I know a life of crime has led me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame A.C. Wise.

Lucas Mangum tagged her in his Next Big Thing blog, and she wrote one up and then tagged a bunch of people, including me. The goal is to answer ten questions about your current work in progress. That might be a novel, a short story, an anthology … whatever. What are you working on? they asked me. Here are my answers:

  1. What is the title of your book*? Bloom
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book? It’s an idea I’ve been writing and rewriting for a long time now, at least a decade, and it stems from a lot of influences: viral apocalypse books I devoured as a teenager, starting with King’s The Stand. Road trip stories. My own past. Sean Stewart’s “magic as apocalypse” books like Galveston, Night Watch, Resurrection Man and Perfect Circle. Fairy tales.
  3. What genre does your book fall under? Speculative Fiction. More specifically, urban fantasy, though I mean that in the “location matters” sense and not in the “werewolf-fucking leather pants girl has a tramp stamp” sense.
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? That’s hard because as I work on the outline and get to know the characters better, my concept of them changes. Right now I think the main character, Molly, reminds me of Summer Glau if you could convince her to gain 50 pounds for the part. (Glau is gorgeous, dark haired and plays broken really well, but is also tiny. Molly’s not.) Given that, I think Liv Tyler would be great. She’s the right age, and she’s tall and strong-looking. The only problem is, she look sweet and kind where Molly has a hard edge. She doesn’t look pretty until she relaxes, which isn’t often. For the main guy in the book, whose name isn’t settled yet, I keep thinking of Sung Kang, who plays Han Seoul-Oh in a number of Justin Lin’s movies. His younger self was the model for this character to begin with, though as I write that changes – especially since Kang is now 10 years too old to play the part. Elizabeth Moss could play Gretchen if she goes blond again, Kristolyn Lloyd is the right age (and she ran track in high school) to play Samantha, David Krumholtz would make a good Max, and Javier Bardem would make a great Police Chief (Acting) Jose “Jay” Rivera.
  5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book? Post-apocalyptic urban fantasy retelling of The Odyssey.
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Probably neither. I doubt I’ll self-publish it, though as a small press publisher I have the tools to make sure it’s done well – editors, artists, distribution, and so on. But I like the idea of being published by someone else. I think it’s the validation of knowing that someone besides me thought this book was a good idea. At the same time, I don’t know that I will seek an agent for it. I don’t think it’s going to be the kind of book that will appeal to most mid-list publishing houses, and I’m not sure an agent would want to rep someone who’s idea of success is being published by Small Beer Press**.
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? My previous attempts at writing what would turn out to be the genesis of this novel took about 3 or 4 months each. This time, I’ve spent longer than that working on my outline and coming up with individual scenes. I plan to start writing in earnest in November, after WFC Toronto is over, and after some pressing Dagan Books work is done. I suspect it will take me about four months to get the first draft done, given that I have to also raise a child and manage a business and sleep occasionally***.
  8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre? I think it exists in its own county on a map that’s outlined by the books I mentioned above, plus Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Cat Valente’s Deathless, and several short stories.
  9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? I’m writing it for the same reason that I write anything – the story is in my head and I’d like it to get out. As for who – anything great I do in my life, I do for love. What else is worth making yourself better for?
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The world as we know it ends in bits and pieces, off screen, before the book really starts, so it’s not the story of what we lost but the story of what we rebuild after. It’s about finding your strength, and your family, and something worth fighting for, even when you don’t like yourself very much. It’s about the reality of a world where magic has come back, and it’s not sparkly fairies and unicorns – it’s minotaurs stalking hospitals and fairies who steal your car keys if you don’t leave milk out for them and people (lots of them) who die in terrible ways because they can’t control this new power they suddenly have. Plus, it is power, so someone’s going to figure out how to use it to take over again. It’s what people do.
    And …
    I’m writing in in tight third person narration – no internal dialogue, no omniscient narrator. What they see is what you get, whether it’s true or not.

Round three! I tag Mercedes M. Yardley, Don Pizarro, Simon C. Larter, Jessica Corra, John H. Stevens, Alexa Seidel, and Mike Allen. Go visit their blogs, read their work, and generally follow everything they do. If all goes according to plan, they should be posting about their own Next Big Thing in the next week (or so).

* Insert “story” or “collection” or “poem” or whatever else you’re working on.

** It totally is. Small Beer is a wonderful company that produces work by Kelly Link, Karen Joy Fowler, Ted Chiang, and many many other literary greats. It is, honestly, my goal in life to be published by them.

*** I am terrible at this, but people seem to think it’s important. I trust their judgment, since they’re better rested than I am and probably thinking more clearly.

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