The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a sort of round-robin of blog tagging where writers answer 10 questions about a recent project (or one in progress). Each writer tags 5 more writers. Four of the five writers I contacted never responded, so I’m including my own response and tagging the fantastic and wondrous Maia Morgan, whose blog you can check out here.

What is your working title of your book (or story)?
Broken Word

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for my book came to me while I was at residency for the Stonecoast MFA program. As a spoken word artist for most of my professional writing life, I was trying to figure out when writing on the page had become so hard/intimidating. During one of many workshops, the thought came to me that betrayal was a big part of my journey through writing, both from fellow writers and inter-personal relationships. Broken Word refers to some of that betrayal and also how I broke my own word to myself, which was to keep writing, no matter what.

What genre does your book fall under?

My book falls into the memoir genre, though more in the Joy Harjo tradition of including poetry/song, alongside creative non-fiction.

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

Phylicia Rashad would play my Mom. Bette Midler would play my grandmother. Michael C. Hall would play my first boyfriend. I’d love Jill Scott to play me.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? (if this applies – otherwise, make up another question to answer!)

I’d love my book to be represented by an agency and I think that will happen. My first book was self-published and though it was fun to design it and distribute myself, I’d like Broken Word to reach a much wider audience.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’m still working on it, but hoping to have the first draft completed by June.

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

Crazy/Brave by Joy Harjo is the first one that pops into my mind.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been writing this book for a while and just didn’t know it. There’s been so much darkness and light in my life that writing it all down seems to be the only way to make sense of it. And I’m tired of telling the same stories…I want to get these stories out so that I can make room for new ones!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think that my book has a sweeping energy to it, where I travel from Chicago to New York to LA to Seattle to New Zealand to Australia and back again. There are hard, social issues that I’m grappling with such as race, body image, domestic violence and rape, plus a family history of dysfunction and alcoholism. Out of much of that difficulty, though, is an incredible amount of triumph and humor. It has all the things that captivate readers: adventure, tragedy, humor, the underdog prevailing and a whole lotta spice!

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