The Next Big Thing

There’s this great meme floating around the interwebs in which authors answer pre-existing questions about their next project then tag other authors to do the same. I was tagged by Dell Smith (Thanks, Dell!) and, after my own answers, will tag 3 more wonderful writers.

And here are my responses to the questions. . .

What is the working title of your book? Uh-oh. This one is tough. I am very bad with titles. And I learned with my first book that working titles don’t work. So I have not even given this book one.  Well, I have given it a few. But none will survive so for now it’s called MY NOVEL.

Where did the idea come from for the book? To be honest, I think I am still working through the movie Camelot which had an absurd and worrisome impact on me as a child. There’s this awful (awful!!) moment at the end when Guinevere realizes that she has really gone and done it this time and Arthur will not, cannot, forgive her. And when I was a kid this scene imprinted itself on me – just that idea of having done irrevocable damage and having no way to fix it. And so, nearly half a century later, this book was born. . .

What genre does your book fall under? It’s a novel and I guess it’s “literary fiction” though I am ever more suspect of these genre divisions. It’s fiction for sure though and I hope it’s literary.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I think that my narrator, who is also the central character, should be played by Janeane Garafolo. I think she would kick the role’s ass. And of course I want Emma Thompson to play the British neighbor, because I’d want her in any movie. As for the husband. . . I don’t know. I have lost track of time when to comes to male actors. I have no idea how old they all are. I mean, it should be Gregory Peck, circa 1965, but that’s probably not happening. . . I suppose George Clooney is the closest thing? I guess I would settle for him. (Ha!)

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book? A painter and her writer husband have moved to the country to escape the temptations and complexities of life with others, but after three years there, their first neighbor moves in, spoiling their shared solitude and kicking off a series of events that shake their marriage and redefine the narrator’s sense of herself.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Thirteen months of writing preceded by any number of years of getting it wrong and not realizing what I should be writing. Who knows how long the next draft will take. . .

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Oh, I don’t know. In that it’s a very close examination of a marriage I have thought a lot about Stegner’s Crossing to Safety. And in that it is, as my agent put it, a “small canvas book” I think often of Paula Fox. Truly though this question makes me uncomfortable. These are writers I may emulate, but to whom I would never compare myself.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? Beyond the Camelot answer above, I thought a lot about archetypes of stories and this is very much an “a stranger came to town” story. And I was really interested in the idea of violating a close, a supposed safe place, with the inevitable arrival of the world. So it’s Eden, of course. Paradise lost – or anyway, revealed not to be Paradise.

What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest? There’s sex and there’s violence. That’s what people like, right??

When and how will it be published? It will be published by Random House and the same overseas publishers who published my stories. I’m thinking next year? But that’s not settled yet. Exciting to think about, though!

And now I am going to tag three other writers, but I am ALSO going to be hosting some other folks here who don’t have their own sites, so stay tuned!!

Tag you’re it, Erin Stalcup & Bonnie West & Dan Torday . . .

Posted in updates.