The Next Big Thing

Author Christa Polkinhorn, tagged me to answer these questions about my work in progress. This author meme is called The Next Big Thing. Please read Christa’s responses about Emilia, her next big thing. At the end of  this post, you’ll see who I’ve tagged.

AIT_page_frontWhat is the working title of your next book? It’s titled An Illusion of Trust and is now available at Amazon in ebook and print.

Where did the idea come from for the book? It’s a sequel to my novel The Brevity of Roses. I ended that book with Jalal and Renee’s engagement, but that wasn’t the end of the story I’d written in my head. They were both troubled people, but I knew for certain Renee’s emotional damage would surface as she experienced the realities of marriage and parenthood, so I wrote An Illusion of Trust to tell that part of the story.

What genre does your book fall under? This is contemporary fiction. I suppose it will appeal mainly to women, but I hesitate to call it women’s fiction because that classification is often interpreted as romance or chick lit, which this is not. Maybe I could call it literary women’s fiction.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Though I do mentally cast certain actors as my characters, I decline to share my picks for the same reason I don’t dwell a lot on the physical descriptions of characters in my writing. Unless there’s a good reason to force my image on readers, I want them to visualize my characters as they like. I mention or allude to Renee’s petite stature and long hair several times, and I mention once (in this book) that she has gray eyes. In my head, she’s a more petite version of a certain actress.

Jalal was described in more detail in The Brevity of Roses because Meredith gave her poetic mind free reign as she observed him: “… it was hard to ignore this man with his beautiful skin, like fine tea-dyed silk, and hair, as black as any she had ever seen, curling down to his shoulders, and if he chanced to look up from the book he now read, she was certain his eyes would seem as deep and dark as temple pools on a moonless night.” He has a slight change of appearance in An Illusion of Trust, but even with this number of details I think readers could “cast” several different actors in his role.

If you’re familiar with my characters Renee and Jalal and pictured a celebrity as you read about them, please share. I’m curious to know if anyone sees who I see.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

This is the tag line: In this sequel to The Brevity of Roses, Renee Vaziri discovers that even when your dreams come true your nightmares remain.

Here’s a distillation from the back cover blurb, which is more a one-line synopsis: When Renee Marshall locked the door on her dark past and married Jalal Vaziri, she hoped for a quiet life, but as the stress of living in his society increases, the traumas of her past begin to poison the present and threaten to destroy everything she treasures.

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

This sequel will be another indie novel published under my imprint Two-Four-Six Publishing.

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

That’s a difficult question for me to answer because I don’t write a typical first draft. I develop the story in my head and make written notes for several months to a year (or more) before I start to actually write a draft. And because I edit as I write, what I end up with is a step or two beyond the proverbial “shitty first draft”. Specifically, I wrote this “first draft” in two stages. I wrote for three months and then a health problem forced me to let it languish for a couple of months, during which indecision on what my next book should be cropped up and delayed me even more. When I picked up my WIP again, I finished in seven months, so I guess it took about ten months to write what I call a first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’m going to have to pass on this one. Most every novel I read is contemporary, but I’m not familiar with one I can compare to this story. My favorite author is Anne Tyler, so I’m sure her style has influenced mine.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? After I finished writing The Brevity of Roses, my characters refused to stop talking to me. In fact, as I was writing it, I kept thinking about what would happen to them past the point I planned to end the book. So while I was still editing Brevity, I started writing out scenes and snatches of dialogue that would, mostly, become part of An Illusion of Trust. An image that haunted me, from a scene that didn’t make it into Illusion, was the impetus for a particular element in this book.

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

I don’t want you to leave you with the impression this story is relentless doom and gloom. As those who’ve read the first part of Jalal and Renee’s story already know, they indulge in a healthy dose of smartass humor. And marriage certainly hasn’t turned down the heat between them. ;-)

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Now, in a week or two, each of these fine authors will tell you about their next big thing. Visit their blogs today and subscribe, if you haven’t already, so you won’t miss learning about three more good books to watch for.

Natasha Alexander

Anne Gallagher

Jessica Luton

If you’d like to help me build a buzz for An Illusion of Trust, please click those cute little share buttons below.

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In support of Indie authors … or what I read this summer

Writing proved elusive for me most of this summer, but I used that time to read. I’m an Indie author, so I believe I should support other Indie authors. I read books by five of them:  Judy Croome, Davin Malasarn, Cathryn Grant, Natasha Alexander, and Christa Polkinhorn.

You may have heard a lot about how much junk there is at the online bookstores since self-publishing has become relatively easy and inexpensive. Well, I didn’t read any junk. They were all different genres, and ranged from fun to serious, but they were all worthwhile reads. I’ll share my reviews.

Dancing in the Shadows of Love is the kind of book that makes me wish I knew how to write a better review. I’m simply overwhelmed. Judy Croome has written a book that’s gorgeous, brilliant, heart-breaking, uplifting, empowering … and more!

Although the story takes place in a purposely undefined place and time, the characters are painfully real. The story follows three women, each with a damaged soul, as they yearn to be loved, but first they need to define love and, in order to do that, they must learn to forgive. The mysterious Enoch is their guide for this spiritual journey.

Judy Croome’s writing is impeccable and her insight into the soul of man astounding. I believe this book came straight from her heart—and that heart is a large and beautiful one.

If I could, I’d give this book six stars. I’m definitely looking forward to her next one.(Amazon; [ebook and print] Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

The Wild Grass and Other Stories — One of the strengths of Davin Malasarn’s writing is his ability to make his characters, no matter the age, sex, nationality, or status, real and familiar to the reader. I was continually surprised to feel I’d lived a story, though he wrote of an experience foreign to me.

It’s no surprise that several in this collection of stories, written in beautiful, clean prose, have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and won or placed in competitions. The only negative for me is that I reached the last story too soon.  (Amazon [ebook and print]; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

In Fatal Cut, Cathryn Grant has given her protagonist Madison Keith a delightful voice. Madison is smart, witty, and more than a little curious—perfect for a church receptionist. She’s also tattooed, pierced, and unusually perceptive. In this first of a series, Grant introduces us to Madison’s particular brand of detection and mystery solving. Fatal Cut is a page-turning tale that will satisfy, but leave you hungry for the next one.  (Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

An Uncommon Family — In Christa Polkinhorn’s debut novel Love of a Stonemason, she introduced us to the adult Karla Bocelli and in this prequel she takes us back to Karla’s childhood. We learn more of what life was like for the child artist Karla as she dealt with the death of her mother and a long-distance father, but the heart of the book is a love story, complicated by secrets.

This time around it’s Karla’s aunt Anna, hardened toward love by a devastating secret in her past, who must decide whether to let artist and teacher Jonas into her heart. When Jonas, who has lost his beloved wife to cancer, discloses a secret to Anna, he only confirms her distrust of men. But the determined Karla won’t give up. She uses all her youthful ingenuity in trying to form those she loves into An Uncommon Family.

In this well-told story, the author takes us on tour from Switzerland to New York City to Mexico and back again, allowing us to experience these locales through the eyes and hearts of her characters. An Uncommon Family is another pleasurable read from the talented Christa Polkinhorn.  (Amazon [ebook and print]; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)

Just Desserts: Greed. Lust. Death. Tiramisu. — Does Natasha Alexander know how to create interesting characters, or what? This hilarious and outrageous romp features bombs, boobs, books, and a beach! What more could you ask for? Scrumptious food? Oh, yes it has that too—but watch out, it could be deadly.  (Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords)