Friday, November 23, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Hi everyone, before I announce the winner of Notes to My Future Husband, I was invited to participate in The Next Big Thing online event. It's a way for authors and bloggers to share news about what's coming up next for them, and for readers to find new, wonderful authors and bloggers! 

Susan Pohlman invited me into this mix, and she's a real-life friend of mine in Arizona, and has been a bit of a mentor to me as well. I just wish I got to spend more real-time hours with her. She wrote the amazing memoir, Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought our Family Home, and I shared more about her book on here a while back. Her blog, which continues to inspire can be found here: Susan Pohlman's Blog.
So, please check her out and find out about what she's got going on with her Next Big Thing as well. You can tell her I sent you!

 What is the working title of your book?

What She Left Us

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I got the initial idea when I read Gwendolen Gross' second book, The Orphan Sister because I kept imagining the dynamics of the three sisters in that novel. I have one sister, and she's my Irish twin (we're 11 months apart in age), and I guess something just kept bringing me back to wanting to write a novel about two sisters. I also loved Sarah Pekkanen's first novel, The Opposite of Me, which is about twin sisters who are completely different. Keep in mind that in both of these novels, the main characters are about twins. In my novel, What She Left Us, Jenna and Courtney are not twins - they are actually five years apart in age.

What genre does your book fall under?
I had a different answer here (which is below) but now that I've heard of the term "New Adult" I might classify it as that. Wiki defines it as: New-adult Fiction or post-adolescent literature is a recent category of fiction for young adults first proposed by St. Martin's Press in 2009. St. Martin’s Press editors wanted to address the coming-of-age that also happens in a young person’s twenties. They wanted to consider stories about young adults who were legally adults, but who were still finding their way in building a life and figuring out what it means to be an adult. 

My characters are between the ages of 19 and 26. I originally wrote that the book is definitely women's fiction with a side of chick-lit, but not in the gotta-go-shopping, gotta-get a boyfriend-or-I'll-die kind of way. More like, it's geared to a younger crowd. The age of the characters are mid-twenties so it might appeal to women who enjoy chick lit.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Two sisters who are at risk of having the disease that killed their mom navigate their way through new and old relationships only then to discover a life-changing secret.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I recently decided my agent was causing me more stress than good and I parted with her on good terms. I've decided to take this book to Kindle Direct Publishing, and then to launch a second one (unrelated) six months later. The third, depending on how the first two go, will come out a year later.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft was very quick for me to write -- it took around seven to nine months for the first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
As mentioned earlier, it's a sister relationship book, and I was inspired by Gwendolen Gross' The Orphan Sister, and also Sarah Pekkanen's The Opposite of Me. I hope readers of those books would enjoy What She Left Us. Also, Jennifer Weiner's In Her Shoes comes to mind as it could be somewhat similar, but a reader does not have to have a sister to understand the themes in this book, which include the mother-daughter relationship as well as some other surprises.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Part of the book deals with a relatively unknown blood disease. I have been a big proponent of blood donation. You will see that in this book. So along with the inspiration from when I read the above books and knowing I wanted to write a book with sister characters, I wanted to also share a little bit about the importance of donating blood. There's not a lot in the story, but it's important for people to donate blood.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
When I first wrote it, I was really skeptical about the ending. I had a few people read it, and I got their reactions. Judging from their thoughts, I let it sit for a long time. I decided something different had to happen in the end, so the ending you will read is NOT the original ending. I didn't want to cheat the reader, and I wanted to be true to the characters. I think when I wrote the first ending, I cheated the reader AND the characters. So it sat for a long time. After giving it much thought and a reread, I now feel that I have done it justice, and really, the characters, who are like real people to me, are happy with how their lives have turned out. I really had to think long and hard about it. But I didn't want to just tie it up neatly in a bow.

And now I'd like to share a couple more friends with you so you can learn about what their Next Big Things are…

Check out Jess Riley, who is one of my very BauthorFFs in life and online! She wrote Driving Sideways and has a new one out just in time for the holidays that you will love. I'll also be sharing more about ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE  here in a couple of weeks. Find out more about Jess and her books by popping over there too!

And Sara Dobie  -- she's an AZ pal of mine who's a very talented writer who has some great things going on. She's just finished a novel called Life without Harry. You'll love her style of writing and will definitely want to know more about Sara -- she is one to watch!

And now, for the winner of Notes to My Future Husband, and I have to say, the comments on this one were some of the absolute FUNNIEST ones I've ever read. And I was reading them as my own husband was trying to fix the cabinets (NOT TRYING TO BE FUNNY for those of you who know the 'fix the shelves' sex joke in our life!)… he was literally trying to fix kitchen cabinets that are FALLING off the wall and I just kept my EFFING mouth shut the whole time, and you know what, finally, ON HIS OWN, he admitted defeat! I secretly smiled to myself. But why? I have no idea because we're not going to pay to get them fixed ever. I'm going to have to live with EFFING BROKEN KITCHEN SHELVES FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!

Thank you for the laughs about your wonderful fault-full hubbies, boyfriends, exes, etc… I loved them all! And now the winner of Notes to my Future Husband is… randomly chosen…

Please email me at your full name and address and I'll mail out your book!

Thanks everyone and more books coming to you next week!

Thanks and happy weekend!


Mary Jo Burke said...

Loved the Cell Phone Lot! Looking forward to What She Left Us!

Good luck,

Mary Jo

Stephanie said...

Thank you Mary Jo!

Ally said...