Meet the Next Big Thing(s)

English: Children playing a variant of tag. In...

“Tag” now you’re “It!”

Thanks to Judith van Praag for tagging me as “It” in this blog experiment called “The Next Big Thing.”

The idea behind this blogging daisy chain is to get readers excited for that next novel each writer is currently working on.  The readers get a little insight into what is next on the horizon so they can eagerly await the release of the published work.  It is now my turn to answer the questions below about my current work in progress and then to “tag” five other writers at the end who then are next in line to post on their blog about themselves and what they are working on.

I hope you enjoying hearing about my upcoming novel Bend Me, Shape Me, and will also visit the sites of the authors below to get to know what they are up to these days.

  • What is the working title of your book?

Bend Me, Shape Me

  • Where did the idea come from for the book?

The suspense plot is the result of an actual news article I read about a psychiatrist in the Pacific Northwest who was being sued by parents after seriously screwing up their son in therapy.  The doctor was also facing criminal charges and was found with an arsenal stashed at his house.  That spawned the character of Dr. Levinson, who my main character Snow believes is bending and shaping his patients into molds he think they should fit.

  • What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a character-driven suspense novel.

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

I actually don’t have any idea.  I’m not good at remembering actors names. Maybe you can tell me. My character Jo Sullivan should be played by a woman who is good at portraying a haunted, feisty, no-nonsense reporter who is fierce in her defense of the people she believes in.  Snow Ramirez, the 17-year-old bi-polar street kid, should be played by the female equivalent of Nick Stahl (see Ben in Carnivale) or Joseph Gordon-Levitt who have both done excellent portrayals of the heart-breaking struggle to survive living on the streets.  And my third point-of-view character, Leonard Goldenhawk, should be played by a Native American version of Morgan Freeman with a cop’s common sense yet the weight of his Yakama Nation traditions as his primary motive throughout the story.

  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Once again Jo Sullivan is the only person willing to listen to one of Chicago’s throw-away youth, bi-polar Snow Ramirez, who is convinced psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide, and may be targeting her brother Alley as his next victim.

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

It will be released in March 2013 by my publisher, New Libri Press.

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

A little over a year.  I just finished the first draft and am starting the first round of edits.

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

The V.I Warshawski novels are similar in the gritty tone and setting of Chicago.  The only other fiction book I know of that combines a suspense plot with the street level realities of being homeless is my first Street Stories suspense novel, Painted Black, released earlier this year.

  • Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The kids I met on the streets of Chicago when I was a volunteer there with The Night Ministry ignited my passion to make their lives visible to people who might not want to look too closely.  My continued work with homeless youth in Seattle WA is an ongoing inspiration to carry on the journey.

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

There are layers of meaning and struggle threaded through the suspense plot such as Jo dealing with doubts about whether or not her father is innocent of murder and molestation despite being acquitted by the courts.  Leonard also brings an element of family dynamics to the plot as he deals with guilt that Snow and her brother, his niece and nephew, have grown up without the love and support of their Native American relatives.  Then of course, you have Snow, who has been diagnosed as bi-polar. She’s trying to discover how to deal with that, if it is true, and how to live a normal life either way.  If she can learn to trust herself, then maybe she can trust others, too.

Now, if you thought that was interesting, keep an eye on the websites for these authors and see how they answer these same questions.

Bernadette Pajer

Ashley Fontainne

Sharon Lynn Fisher

Margaret Millmore

Acacia Awai

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