The Next Big Thing

Author Linda Cassidy Lewis tagged me to answer the following questions about my work in progress as part of The Next Big Thing meme. Be sure to read Linda’s responses for An Illusion of Trust, her next big thing.

At the end of the post, you’ll see who I’ve tagged for this meme.

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Here’s my Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your next book?
Moon Beach Magic

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I met Vince, the main character in Moon Beach Magic, in a short story I wrote a couple of years ago. That short story grew into a novella, Just Desserts: Greed. Lust. Death. Tiramisu.

I wanted to follow Vince farther on his journey, since he’d only begun to live at the conclusion of Just Desserts. Several other characters decided to come along for the ride, and I couldn’t bear to kick folks like Ernestine or Lizzie off the bus.

Maybe I pushed a character or two under the bus, but they deserved it.

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s commercial fiction: a fun beach read with a splash of noir.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Vince and Lizzie are the only characters that I’ve cast so far. I’d love to see a Must Love Dogs version of John Cusack playing Vince. I’m enjoying seeing Cusack as Vince in my mind’s eye when I’m writing!

I loved Liv Tyler in Cookie’s Fortune and I’d like to see someone like that playing Lizzie.

My characters look like ordinary people, the kind of folks you see in line at the grocery store. I could spend an hour at Trader Joe’s and cast the rest of the movie. I hope I’ve written the characters’ personalities clearly enough so that you could, too.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After Vince’s world explodes, he lands in sleepy Moon Beach, where quirky neighbors, ricotta-cream pastries and local wildlife join forces to save the beach and each other from an eco-tourism disaster.

I won’t tell you how long it took me to write that one sentence.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m going to try for agency representation first for a limited amount of time. I’m kind of impatient, so if I’m not successful within that period, I’ll publish independently again through Edcentric. I like the control indie publishing allows, so it’s a win either way. Just Desserts was ebook only; Moon Beach Magic will come out in paper as well as ebook.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About a year, but I also got a couple of new knees at the same time and that took some time away from writing. I’m surprised at how long it’s taken to get from Draft One to Draft One Zillion. I’ve added several characters and subplots and ditched big chunks of earlier drafts, so it’s a very different book now.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
In my writing dreams, I sit at my computer, fingers on keyboard: I am channeling Carl Hiaasen through one hand and Anne Tyler through the other. Both of them would probably consider this dream a nightmare if they only knew.

I like to think Moon Beach Magic captures some aspect of both authors. Hiaasen and Tyler specialize in creating quirky characters and Moon Beach is certainly home to its fair share of eccentrics. I need to start ingesting swamp juice to catch some of the zany situations that seem to fly out of Hiaasen’s mind, though.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Vince. He deserved a decent shot at a satisfying life and I wanted to make sure he got it.

One of the things I love about writing fiction is the power to make karma happen at 60,000 words instead of over the course of eons. By the end of Moon Beach Magic, everyone will have gotten their just desserts.

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

I tried to include something for everyone: Mob threats, explosions, pastries to die for, a sleazy lawyer, redneck do-gooders, missing deeds, misunderstood artists, magic potions, shapely legs and long red hair, a loaded gun, a junkyard dog, hungry wildlife and the threat of massive development.

It’s a love story.

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In a week or two, each of these fine authors will tell you about their next big thing. Visit their websites and blogs and sign up for notifications so you won’t miss learning about their works in progress as well as their completed works. Enjoy!

Dana Mason

Linda McMann

Georgia Mullen

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