The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, wherein writers talk about their current Work in Progress (WIP), has apparently been going strong for 26 weeks, and so many writers have taken part, that I had a hard time finding the originator of the idea… I could have found it, eventually, but then, that would have me spending way too much time on Google, and not enough writing. I’ve been guilty of that before. Guilty of that often. Guilty. Most of the time. Did I mention I’m legally changing my middle name to Google? But this NBT Blog Hop thing has taken root in cyberspace and it’s spreading. It’s like an Internet fungus. Okay, that was too pejorative to say about a vocation I love. Kudzu? No…let’s see….how about it’s blossoming like a well-tended garden?
So wherever it came from, it found its way to me, via my favorite novelist, Kate Genet, who tagged me to participate. Now, I must say, if I’m going to get tagged, there’s no one I’d rather be TAGGED BY than Kate Genet. (I speak with appreciable credibility because she is my soon-to-be-wife, and did tag me just the other night, or did I tag her?
Mmm…I digress. In the most delicious way…).
So I’m it, and here it goes….
What is the working title of your book?
Also Known as Syzygy. It was just “Syzygy” but then the book intertwines with my series (AKA Investigations), and now I’m thinking I might have to use the AKA tag. I have mentioned this book in one of my most recent posts, Prequels, Sequels, & Spinoffs
Where did the idea for the book come from?
It sprang from the first draft pages of my AKA Investigations Series, Book 3. I was getting so bogged down in the plot machinations, filling my dry erase board and desk pad and index cards with scribbles and bubbles and off-shoot ideas….and suddenly my main characters had been pushed into the background, and the secondary and tertiary characters were taking over the story. So in a fit of brilliance (which looks very much like a Grand Mal seizure, and may or may not have come from Kate–though she doesn’t have seizures when she has ideas) I figured out that maybe I was trying to write two different books–maybe this other one wanted to be written first.
But because of this intertwining with the main characters of my AKA series, I was dealing with a whole new species–at least for me. Syzygy is like a spinoff-prequel, as the events in it happen parallel to the other story of my main characters, with only a slight difference in timeline. But the book was unique also in that it wasn’t just a sequel or a spinoff, but it was an alternate point of view, in the sense of not being the usual First Person or Third Person Omniscient, but Third Person Limited, and also in the sense that details about the events behind the scenes, going on with the other characters, during the same storyline. I found the concept fiercely intriguing.
What genre does the book fall under?
I always have trouble with this because my books cross so many genres, and I like the mix of them in one book. I’ve never been big on formulas. I want the story to tell itself without the restriction of a literary box. But, of course, we have to choose a category when we publish, and so I would call it Mainstream-Lesbian-PsychologicalSuspense-Mystery-Adventure——-drat… It’s really more about bad people being bad, and women being people, not women being lesbians. Although there are lesbians as main characters. Did you get that?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
In this current one, I don’t have that many in mind…I see Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres from Grey’s Anatomy) in the role of Detective Ginger Grant. For the others, I have pictures in my Pinterest account for some of them, but they are just models (usually for hairstyle mags) that have a sort of look I imagine. I have to do this because I have trouble holding images of them in my head. That’s a weird visual cortex sort of thing for me, so I collect images of my characters and sometimes the other “props” and locations in my books.
What is the one line synopsis of your book?
On December 3, 2012, Saturn, Venus & Mercury will align. On that same night, three women align to see that justice is done.
What is the long version of the synopsis?
(not a final version, but just because you asked)
Ponzi Bonnet thought she had found the perfect husband. A psychologist could certainly understand her damage. But her suspicion of his infidelity turns out to be something far worse. Far more sinister. And he had to be stopped.
Kenda Harper, an actress and Ponzi’s best friend, will do anything to help. Even if it means endangering her own life and denying the yearning in her heart.
Anna Dew, an artist and HSP, could not tell her friend Ponzi why she pulled away, but when she learns that her decision only enabled bad men to do bad things, she is compelled to make it right.
Three women, finding strength amid their weaknesses, embarking on a common journey into darkness, and the labyrinths of selfhood, match wits with the men who would inflict harm on other women, and they won’t give up until justice is done.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m an Indie Author and Publisher so, self-published. I prefer to have creative control over everything. I turned down two book contracts because they would not have done any more for me than I can do for myself, and I make about 80% of the profits, whereas with a publisher, I would have gotten 15%. And to make sure the cover doesn’t end up looking like some dime-store Harlequin from the 50′s (as I’ve noticed is the case with many lesbian presses).
And I don’t like someone telling me what I can and cannot write. I write what I want to write, what I feel needs to be written; this way, I also don’t have deadlines, so this allows me the freedom I prefer. Even if that freedom includes lounging in bed too long with Kate.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I had been trying to write Book 3 of AKA series for the last year or so, but life got in the way. I was experiencing a dry spell in my creativity for the first time in my career. Too much was happening to me, and somehow I lost track of my muse. I found her again (her name is Kate Genet, as mentioned above). Once I figured out that the book I was working on was really two books, I think it took about two and a half months, writing intermittently. My production always speeds up when I get about three-quarters of it done–on those days I might write 3000 to 7000 words. So the first draft is done now, and I will do the rewrites and corrections when my darling Kate finishes reading it and hands over her notes.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This book was not a conscious decision…I didn’t say, oh, I want to write about yadda-yadda…the characters began to take over and seemed to have a bigger story to tell than what I was giving them, so I listened to that. As I swam deeper into it, I recognized certain motifs and themes which were unintentional in a conscious sense, but there were patterns there, and I realized it was a story that needed to be told; there are things happening behind the scenes that the general public might have no inkling of. Dark things. Things that make the rest of us appreciate what we have.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
This book is a departure for me–appropriate for a spinoff, eh? ;^) The style and tone is even different than my usual fare–it’s darker, for one thing. I most often mix humor and drama to create “dramedy” when I write a story. I prefer that combination. But this one did not lend itself to much humor and I had to intentionally go back and add some levity by creating some other characters. It worked out well, because those characters turned out to be important to the plot. But Syzygy is written in Third Person Limited, from various Points of View. My books are generally either First Person Limited or Third Person Omniscient Narrator. Thus, in this book I was taxed with the need to write from the mind of characters I neither liked nor fully understood. I had to write their thoughts, when those thoughts were abhorrent to me. I had to imagine what their motivations were, and how they would respond to certain situations, when I could not even fathom being in that situation in the first place. I also found that tense and point of view was a real beast for me to keep control of. I made some very amateur mistakes and am thankful for the proofing and beta reading Kate has been doing for me…she has spotted many things I missed, and forced me out of my comfort zone.
Now, when I write the Book 3 (or maybe it will be 3.5? or 4?) I will have to be mindful that everything that happens there has to match the timeline and most of the details in Syzygy, but just shifted into the POV of the other characters. That’s going to be a challenge. This whole book was a huge challenge, but I never want to be accused of writing the same story over and over, so I’m perfectly content to let characters and stories surprise me.
That’s where most of the joy is, anyway.