Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Next Big Thing

I was invited to participate in the NEXT BIG THING blog hop by the awesome Vanessa Wu of Intense Sensations (read her awesome Big Thing post here; awesome short story collection of lesbian erotica)--thank you, Vanessa! 

Ten questions about the current / new WIP: check. 

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?

Okay... I'll go with Novel #1, A MANTRA FOR CATS AND OTHER RUNAWAYS. I've been working on revisions for over a year, so that definitely makes it "current" :D

Me (horizontal) around the time this
"real life" inciting incident happened.
(Disclaimer: none of the other
innocents in the pic were involved)
2) Where did you get the idea for that book?

Real life. I started a short story about something that happened to me many many years ago, intending to put it out on paper to get perspective, to make some sense out of it. When I hit 20,000 words and hadn't even got close to the middle, I considered stopping. I was, after all, aiming for a short story. But I was having too much fun writing it. 

Once the decision to continue was made, it freed me up somehow. The characters--originally real people--took on a life of their own, started doing things that didn't actually happen (and ignoring the things that did!). I knew then this had become a story separate from myself.

Image credit: Jane Friedman's post on Lit Fic
3) What’s the genre of the book?

Literary fiction.

4) If you could pick actors to play the lead characters in your
story, who would you pick?

Ah. Tough one, for two reasons. One, I suck at recognizing actors. Two, I have a pretty clear idea of what these people look like in my head, what they feel like. Giving them an actual physique, one that exists somewhere, seems odd. But I'll give it a shot, for the sake of the exercise.

Camilla Belle
Alexia (FMC) would have to be played by a Mexican, or at least Latino-looking, woman. No, not Salma Hayek or Eva Longoria. Someone more along the lines of Barbara Mori or Camilla Belle

Alexia's mom, Peque, could be played by Diana Bracho.

Michael... Oooh, he's a tough one. Maybe a Heath Ledger look-alike? Blond and with long hair? And green eyes? Mmm. Maybe. Definitely not someone Brad-Pitt-perfect, but he'd have to be tall (at least 6'2"), not hugely bulky but big-shouldered. 

5) How would you describe your book in one sentence (10 words
or less)?

Hope found, lost, discovered. Beginnings, and endings, that aren't. [Whew--nine words!]

6) (a) How will your book be published, submitted through the traditional route to a traditional publisher or will you be handling it yourself through Indie Publishing methods? (b) If you’re an Indie Author, will you be publishing through your own Indie Publishing company or in a collective with other Indie Authors?

I'll be trying the traditional route first. As much as I respect the indie movement, as a newbie author I have no clue what constitutes "good enough". I crave the validation of an industry professional, with all the caveats that apply. Yes, there's no guarantee that "good enough" for an agent or publisher is actually "good" at all, or vice versa. But it's my first novel. It's a learning curve, isn't it? Before I put something out there for the public to read, through which I'll be judged, I'd like to have at least some semblance of approval stamp. Cowardly? Probably :)

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?

Three months and ten days. I finished it on August 15, 2011. I've been revising / rewriting / editing since then. Yup, not done either.

8) What other books within your genre are similar to yours?

If you're too lazy to read the book,
there's a movie. Good movie.
Mmmm. Another tough one. Probably some of Isabel Allende's in terms of simplicity, of the all-encompassing credit to story (THE INFINITE PLAN, for example). Lynn Barber's memoir AN EDUCATION in terms of attempting to mirror a country's coming-of-age via an individual, insignificant, story.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As mentioned in #2, the kernel began in my own life. I tend to focus on pivotal moments: what made someone take this or that path? How are decisions made, really? Because the things that alter the course of someone's life aren't those decisions that feel so momentous. They're the little things, the small choices we make 

10) What about your book will pique the reader’s interest?

It's a story about cultures clashing, about unrequited love, about that moment when one makes the conscious decision on whether to live according to the expectations of our world--our parents, our friends, the society we live in. It's a story about discovering, and daring to embrace, our individuality. It's a story about the gifts life throws our way, and the price we pay for accepting them... Or not.

Image credit: Chains of Past Decisions

Tag other authors whose work I'd love to know more about: here we go.

Veronica Sicoe (who tagged me first, haha)

Look forward to reading your answers! Everyone else, look forward to hearing your thoughts about this WIP :)


  1. A MANTRA FOR CATS AND OTHER RUNAWAYS sounds fab. I'm so impressed that it took such a short time to write it! I think this book has a lot people can relate to. Very curious to read it. Thanks so much for sharing this. Honestly I meant to get in touch and ask if you could do this blog hop. You know me, it's been a while and someone else already asked you to do it. Anyway, I will be tagging you because you are so interesting and I love the way you write. Good luck with your novel! Whenever you decide to send out to publishers, let me know. :)

    1. Aw, Guuye :) You're the sweetest! Thank you for the encouraging words--good to know there's someone out there that wants to read it, hehe. I'll be sure to let you know when (note I don't say if, haha) it's coming out, and--publishers allowing--I'll send you an ARC. I trust you to keep me honest :)

      Sure, tag me again. I can always talk about Novel #2, hehe. Might help me focus on it once I'm done with revisions :) Thanks!

  2. Sounds really intriguing and so mature! Really, it's your first novel? Oh, you shouldn't need validation. But it makes sense to go the traditional route for literary fiction. Oh, and you're far more beautiful than Camilla Belle!

    Vanessa Wu

    1. Vanessa, thank you! For the encouragement, for the kind words, for the support. It is my first novel, and I'm so happy you consider it mature--took a while to get there, haha.

  3. I'm hooked! :-) Sounds like a lovely read, G. Can't wait to see it in the world.

    Happy Holidays! (In case I don't make it back by before the Holidays pass.)

    1. Thank you, EJ! I can't wait to see it out in the world either, haha. Happy holidays to you too! (But I'll be by your blog later to make it "official" :D)

  4. As always, it is good to read your texts.

    Both books are already in my "To Read" list, as soon as they come out.

    Happy holidays!

    1. Aw, Emilio, thank you! I hope I don't disappoint :)

  5. I absolutely love the title :)

    It's always fun hearing the story OF a story ;)

    1. Ms. Monkey, the fact that *you* love the title makes me stop second-guessing it. I have a list as long as the Nile of possible titles, but this one... This one, I think, is the keeper :) Thanks for the visit!

  6. I love the title of the book! And it sounds like a gut-twister, the kind of book that makes you take a hard look at your own life. Writing about the little choices in life that have a grand effect afterwards, and about cultures clashing -- I can totally empathize with that (definitely had my own share).

    Wish you the best of luck finding an agent, and MUCH success with your book (and your writing)! I'll always have an eye on your progress!

    1. Yay! You love the title, too! I'm so glad, Vero. It's been a struggle, definitely--the title, and the actual writing/revising. I don't have to tell you--you're as perfectionist as I am :) Thank you for the encouragement, and for being there :) You're awesome.

  7. How have you been, my friend? Probably busy writing up a storm... you're so disciplined with your writing...

    Your story sounds awesome! It has all the ingredients of a winner!
    Thanks for tagging me in The Next Big Thing... this is the 3rd tag for this bloghop, and now I really need to post something about this "incomplete and elusive" WIP of mine!
    Will let you know when the post is live!

    1. Ah, Michelle--I'm anything but disciplined, haha. Over the past week I've hardly written a word. Haven't touched this novel since the first days of Dec, sadly. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I look forward to your NBT post!

  8. Hello Guilie! I love the way you've used elements of your real life and woven it into your wip. It sounds like a compelling read, truly. And thank you for tagging me. I've been tagged with this meme before but here's the link if you're interested. I'm writing a paranormal about witches and vampires, nothing too edgy but it's my first novel too.


    1. Thanks for the visit, Elise, and I'm glad you like the concept of this story. I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts when it's out! And you're also working on your first--I'm dashing over to your site now to read the post :) Thanks again!

  9. Oh, this sounds delicious! Now I want to read it and I'm not sure I'm patient enough for you to go the traditional publishing route. ;) This: a story about the gifts life throws our way, and the price we pay for accepting them... Or not. Wow. Wowwowwow.

    I am really looking forward to this.

    And thanks for tagging me! I'll be getting that out tomorrow. :)

    1. Hahahahahahaa... Em, thanks for the ultra encouraging enthusiasm :) Now I'll be working extra hard on those last revisions so I don't disappoint you :) Glad you're picking up on the tag--look forward to reading about your WIP!


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