The Next Big Thing Interview

» Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

 

I’m delighted to be part of The Next Big Thing, a sort of tag game for writers that’s leaping from blog to blog.  Each tagged writer talks about the next big thing he/she is working on, then tags five other writers who answer the interview questions, and so on.  It’s an entertaining way for readers to find out about writers’ works-in-progress.

I’ve been tagged by Shari Lapeña, author of Things Go Flying and Happiness Economics. Visit her blog to find out about her work-in-progress.

And now here’s the scoop on my upcoming book:

What is your working title of your book?

The Dove in Bathurst Station

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A few things grabbed my attention at about the same time, and, together, they got this book started.  Here are the events:

  • After a weekend in Northern Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park, during which I encountered no wildlife except for crows, I saw a mink scamper across the breakwall of the Toronto Island Airport.  Not before, and not since, have I spotted a mink in the wild. Except that the mink wasn’t really in the wild—it was in a downtown airport at the edge of a huge metropolis.  The sighting seemed significant, although I didn’t know why.
  • I came across an article about Ebay listings for items that had the face of Jesus (whatever that looks like) on them.  The items included grilled cheese, a potato, and a dental x-ray.  I wondered who would buy these things, and why.
  • A friend was getting into urban spelunking—exploring Toronto’s subway tunnels and drainpipes.  I felt a strange attraction to these urban subspaces and started learning everything I could about their geography and history.

What genre does your book fall under?

The book is realistic literary fiction.

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

I’d like to hear what my readers think about this after they’ve read the book.  The main character—a thirty-year-old floundering guidance counsellor—would need an actress who can appear sweet, vulnerable, not too in touch with herself, but likeable.  The husband should be easy to cast, as good looks and charm are his main attractions.  The novel contains a back story about a high school boyfriend.  He is melancholy, complex, and a bit opaque.  I look forward to hearing readers’ ideas!  (The film version will also require a cooperative mink and a well-trained pigeon.)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Set in Toronto’s west-end neighbourhoods, subway tunnels and drainpipes, The Dove in Bathurst Station is the story of a young woman’s quest to find clarity and direction in the aftermath of teenage suicide.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The book will be published by Brindle & Glass in September 2013

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

Somewhere between two and three years.  I tend to polish my work as I go, so the various drafts are not entirely separate from each other.  I rewrote some sections five or six or sixteen times; other sections needed just minor tweaks in the revision process.

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

I’ll leave comparisons to readers and critics, but I think there are echoes of A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver, not to mention the Parable of the Prodigal Son, mythological tales about visits to the underworld, and my favourite book from childhood, Harriet the Spy.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

  • Many years ago, a student of mine committed suicide.  She was sixteen years old.  I have never forgotten her.
  • I was also inspired by the writings of Dame Julian of Norwich and by T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets.
  • Finally, a painting by Jane Colden caught my attention a few years ago.  Entitled You Are Here, it features two serene-looking angels who don’t appear to be giving any direction.  But when you look closely, you see that the bottom of one angel’s robe has road maps on it, and the other angel’s robe is made of dress pattern pieces with instructions of where to cut and where to stitch.

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

The book deals with some big questions, such as, when you collide with tragedy or evil in your life—the kind of horror that leaves you battered and spinning—how do you go on?  And what if you are culpable?  How do you move forward?

Also, as you probably have already guessed, my character becomes an urban spelunker, and some of the story is set underground in Toronto.

And now I’m tagging five fabulous writers, so you can visit them and learn about their work:

Andrew Borkowski

Hugh Cook

Philippa Dowding

Janice MacDonald

Richard Scarsbrook

Message for tagged authors:

 

Rules of the Next Big Thing

  • Use this same 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.

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
  • Be sure to line up your five people in advance.