The Next Big Thing (Week 19)

There seemed to me no better way to kick off my own blog than by participating in a “blog hop,” where I tell you about my own work-in-progress, and point you in the direction of some other great emerging writers that I know. I was invited to the hop by the talented Loretta Torossian (To Write Is to Live… and Other Musings) , and the talented Holly Hughes,(Holly’s Narrative Dream) , both of whom discussed their own works-in-progress on their blogs last week. Having been in a critique group with them, I had the chance for a sneak peek at their novels, and can tell you first-hand that their stories are unmissable!

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

I tend to get distracted by the details, so I’ve decided that a working title is one detail that I don’t need to spend time on right now. Mentally I just refer to it as “my YA novel.”

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I don’t always agree with the edict “write what you know” — we wouldn’t have classics like A Wrinkle in Time and The Hobbit if we constrained ourselves to this suggestion. But while the experiences that my main character, Lauren, has are very different from anything I’ve ever had, I certainly do know about the power of travel to broaden one’s perspective and change or even transform oneself. And, when I was in middle school, a family I knew in Seattle took six months to travel the world, while the father, who was a university professor, did some kind of sabbatical. I didn’t know the daughters in that family very well, and we moved away from Seattle shortly after they returned, but I always wondered what that kind of experience would be like.

What genre does your book fall under?

Realistic fiction.

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

I’d want someone eminently relatable for my main character Lauren – along the lines of Dakota Fanning or Leelee Sobieski before they got all grown up. Maybe Abigail Breslin?

I don’t have an actor in mind for the character of Ahmed, but when I first began to write about him, these are some images I found online and used for inspiration:

Now that I’ve written Ahmed into the story, I think the picture below could fit. (I found the image online with a Google search, and the guy happens to be a reporter from my current hometown of Beirut – although I believe he is a few years older now – how random!)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I noticed that few in the blog hop have been able to condense their synopsis into a single sentence… and I’m no better. Here are two:

For Lauren, living in a changing world is a literal challenge, as she embarks on a journey around the globe with her busy mom, spacey dad and hyper-competitive sister. No easy feat for someone who likes it when things stay the same. But Lauren is about to discover the transformative power of travel, and along with it, discover herself.

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

I intend to seek an agent once I’ve finished the novel.

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

Umm… the first draft isn’t yet finished. I set it aside for a year while I wrote a guidebook to Honduras and made a transcontinental move. But I hope to finish the first draft by the end of the year.

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

The closest comparisons I can think of are actually within fiction for adults, rather than Young Adult. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert touches on some of the same themes of travel and self-discovery, as does The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Reading and traveling are both as essential to me as air (even when travels are just to the next town!). Writing this novel is the best of both worlds — I love the idea of creating a journey and taking readers with me.

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

Lauren is challenged during her travels to broaden her perspective on everything from food to spirituality. She confronts these issues at the same time that she wrestles with the universal issues of family and fitting in and finding love.

Just pulling my novel out of the computer attic and answering these questions has made me excited to get back to work on it!

While the rules of this blog hop were that I had to then “tag” five more writers, the only ones I know are from my previous critique groups – three of whom are already participating in this hop, and the others I contacted weren’t ready to share about their work. But I won’t leave you empty-handed. In addition to sharing Holly and Loretta’s blogs, I’d like to also direct you to another writer from my critique group, Lisa Koosis, and her blog Writing on Thin Ice. And of course, if you haven’t seen it already, please check out my blog about life in Lebanon!


2 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing (Week 19)

  1. Oh Amy, I’ve thought about your book so often over the last year or so and I’ve been wondering how it was going, so it was great to see your blog post about it. Back in our critique group, reading your pages always transported me to another place. I loved that! Best of luck finishing Lauren’s story…and thank you for linking my blog. 🙂

  2. Amy, I can’t wait for you to finish this novel. I absolutely love your story and I’m sure once it’s finished you’ll have no trouble finding an agent and getting it published! 🙂

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