Although many of you know that I write this blog, you may not know that in real life (you know the thing where you have to work for a living?) I am a full time writer and journalist. I write newspaper and magazine articles and marketing material. It’s what I do. It’s what makes me happy. (If you want to read some of my writers’ advice blog posts go over to Live to Write – Write to Live.)
In my travels I’ve bumped elbows with some very talented authors. One particular author, Hilary Weisman Graham who knew I was working on a book-length project recently sent me an invitation to be part of a writers’ tour – I accepted and that’s what this post is about.
This post is part of a blog tour where writers share what the “Next Big Thing” is. The writer who tagged me is Hilary Weisman Graham over at http://www.hilarygraham.com/index.html Hilary has written Reunited which is a terrific Young Adult book about teen girls and the value of true friendship. Hilary is also a screen writer and was on the Mark Burnett/Steven Spielberg-produced reality show ON THE LOT: THE SEARCH FOR AMERICA’S NEXT GREAT DIRECTOR (which aired on FOX primetime, the summer of 2007) – which is pretty cool.
Thanks Hilary for tagging me on this tour.
Other writer friends of mine who are working on projects include:
Jamie Wallace – the fabulous to-be writer who is working on a project and if we all nudge her just a little might make some significant progress on it this year.
Lisa Jackson – no, not *the * Lisa Jackson, this is another Lisa J who lives in New Hampshire and who also needs a kick in the butt to get her started because she is fabulous.
Chris Bohjalian, Meg Cabot, Jodi Picoult, and Judy Blume – yeah these are the big guys and all of them have been kind enough to be interviewed for this blog (and have chickens named after them.) They are always working on new projects. Go over to their websites and check out what they have in store for us.
Ten Interview Questions for my Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
The Hope of Feathers (after much going back and forth)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea came as a direct offshoot of this blog. While I have enjoyed our chickens tremendously, I had no idea that they would be so instrumental in teaching me the valuable life lessons I needed to learn in order to care for my flock of 6 children.
Having chicks in the coop is a full time job. Every mama hen has to spend much of her time teaching the life skills needed so that each baby can eventually leave the nest and live on his own.
Basically, us mamas are laying the groundwork for our most prized possessions to leave us. It’s bittersweet on a good day, and nothing short of heartbreaking on a bad one, especially when chronic illness in one of the chicks enters the picture.
But we understand on a very deep and visceral level that not only is this the way it’s supposed to be, but that no one benefits (you or the chick) if there is no growth. And without independence, there is no growth.
Still you worry.
So, you continue to teach throughout the years, being careful to demonstrate family values, to explain what being a flock member means, and what it means to truly look out for each other. You pray it sinks in. You pray that your chicks will have the knowledge and compassion one day to lift not only their wings but the wings of others’ as well.
And you pray that you will have the strength to watch as they fly away.
What genre does your book fall under?
Memoir and Chick lit 🙂
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ha! A movie? Wow, haven’t really thought that far. I’m not sure who would play the members of our family (perhaps Rambo for Trevor?) I only know that if it’s going to be made into a movie then Daniel Craig gets to play the part of my husband. (I can dream can’t I?)
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m hoping to get it published by an agency. I have the attention of a literary agent, now I just need to finish the damn thing.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
This book has been in progress since 2005. It’s really only in the last year that I’ve begun work on pulling this specific aspect of the story together.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think the best way to describe my books is to say that it is a “Marley and Me, but with feathers.”
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’m a writer. I teach by writing. What I have learned with having chronic illness in the house and yet wanting that member of my family to be independent enough to leave the nest someday, is a story that all parents (especially mama hens) can relate to and which needed to be told.
It is the strength of my children and the way they support each other (just like flock members do) that inspired me to capture this story (and let’s face it, some help came from a little chick with orthopedic problems that ended up living in our house for 6 months who showed me I am doing no one a service by thinking I am protecting them from life by keeping them in the nest.)
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There will be Lyme disease, disability, medical emergencies, flock stories, and of course Charlie, our house-chicken, will also play a big role in it.
My plan is to have the draft of this book finished within the next 3 months. There, I said it, now it has to be done.