The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Today over on the lovely and talented Gae Polisner's blog, she talks about her work in progress, In Sight of Stars as part of a little "blog hop" tour. Since anyone who read her entry was considered "tagged," I went ahead and tagged myself. Truth be told, I was looking for a bit of a diversion while I mulled over the next scene I have to write in my own work in progress, Strings. Appropriately, the questions below will allow me to go into a little more detail about that.

The Rules:

Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog

Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
Five might be a stretch, but here goes: Ian Healy, Becky Kyle, Megan Bostic, Bryan Hall, Armand Rosamilia 

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, the book itself is a major expansion on my short story, The Good Girls, which is currently available for download. And the idea for that story originated with a simple but strange pondering on the nature of being reclusive, and what sort of darkness that can lead to. Then I wondered what it would be like for a prostitute to visit Howard Hughes in his latter years. Of course, I need to clarify that the hermit depicted in the story and subsequent book book has nothing in common with Hughes, other than he has a lot of money.

What genre does your book fall under?
Dark crime or mainstream thriller/suspense. I really have that narrowed down, don't I? Where do they put James Patterson's books? Oh shit, I can't believe I just said that.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Nina: I would like to have a relative unknown for this role. Someone in her early 20s, who has guts and a bit of edge to her.
Ramon: Javier Bardem
The Madam: Marisa Tomei (with flaming red hair)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Three broken souls with entangled fates, all leading to the same dark place. (okay, that sucks, but I hate coming up with this stuff, and I'm not really in marketing/query mode yet)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Because I believe this book has some real commercial potential, I would like to see it on the wider market if possible, so my intent is to find an agent to represent it. That is, if my current publisher, Hobbes End, isn't interested in taking it on.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm still writing the first draft. I'm about 30K words into it at the moment, and I estimate it's about a third of the way done. I hope to have the first draft finished later this fall.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
That's tough. I don't like doing that too much, because I don't want to be caught actually comparing myself to  other authors. But to give an idea for the type of book I'm attempting to write, it's essentially a Millennium trilogy (Dragon Tattoo, etc) meets Stephen King's Gerald's Game or Delores Claiborne kind of thing. Something very dark and gritty, that speaks more to the souls of the characters than anything external happening to them. Each of the characters exist in an "underworld" setting. They live apart from the rest of us, though I think there is a constant longing among all of them to become something more, something better, only to be yanked back into the gutters and trenches of society. As much as they like to think they're in control, they really aren't. Hence the title of Strings. That probably sounds like a lot of books, so I'll leave it up to you to decide.

The similarities between this cover
and mine are a total coincidence, by the way
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I recently watched The Godfather on the big screen at a local theater, right around the time I had finished The Good Girls and was still trying to find out if there was any meat left to this story. The movie, I think, gave me the mental boost I needed. The character of Michael Corleone was a big inspiration, because here is a guy who had aspirations to move beyond "the family" to become something better. Even Vito wanted that for his son, but it wasn't to be. The circumstances wouldn't allow it, but I think there was also something dark in Michael that wouldn't allow it either. Therefore, we essentially watch a three hour descent of a young and rather naive man into the clutches of the mob and who, by the end, has made it completely his own. That inspired me a lot. Also, I love stories like Unforgiven, where Clint Eastwood's character tried in vain to become a better man, but inevitably was roped back into the life that seems almost meant for him, whether he wants it or not.

Ultimately, we all think we're in control, but we're all being driven by something. We all have a price. Maybe that's a cynical world view, but I think that's what makes us human.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The short story this work is based on is pretty grim and nihilistic, and that was my intent. I wanted, for a brief moment, to go to the darkest place imaginable. However, the book has a real soul. Its characters are all flawed and none of them are strictly "good," but then again, who is? My main intent here is to inspire people to have more than one specific feeling about a character. Like people, they are collages and mishmashes of deeds and experiences. They inspire a whole rainbow of emotions in us. Happy and sad. Sympathy and contempt. You want these characters to succeed on some level, but then again you don't. Those conflicting feelings create a very unsettling feeling in a reader. It makes them turn the story around in their minds long after they've finished it. It makes them question their sympathies and views. I love when a story does that to me, and I really want to exploit that.

Now Hop away to some really great writers

Check out all of the authors I have linked above. They're as varied as snowflakes, but all very talented. As for the one who inspired me to write this, you really should check out Gae Polisner's amazing book, The Pull of Gravity and keep watching out for her new work (I hear tell there will be a new book out soon, and I plan to buy it oh yes I do). This kid's going places.