The Next Big Thing

Today I’m participating in a “blog hop”—sort of like a chain letter for blogs, but without the guilt. I was tagged last week by Susan Cushman (thanks, Susan!), and at the end of this post I’ll tag several other authors, who will post on the same topic next week. Basically, this blog hop gives us all a chance to tell the world about what we’re working on without looking like we set up a blog just to tell the world about what we’re working on.

We’re asked to answer a series of questions, so here goes!

1: What is the working title of your book(s)?

The book I’ve recently finished writing is called The Ghostwriter.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? (I moved this question to a more logical place in line.)

Reclusive author Maeve O’Shaughnessy hires her identical twin, Margaret, to be her public persona, but when Maeve goes into a coma, Margaret is in danger of losing her own identity as well.  

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

Like most authors I know, I hate the idea of doing my own publicity and marketing. (I’ve found I don’t hate the reality quite as much as I hate the idea.) I’m an introvert, which makes it especially hard. But my sister is an extrovert. So I was thinking one day, wouldn’t it be great if I could get Anne to do all the marketing for me, because she would actually enjoy it. I played around with that idea and took it to its logical conclusion, and The Ghostwriter was born.

3: What genre does your book come under?

This is always a tough question for me. It’s sort of commercial literary or book club fiction, with a dash of magical realism.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

emma-thompson-2I don’t choose actors to represent my characters as I’m writing; I envision them as faces I’ve never seen. So this is a difficult question to answer, because no actors I know of look at all as I imagine my characters looking. But I could see Emma Thompson—with red hair and an American accent—in the dual role of Maeve/Margaret.

1251305899_hugh_grant_290x402The love interest, Edward, is trickier. If you can imagine a cross between Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant—Tom’s wholesomeness with Hugh’s boyish charm—you’d have something like Edward. Unfortunately they’re both a little old for the part (all these characters are in their mid-40s).

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

The Ghostwriter is represented by Diana Flegal of Hartline Literary. I just sent her the proposal this month, so no publisher action yet.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took about nine months to write the first draft, with three to six months of concept development and research before that. I read a lot of books about twins.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The book that first comes to mind—the book without which I doubt Ghostwriter would have been written—is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. But other than being about twins with concomitant identity issues, the two books have little in common.

I always have a hard time finding comparables for my novels. The people whose style mine resembles tend to write about different topics; hardly anyone writes about similar topics in a similar way, seemingly. Of the writers I know, I think Susan Cushman may be the most similar to me, but we’re both still awaiting publication.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I deal with the special connection between identical twins—twin language, telepathy, feeling each other’s pain, and so forth. It’s a fascinating set of phenomena with no satisfactory scientific or even spiritual explanation. I don’t attempt any explanation in the novel, but just sort of take the phenomena for granted, as a natural part of these twins’ lives.

That’s it for me. Next week on March 6, please visit the following blogs to read about these authors’ Next Big Things:

Charise Olson writes what she calls California fiction—”It’s like Southern fiction, but without all the humidity.” In other words, contemporary fiction with a humorous voice but with underlying serious spiritual and emotional issues.

Bev. Cooke writes a variety of genres for children and young adults. Her published works include Feral, told from the point of view of a feral cat; Royal Monastic, a biography of Princess Ileana of Romania; and Keeper of the Light, a fictionalized story about St. Macrina the Elder.

Katherine Grace Bond‘s latest book is a YA spiritual journey/romance, The Summer of No Regrets. She also teaches TeenWrite workshops where teens interact with each other as their characters.