writing. The idea here is to talk about a book you’re working on, to generate interest in it and perhaps jumpstart your creativity a bit. I was tagged to be a part of this by my friend Shay Darrach, who in turn was tagged by our friend Sabrina Vourvoulias, and our friend Kay Holt has taken part as well. Our other friend Day al Mohamed was also tagged by Shay, and when she posts her installment, I’ll add the link to this. They are all wonderful writers who regularly blow my mind, so check their blogs out for what they’re working on. And then scroll down the bottom to see who I’m going to tag (and if/when they post their responses, I’ll link to those from here as well).
But first, my responses to the 10 questions asked of every Next Big Thing participant:
1.What is the working title of your next book?
THE MANY TORTURES OF ANTHONY CARDNO
2.Where did the idea come from for the book?
Last year, Brian White ran Kickstarters for each individual issue of FIRESIDE magazine. Among the “perks” for backing was the chance to be tuckerized into an author’s story as one of the main characters – not just a one line mention, but an actual part of the story. I chose this option for all three issues, and ended up in stories by Christie Yant, Damien Walters Grintalis and Mary Robinette Kowal. In the fall of 2012, Brian was teasing me and said that if I backed enough projects, we could put together a whole anthology of such stories. I thought the idea was so good that I asked a bunch of other authors if they’d be willing to play along and donate their stories so that the proceeds from the book could be donated to the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, in honor of author Jay Lake. This was before Jay officially got his terminal diagnosis, of course.
3.What genre does your book fall under?
Short Stories. Haha. That may seem like a cop-out answer, but the stories in the book are covering almost every genre – time-travel, horror, crime, hard sf, fantasy, even “literary fiction.”
4.What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh man. That would depend on the story.
In my own contribution, “I’m” a teenager, and I’d have to choose Austin MacDonald, whose most recent credit is as a teen serial killer on the episode of HANNIBAL that NBC famously pulled in the wake of the Boston bombings, as “me” and Brandon Tyler Russell (from the movie SMITTY) as the other main character. In other stories? I see John Krasinski as the “me” in Damien Walters’ Grintalis’ story (as a husband who is largely clueless about what his wife is going through), and Neil Patrick Harris as the “me” in Christie Yant’s (a drunk in a “dry” town in the California of the late 1800s). I think Mary Robinette Kowal’s story would call for someone a bit more pompous, John Laroquette, maybe (an egotistical actor partaking in an “extreme dining” adventure), while Sabrina Vourvoulias’ version of me conjures up images of Robert Carlyle (a US government operative in Central America who has seen things one shouldn’t see). In Jay Lake’s story of a young man drawn back to the ocean he was forced to leave as a child, I picture Freddie Highmore. In Joseph Pittman’s latest Todd Gleason crime story, Stephen Fry would be perfect. I could go on.
5.What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
To paraphrase Parke Godwin: “Who you are depends on who’s telling your tale, and boy do these authors have tales to tell about me.”
6.Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published in e-book format only so that we can get the largest number of stories into the book. I’d love to be able to do a run in print, but that’s going to be expensive (unless some lovely publisher reading this would like to donate a small print run as a collector’s item…). I currently have folks donating their time to do the e-book formatting and such to help me out.
7.How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Technically, it’s been over a year since Christie’s story appeared in Fireside #1, but really the idea came into focus in November of 2012 and I anticipate offering the book for sale in September of 2013, so about a year.
8.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m not really sure. There’s been a push lately, with anthologies like Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrontonio’s STORIES and magazines like Fireside, to move away from “genre” boundaries and just publish good stories across the spectrum. This anthology falls in line with that goal.
9.Who or what inspired you to write this book?
If I was going to do this, it wasn’t going to be a self-aggrandizing attempt to make money for myself. I knew immediately the proceeds would go to cancer research, in honor of not only Jay Lake, but so many other friends and relatives who are battling or have been lost to cancer: my friends Karen Jenkins, Kristin Meyer, and M. Denise Barnoski, all taken too soon. My cousins Chrissy and Jimmy Hajkowski and my almost-sister Michelle Moklebust, amazing fighters. And of course my parents and maternal grandparents, all lost to one form of cancer or another. Folks like Jay and my cousins inspire me with their willingness to share the details of their fight, even the bad times, and how they do their damnedest to not let cancer rule them.
10.What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Hopefully, it’s the variety of authors involved that will bring people in, as well as the good cause. Jay Lake, Mary Robinette Kowal, Christie Yant, Damien Walters Grintalis, David Lee Summers, Sabrina Vourvoulias, Joseph Pittman and Kaaron Warren are the most well-known among the authors who have already sent stories, as well as songwriters Barry Mangione (of The Dalliance and Apply The Graft) and Frank Dixon. It occurs to me that with Kaaron and Frank in the mix, we’ve got authors from two different continents involved, another nice selling point.
I don’t typically do the “I tagged you, so you HAVE to play” thing. However, there are a few authors I hope will play along. I’m not giving them specific dates to post, either.
1. Dennis Miller, author of ONE WOMAN’S VENGEANCE, a wonderful Western with a female protagonist who, yes, starts out as a victim but who does not allow the label of “victim” to become her identity. Dennis’ book is brutal and beautiful at the same time.
2. Sidney Bristol, author of UNDER HIS SKIN and other erotica. Sidney is one of the “Crazy Writer Ladies of DFW” who I adore, and her work is so completely different from mine and Dennis’ that I cannot resist tagging her.
3. Bryan Thomas Schmidt, author of THE DAVI RHII SAGA, a great space opera based on the story of Moses. Again, someone completely different in style and tone from the preceeding two authors.
I hope all three authors will play along!