Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Next Big Thing

My friend Rick Daley sent me one of those interwebloggy meme things, which I usually avoid but, you know, it turns out to be an opportunity to talk about myself and that, Reader, is something I cannot resist. The meme thing is called "the next big thing" and concerns the piece I'm currently writing. The form of the meme thing is that of questions and answers. Not quite a Socratic dialogue, and I will likely only answer those questions that amuse me. And so, onward.

What is the title of your next book?
Mona in the Desert

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I don't know, really. I had an image bouncing around in my head, of a woman dressed circa 1950, walking down a highway in the American southwest, heading toward some sort of confrontation. While I was working on a project centered around attempting to find the oldest memories I have, the image of this woman presented itself again and I saw that I could combine the search for memories with the tale of this woman in the desert.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I am not there yet; I've got, I figure, about 10,000 more words to write. If you look in my briefcase, inside the front cover of the spiral notebook in which I'm writing this novel, you'll find a small stack of color-coded index cards. On these cards is the outline for the end of the novel. So I just need to sit down and turn those 12 or so cards into 10,000 words of beautiful prose. A couple of weeks, I guess. I started this project around the end of July.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
An aging writer about to leave his wife constructs fictionalized histories of his family members, focusing on the repeated instances of failed relationships; three primary story lines move in parallel over the length of the narrative. Think Finnegans Wake meets Pride and Prejudice. That won't help you imagine my book, but it's still fun to think about.


  1. Wow, and all this time I thought Mona was about something else entirely. I knew you were playing with memories, but this sounds intriguing.

    I got tagged by Rick too. Actually I was tagged about 4 other times and ignored them. Sneaky Rick sent me an email, so I feel compelled to do it.

  2. The narrator guy, the framing story, emerges from the background. I didn't realize myself what was going on until I sat and typed that little premise paragraph. A better way, maybe, to say what the book is "about" is to say that it's the story of how Olive and Desdemona O'Hurleighy, two sisters in Washington DC, meet and marry their husbands and how those marriages don't work out.

    The story is buttressed on all sides by allusions to classic literature. Also, there's a witch.

  3. Glad to see you rose to the challenge. Behold the power of the snarky request, it conquers all.

    Good luck with the final 10k...

  4. I'm pretty starved to read something new by you, so I desperately hope you send me this book when you're finished.

    *not so subtle hints by Ivana*

  5. Rick, thanks! And I expect you to have a first draft soon, too. Damn it.

    Ivana, sometime in February (probably) I'll send you a version of Go Home, Miss America. I will have to let Mona stew awhile before anyone can read her. But you'll have something new from me soon, honest!

  6. Scott, I appreciate you accepting that I think of you as my personal Awesome Novel Machine. ;)