There’s a nice little bloggy round robin whatsit doing the rounds on the literary scene at the moment. The Next Big Thing is basically a chance for local writers to connect and share their current projects and the idea is that each writer answers some questions about their next big thing and nominates five new folks to do the same.
The lovely and talented Marianne Paget blogged about it beautifully last week and asked me to do the same this week, so here goes!
1. What’s the title of your latest story?
Here’s me, off to a typically tricky start. At the moment, it’s called Draigton’s Summer of Miracles, An Article of Faith, or ‘That Bloody Thing’, depending on the time of day and what mood I’m in.
2. Where did the idea for the story come from?
I found myself thinking about the changes that have befallen Scotland’s coastal villages within the last hundred years. At the same time, I became a little bit obsessed with stories of martyrs and people’s capacity to believe and somehow the two stands became nicely intertwined.
3. What genre does your story fall under?
Probably literary fiction I suppose. Or a subsection of that, anyway. Although, if there’s a genre that better describes a story about a small town unable to decide if it’s at the centre of a series of miracles or not, then that’s it.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie?
This is a toughie. Also, unless it’s actually going to be a film, I’d like for people to picture the characters however they want to, rather than putting a specific face to a name.
5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your story?
After eight years in foster care, a teenager returns to her recession-gripped home town on the east coast of Scotland and starts wreaking havoc by seemingly performing a succession of small miracles.
6. Will your story be self-published or represented by an agency?
I think I’d prefer the help of an agency, to be honest. Although some people are doing very well going it alone, I’d love some support and advice along the way.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft?
I’d say I spent about a year on the first draft. Although, I’ve been working on it for about a year and a half now and some sections are on their third or fourth draft while others are brand spanking new!
8. What other stories would you compare it to within your genre?
I can’t say compare, because that would be awfully presumptuous of me, but the books I adore that I think have inspired me to tackle a novel with such a broad collection of points of view have to be; White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson and We the Drowned by Carl Jensen.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this story?
The wonderful and terrifying power of the human mind to bend reality (what reality?) is the driving force behind this particular story, I think.
10. What else about your story might pique a reader’s interest?
There’s death, there’s sex, there’s plenty of scathing put downs and, hopefully, enough laughs to keep readers smiling despite some of the tough times it describes.
Next week, we’ll have the chance to read about some of the big things some of my favourite local(ish) writers have on their books. Kirsti Wishart, Karen Thirkell, Caroline von Schmalensee and two more who’ve still to confirm will let us know a little about the wondrous tales they’re currently weaving.