The Next Big Thing

The holidays are upon us!! After months of promoting and traveling for The River Witch, I’m trying to settle down for a long winter’s nap. But honestly, I don’t nap well. I’m a busy bee. And I’m in the middle of serious work on a second novel that I have refused to talk about except to a select few lucky (poor fool) souls.

Alas, a couple of friends – Katherine Scott Crawford, whose historical novel Keowee Valley is just fabulous! And Jolina Petersheim, whose debut novel The Outcast, a retelling of The Scarlet Letter, will release in June 2013 – asked me to participate in this chain blog post going around and only because I love them and owe them endless favors, did I agree to talk a smidge (and I mean a really serious little smidge) about my current project. I hate to talk about anything I’m writing until I’ve finished and have a clear picture of the book. Somehow, it just confuses me or ends up sounding all sorts of spacey and delusional. So, I’m warning you. Expect my answers to these questions to make your head hurt and cause you to question your sanity. But if we must…then, without further ado…I open a vein for you.

 

What is your working title of your book?

I’ve tried out several that I don’t like. For now, the book is untitled. I usually discover the title during the revision process.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

Years ago, I came across a bit of obscure history involving the fate of a missing woman. I don’t want to reveal too much about it, but the discoveries were eventually declared a hoax. I was obsessed with the idea that if any part of the story that evolved was true and had been abandoned as a fraud, a woman’s voice was silenced not once, but twice. History betrayed her. If anyone had a right to haunt, it was her. I wanted to tell her story – not only hers, but also the story of a man who helped to record her life and death and was then lost to history right alongside her. I thought what it would be like to be her descendant and discover such a rich and bitter legacy. I felt compelled to honor that kind of courage and love, and also to explore what it means to be lost, what of our identity comes through inheritance and what comes of choice. And most importantly, what element of the human experience is eternal – in the case of a soul or a story. It has taken a long time to find the right way to tell this tale. A few years ago I heard a song at a concert that really brought home the themes for me and I’ve been writing and revising ever since.
What genre does your book fall under?

It is a magical realist tale.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I never see actors when I’m writing, but I see pieces of different faces or personalities. This novel has a large cast but for the two main characters, I might cast Sam Worthington because I believe he could be a stone mason and he has a soulful quality to him. And Emma Stone because she’s approachable and smart and could knock my teeth down my throat, if need be.


 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I’m just going to laugh a little about this question and move along. Trust me. It’s a bad idea. And besides, you have to leave a little mystery, ya’ll.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This novel is being represented by Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency. I am STILL reeling over this!! (Should we ever meet, you can kiss my ring.)
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still writing it after two years. I hope to have this draft completed and revised by spring of 2013, then turned into my agent where the REAL work begins.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think this book will stand alone and I really dislike comparing any project to another. But there might be similarities to a work like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. One of the main characters is a literal “eternal soul” who is caught in a kind of reincarnation cycle that establishes him in the lives of each generation of a particular family. He can perceive memories of loss that haunt people, and he has a gift for inspiring hope.

It might also be compared to The Time Traveler’s Wife because of the complications that crop up in this kind of love story.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think I already answered this, but mostly I’d say it was inspired by the idea of being lost, how we define loss. The question I wanted to address was really whether experiencing loss or being lost is a condition with a concrete or scientific explanation, a mystical or existential reason, or is it purely all about perception?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The novel is set against the backdrop of north Georgia at the end of WWII, but the story extends to the colonization of America and into current day, following the female heirs of a family matriarch and a soul who is bound to them. It focuses on the last living heir in 1944 and her relationship with the mystical man tangled in her family legend, but it explores war, addiction, anti-Semitism, alchemy, the women’s movement, faith, dreams and the endless boundaries of love.

Blah, blah, blah. You’ll just have to wait and see, folks. I’m telling you when I start talking about my work it’s like, all ballerinas and alligators and hoo doo and spiritual music and pretty soon your eyes just glaze over. This one is a long way from finished, but I’ll hope you’ll hang in there with me. You’ll have to read it to believe it! xo

Now…

Please meet these fabulous writers and writer-friends of mine, find out what they’re up to:

Michael Morris author of A PLACE CALLED WIREGRASS, SLOW WAY HOME and MAN IN THE BLUE MOON.

Erika Marks author of LITTLE GALE GUMBO and THE MERMAID COLLECTOR.

Beth Duke author of DELANEY’S PEOPLE and DON’T SHOOT YOUR MULE.

Julie Cantrell author of INTO THE FREE.

Lori Nelson Spielman, author of THE LIFE LIST. The expected publication date is July 30, 2013.

Message for tagged authors:
Rules of the Next Big Thing

***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them. Be sure to line up your five people in advance. (I’ve seen these posts run with only three or four tagged writers, so no pressure.)

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

December 3, 2012 - 10:05 pm

Katherine Scott Crawford - Oh, thanks for doing this, Kim! I, too, normally shy–okay, sprint–away from talking about my work-in-progress. But I figure the writing gods will give us a pass on this one, since it was for friends. Can’t wait to hear more (and to READ) this new work. Sounds like something I’d absolutely love. Thanks for sharing!

December 5, 2012 - 4:02 am

Melissa Crytzer Fry - This book sounds so rich, with such depth, Kim. Wow. I was tagged for The Next Big Thing a few times last month and am STILL waffling about whether to share… Hmm. Feeling a bit superstitious.

December 7, 2012 - 9:26 pm

Laura Kay - I’m so ready to read your next book!

December 19, 2012 - 7:49 pm

Cynthia Robertson - Oh my gosh, this sounds intriguing, Kim. A stonemason and a woman who can kick ass if need be? I’m hooked already.

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