I wish to thank Joleene Naylor for tagging me for “The Next Big Thing” blog hop. I am excited about participating because, well, frankly, the competition is suffocating and thick, and I need the exposure. Thanks to self-publishing, a cornucopia chock full of aggressive and talented writers is spilling forth everywhere. For example, in a writing contest last month, my previous novel, Man Cave, lost to little 3-year-old Wu Chang's book of finger-paintings. What can I say? Her core color selections and final blends were magnificent, and the accompanying text was both spectacular in construction and fabulous in presentation.
Here are my answers to the ten interview questions from "The Next Big Thing":
Q: What is the working title of your book?
Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?
A: Many would expect the inspiration sprang from a drunken stupor, but that wasn't the case this time. One Sunday afternoon, my children and I were strolling through a playground when I noticed a little girl sitting sad and alone on a swing. I felt so sorry for her; the dress she was wearing was tattered and stained, her hair was a tangled mess, and she wasn't wearing a coat or shoes. Upon my approach, in a most pitiful voice, she asked me if I'd push her in the swing. Concerned, I scanned the park for her parents. That's when the little girl told me her mother used to push her before she died. After I gently pushed her in the swing for a while, my children played with her the rest of the afternoon. Curious, we stopped by that park almost every day for a couple of weeks after, but never saw the little girl again. She became the inspiration for My Slice of Heaven because I believe that, somehow, the little girl will carve out a happy and content life for herself, just as my protagonist did.
Q: What genre does your book fall under?
A: Vampire Sci-Fi, of course … oh yeah, and Regency Romance, too. That's what sells books, right? Seriously, I'd classify it as a contemporary romantic drama with a splash of inspiration. I'm a sucker for sappy romantic contemporary dramas, so naturally, many of my titles fit in this genre. For some reason that escapes me, readers who are downloading free copies of the WIP of My Slice of Heaven are also downloading free erotica. My novel is not erotica, folks. Not certain how you stumbled across my novel while searching for erotica, but I'll take exposures any way I can get them. Thank you!
Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
A: I envision Claire, the protagonist, being played by whoever the lead actress is in the latest smarmy Broadway incarnation of Annie. Claire's aunt Rosa might be Wanda Sykes or someone with a similar edge to her. Frankie, Claire's go-to-guy, can be no other than my childhood best friend, a happy-go-lucky boy named (naturally) Frankie. He was the nicest, friendliest kid in spite of having a screwed up home life and being racked by illnesses. The load my bubbly little friend had to bear, only to succumb to his disease at the age of eleven, made me appreciate every crumb of life. I wish I knew of an actor who could convincingly express Frankie's zeal.
Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A: Little Claire is pathetically alone until she befriends Frankie, a sickly boy who shows Claire how a loving bond can foster a long and fulfilling life.
Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
A: I'm writing My Slice of Heaven during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2012. There are benefits for participating in NaNoWriMo: Smashwords.com promotes NaNoWriMo titles, and Amazon's CreateSpace team offer a free paperback proof copy for writers who meet or exceed 50,000 words in November. So, My Slice of Heaven will be self-published in Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords.com for ebook formats and in CreateSpace for the paperback version.
Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A: The first draft of My Slice of Heaven is well underway. For the last 3 NaNoWriMos, I completed a first-draft manuscript for each in a month. I believe the first draft of My Slice of Heaven will follow suit.
Q: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A: Barney Gets His Smarmy Purple Ass Beat is probably the closest match. Then I'd say Twilight, Fifty Shades of Gray, witty commentary on The Golf Channel, and the menu at Pizza Hut nicely round out the genre. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting My Slice of Heaven to be a homerun, but it has the moxie to be this generation's Matrix, if by Matrix, you mean a sweet love story about a gentle couple as they meander through life.
Q: Who or What inspired you to write this book?
A: As I stated earlier, a childhood friend and a little girl at a playground were my inspirations. Additionally, a few years ago, I sat on a park bench in Phoenix, AZ next to a woman and her infant who, just the night before, became homeless. The terrified and exhausted woman's face and body language conveyed a lonely hopelessness that haunts me to this day. I thank God my family has never had to endure this situation. While writing My Slice of Heaven, I drew from the emotions that scared and very young mother shared with me.
Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
A: My Slice of Heaven is meant to be a tearjerker; however, I want to convey real-life magic, those events we all face that are inspirational even though blissfully normal.
Here are the authors I tagged for the November 21 blog hop. Please check out their works.