Next Big Thing Blog Tour

January 20, 2013 § 13 Comments

“Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?” – Mary Oliver

There’s a viral blog event going around called “The Next Big Thing” in which writers give a glimpse of works in progress by answering a set of questions. I’ve been tagged by Betsy Morro, who has finished an incredible manuscript, entitled “Casualites.” I was lucky enough to read a draft, so I can tell you, when you see it in the bookstore, you must buy it!! It’s a beautiful and complicated story but it’s also a page turner. I couldn’t put my laptop down! She also has a great blog which you can check out here.

And for some insight on my “Next Big Thing,” read on.

What is your working title of your book?

Breathing Just a Little

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I am not sure exactly where the idea came from. I wanted to explore the contradictory themes of freedom and safety and what they mean to women of various ages. I am fascinated by the women’s movement that took place in the late 60’s to early 70’s and I thought this would be an interesting time to place a woman (Gloria) exploring the ideas of safety and freedom in her own marriage. Additionally, I grew up obsessed with ballet (but way too klutzy to be good at it), and Claire (Gloria’s daughter) is a dancer who had to give up what she loved and what gave her this incredible sense of freedom. I had to give up running when I was young so I tried to imagine what it would be like for a dancer to stop dancing in the 70’s in that great kingdom ruled by George Balanchine. Finally, Meg (Gloria’s younger daughter) came to me during a writing prompt. She doesn’t want to dissect a frog in biology class, and that was the beginning of this book.

Gloria’s husband is a biologist studying whales. He has tremendous freedom to travel the world and is often gone on long trips. Will is very connected to his daughter Meg, and when Meg discovers his infidelity, she has to make decisions for herself about freedom, versus commitment.

The title comes from the famous line in Mary Oliver’s poem, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?” And of course, it alludes to whales who breathe just a little. Totally cheesy, I know, but I can’t help it. I was a copywriter for way too long.

What genre does your book fall under?

Oy. I have no idea. I would like it to not be chick lit, but honestly, I have bigger problems now, like the ending.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Gloria: Rachel Weisz

Claire– Saoirse Ronan

Meg – a young Claire Danes

Will: Christian Bale (need I say more?)

 What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A woman and her two daughters discover the challenges and pitfalls of freedom as they unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of the women’s rights movement in the early 1970’s.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Um. I should probably finish it before I answer that.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Any day now …

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I really can’t say. I don’t want to jinx myself. I just can’t compare myself to the writers I love and emulate.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired by my own struggles with the ideas of marriage and my role in marriage versus my husband’s. I am intrigued by power in marriage and the balance of power between two people who have different goals and dreams. Do they come together or do their challenges draw them apart?

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

The husband and father in this book, Will, is a scientist and behaviorist who is studying how whales communicate. In the book, he is one of the first scientists who discover that humpback whales communicate with unique “songs.” While I was at Cornell, I had the great fortune to study with Roger and Katie Payne who were pioneers in describing the dynamics of whale communication. I would like to be clear that my character Will is NOT based on Dr. Payne, but he is inspired by Dr. Payne’s research and by my own interest in the scientists who studied humpbacks.

Now the way this usually works is that I “tag” two people working on books of their own. The only two I know writing books aren’t ready to discuss yet, so … if you read this and are working on a book, consider yourself TAGGED. Just copy these questions and answer them about your own work and then link back to this blog.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more work to do …

OH, the winner of the giveaway of Katrina Kenison’s book, “Magical Journey” is Kerry Wekelo. Congratulations Kerry! You will love every page. 

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