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Writing Wednesday 10: The Next Big Thing (After the Happy Dance)

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“The Next Big Thing” has two meanings for me today. On the video-blog, I’m talking about what’s next for me after NaNoWriMo (and doing a tiny bonus dance of celebration). Here in the wordy part of the blog, I’ve been tagged with a meme called “The Next Big Thing.” My friend Kerry Schafer, whose urban fantasy novel Between is coming out in January, tagged me — here’s her “Next Big Thing” post so you can learn all about the book she’s currently working on, a sequel to Between. Kerry and I became friends over twenty years ago in Oshawa, Ontario. I was teaching there at the time and was delighted to discover another person who loved writing — and who lived just a few doors down from me in faculty housing and liked to go for long walks and talk about books and slide on the ice in our winter boots. Though we both left Oshawa and moved in different directions we’ve kept in touch and I’ve followed Kerry’s writing career through many phases, including, most recently, the book that became (after many revisions) Between, and the completely exciting book deal she got for it. If you like fantasy, Kerry Schafer may well be the Next Big Thing and you definitely should check out her books when they appear in a bookstore near you!

Okay … here are the questions I’ve been tasked with answering!

What is the working title of your next book?  

A Sudden Sun Discloses.

Where did the idea come from? 

Ever since I saw Marian Frances White’s great film: The Untold Story of the Suffragists of NewfoundlandI’ve been intrigued by the women who fought for the right to vote in our small corner of the world (one of the last places in the Western World to give women that right). I wanted to use those women and that struggle as the background for a fictional story. The fact that there were two “waves” of feminism here in Newfoundland, one in the 1890s and one in the 1920s, gave me the idea of making the two main characters a mother and daughter who would each, in turn, become involved in the suffrage struggle.

What genre does your book fall under? 

Historical fiction.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

At this point I don’t know enough about the story myself to boil it down to one sentence!

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

Neither. At this point I don’t have an agent (yet or anymore … long story) but I deal directly with my publishers, which is not only possible but generally more common when you publish with small presses. I’m hoping this one will be published by Breakwater Books here in St. John’s, the largest publisher in Atlantic Canada. They released my novels By the Rivers of Brooklyn and That Forgetful Shore and have expressed interest in this one. But it’s still an unfinished draft at this point so we’re a long way from a publisher ever seeing it.

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

I’m still in the midst of it.

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

I’m really interested in writing about relationships other than romantic ones. That Forgetful Shore was mostly about friendship. In this current novel, although there are love stories, the real focus is on the mother-daughter relationship. I have a mother and I have a daughter, and I’m fascinated by the complexities of that relationship which is so central to most women’s lives. Lily and Grace, my two main characters, seem to be locked in a constant struggle with each other, and I’m having fun analyzing why their relationship is so difficult.  Lily has a lot of secrets in her past that she doesn’t want Grace to discover; she also has a lot of clear-cut ideas about the future — what Grace’s future ought to look like. I think it’s a relationship lots of readers will be able to relate to, because despite the historical setting it’s a conflict that’s played out generation after generation. Mothers and daughters almost always love each other, but often have difficulty navigating the reefs and shoals of their relationship.

Now comes the hard part … whom to tag! 

The whole point of the Next Big Thing meme is to promote other writers, but most of the other writers I know, when asked if I could tag them, said either that they aren’t blogging right now, or they don’t do memes, or they’re not ready to talk about their work-in-progress. So, I have not tagged ANYBODY. I’m so sorry; I feel like a meme-killed. But instead of tagging people to do this meme, I’m just going to tell you about some writer-friends I admire and whose work you can check out at your leisure.

Patty Froese (and her alter ego Patricia Johns) has been a Facebook friend of mine for several years and though we’ve never met in real life we love to chat online about the ups and downs of the writing life. She writes inspirational romances and though I’ll admit to not being a big romance reader, I do find hers fun. Check out her latest, Legally Wed.

Christy Robinson has published some nonfiction and is currently working on a fascinating historical novel. She’s descended from Mary Dyer, a Quaker woman who was hanged in Boston in 1660. Christy is meticulously researching every detail of Mary’s life for her novel. Check out the website she maintains for the project. She’s such a thorough researcher and writer that we may have a long wait for this book, but it will be worth it!

Tina Chaulk is my best real-life (i.e. we didn’t meet on the internet and we live close enough to have coffee face-to-face) writer friend. She won’t talk about any of her works-in-progress while they’re in progress, but if you like fresh, funny contemporary fiction you’ll like her two published novels, This Much is True and A Few Kinds of Wrong.

Karen Collum is an Australian writer who I met when I was Down Under giving writing workshops in 2008. Since then, her career in writing children’s books has taken off. She has such focused determination to succeed and does wonderful work — check it out!

Katrina Stonoff and I became internet friends during NaNoWriMo way back in 2004 and have kept in touch ever since. I’m really excited about her novel East of Jesus, which has some of the blackest humour I’ve ever read. She’s been working on it for several years and I’m waiting with bated breath to hear when (NOT IF) it’s going to be published, and by what lucky publisher.

I could go on and talk about more writer-friends, but I have to stop somewhere. I’m going to leave you with no tags, but those five wonderful writers to check out. Have fun!

If you haven’t watched my Writing Wednesday vlog at the top of this post yet, it contains 13 seconds of me dancing. You can view that either as a warning or as an enticement. Proceed with caution.

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3 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday 10: The Next Big Thing (After the Happy Dance)

  1. Thanks for the link-up! :) Your book sounds really interesting–especially that mother-daughter relationship. Such a complicated one!

    I also love your vlogs. I’m going to watch it now… :)

  2. Regarding the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Newfoundland, there actually was a mother/daughter team working toward getting the vote. I don’t like to quote names unless I am sure of the relationship, so will get back to you on this one. It was always my dream that my film would take on another life by inspiring people like yourself to create works of literature or art from this docu-drama. I look forward to your book!

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