I was invited to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Tour by the very wonderful Luciana Cavallaro. Luciana is author of the novels The Legacy and The Inheritors (book one and two respectively) and two short stories, The Curse of Troy and Aphrodite’s Curse. Aphrodite’s Curse is already published on Amazon and Smashwords.com while The Curse of Troy is set to be available on both in January. Check out her blog and answers at: http://luccav.com/
- What is the working title of your book?
Future Memories: Prelude (the first of a two book set) and Once Upon a Time.
2) Where did the idea come from for your book?
Ideas generally come to me during random times in random places (I suspect the same is true for most fiction writers), though I can’t pinpoint the exact moment or idea that sparked either novel. I had images from uncreated chapters and conversations between nameless characters playing out in my head that followed me to the shower, on my drive home from work, when I closed my eyes to sleep, and even when looking at a pile of dirty laundry. I began writing both books simply to get these mindscapes into some tangible form beyond my head. The thought of those same scenes and conversations accumulating into novels was more of a slow realization as the typed-up paragraphs transcribed from my scribblings began turning into pages and chapters.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Both fit comfortably under the umbrella genre of Speculative Fiction. Once has more of a fantasy flavor while FM is much more straight science fiction. FM is actually geared in the direction of being a Christian Speculative Fiction novel (I’m not making that word up, that is a real genre), but only one of the main characters distinctly holds a Christian world view.
4) Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?
In the movie rendition? Ooooohhhh, wowzers – that would be very cool but no clue. That being said, there’s been at least one instance when I’ve passed by someone in the grocery store or whatnot and marveled at how much they looked like what I envision a particular character to look like. Unfortunately, going up to a complete stranger and telling them they happen to share a remarkable resemblance to someone in a story you’re writing is not likely the best way to make new friends so I restrained myself from telling them so.
5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Future Memories: Prelude: One man begins life over, another attempts to evade love, while a third tries to uphold faith in humanity and God despite technology possessing all trust.
Once Upon a Time: A band of heroes that includes vampires and zombies tries to save their world from the real monsters.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Once will definitely be self-pub but the hopeful goal of FM is to go the traditional route.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
This is actually more than a little embarrassing for both.
For Future Memories, the very first formation of scenes involving some of the main characters were scribbled on pieces of paper back in 2006. Then begin the unfortunate trend of a very erratic and unproductive schedule. I might type a paragraph, not touch the story again for another month or two, type up a completely unrelated scene, leave the “manuscript” alone again for about four months, come back, etc. I would not recommend this writing process to anyone actually hoping to complete a novel but, as I said, that wasn’t the intention when I first put pen to paper. The very first draft was very different from the current version (which all first drafts should be).
For the character Jared in particular, I’m actually grateful there has been so much time from the first paragraph I wrote involving him to now. Jared was born with Down syndrome and, due to the state of things on Earth in the story, forced to have an intelligence implant as a result. When we first meet him, he’s essentially a genius. Without giving too much away, this implant is no longer operative during the majority of the second book and he must rely on his natural abilities and wisdom (his God-given abilities versus what was artificially available). When I first wrote how Jared spoke and acted in the former case, I had no experience with any sort of cognitive disability, much less Down syndrome. Even though I researched the condition in attempt to present an accurate representation, I failed. Common sense would dictate, “Well, okay then, don’t give your character a particular characteristic that you know little to nothing about.” However, this was one of those rare instances when my characters just weren’t going to give me much say in the matter. As fate would have it, I later fell into the human services field and began working at nonprofits that provide vocational support to individuals with disabilities. As I worked with and got to know people who actually have Down syndrome, I realized how unintentionally stereotypical I’d made Jared. As shameful as the almost seven years span of time is, time turned out to be a needed ingredient to the novel as a whole – much like the difference between cooking some chili for a couple hours and letting it simmer all day on the stove.
For Once Upon a Time, the beginnings actually go back even further because I remember typing up the first story scribbles while sitting on the floor of my first apartment (I didn’t’ own a chair and the computer resided on a makeshift table at the time), which places that starting point around 2003 or early 2004. Like FM, those initial first scenes and character conversations were quite different from what exists now. Unlike FM, there was a much longer hiatus from those first bits and pieces of a story and it’s only been within the past year that I finally sat back down and really started making it into a cohesive manuscript.
8) What other books would you compare this story to?
Future Memories: Prelude: Perhaps the best description would be Flowers for Algernon meets Winterflight. If it’s okay to include a movie, there’s a little hint of Alien Nation in the mix also.
Once Upon a Time: It’s like a Grimms’ fairy tale with a bit more quirk than grim. The only book that immediately comes to mind for comparison is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
9) Who or what inspired you to write the book?
Largely, this is the same answer as #2.
10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
For Future Memories: Prelude: When my husband read the first draft, he teased me for having a few undesired similarities to the show Futurama. Even though waves of editing have eradicated most of these, the novel will probably still be a hit with any Futurama fan. Hey, it’s set in the future, there’s aliens, space travel, robots, and technological marvels galore (but, alas, no Jamaican bureaucrats). The second novel that continues the story will have many of the same characters but also include a love story a la Romeo and Juliet for any romantics out there.
For Once Upon a Time: While the blog posts have been (and will continue to be) more on the humorous side of dark humor, another version is planned that will include more serious themes.
The questions I’ve answered above are meant to be forwarded on to other interested writers, allowing the blog tour to continue on. I was admittedly a little late in realizing the chain effect and even later in contacting other folks to gauge their interest in participating. With the hectic craziness that comes with this being a week sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s, I’m not certain how quickly I will be getting responses. However, I would like to include links to a few writers here. These people may or may not wish to do the interview thing but take a looksie at their site either way!