The Next Big Thing

You know you’re on the lookout for it. That Next Big Thing that will rock your reading world. For writers, we always have something going on. This Next Big Thing is a blog hop, from writer to writer. Indie writers tell all about their work in progress, whetting your appetite for… their next big thing! Thanks to my friend Diane Capri for tagging me and dragging me kicking and screaming into talking about my next novel.

Be sure to check out the blogs of the folks I’ve tagged at the end. Without further ado, here we go!

plan x cover mock
the real cover is… top secret

1. What is the title of your work-in-progress?

Plan X. This time the title came directly from the writing. For once I’ve never been tempted to change it! It features in the story  on a challenge coin, the kind of memento given to military to commemorate a unit or mission.

2. Where did the idea come from for the WIP?

If I knew where my ideas came from I’d be a lot better off! However… this book begins with a large explosion in Bozeman, Montana, where I lived for three years. Just before I moved there, a gas explosion rocked downtown Bozeman, wiping out almost an entire block and killing one person. My explosion is more nefarious, of course, a bomb set by a bad actor. Two people are killed, professors at Montana State who are engaged in some, um, intimate activity late at night in a science lab.

3. What genre does your book come under? 

Plan X is a mystery. It’s a police procedural. The main character is a young female police officer in Bozeman. She is tasked with finding the identity and next-of-kin for one of the victims of the bombing, a professor of Shakespeare in the English Department.

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

Hmmm. Good question. I could see somebody like Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain, tough, independent, serious, playing Cody Byrne. Cody is just back from a tour in Iraq and is struggling with emotional issues. She has a fierce sense of duty. So the actress needs to be strong with a vulnerable side. Cody is a complex character, an independent woman who doesn’t want to be quite so alone in the world.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Plan X is about a young cop whose sanity is shaken by her Iraq tour and her brother’s death as she searches for the identity of a murdered Shakespeare professor, and the father she never knew.

(You can’t believe how long it took me to write that one-sentence synopsis!)

6. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

At this point the book is still on my computer. But it will be represented by my agent, Philip Spitzer.

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

Oh, ages. I can’t really remember when I started the first draft. I spend a lot of time filling a notebook full of ideas, scraps of research, working on characters especially. I remember Meredith Blevins helping me by telling me to interview my character. That was a great idea! During the formative weeks (months…) I also do a computer diary every morning. Sue Grafton gave me that tip!

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

I was inspired, in a way, by Michael Gruber’s Book of Air and Shadows, a “literary thriller” about a lost Shakespeare play. In the end I found Air and Shadows unappealing, but the concept remained intriguing. What would happen if a new Shakespeare play was found? Would anyone believe it? Who would find it, and how? It is, of course, a lot more complicated than that in my story. The Shakespeare professor is… [cue scary music] not who he seems.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See #8. I also wanted to write a book set in Montana again, about a hometown girl who becomes a police officer. And still make that rather small stage engaging for readers, and expand the character’s reach around the world. (She goes to the UK on the search for the prof’s family.)

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

As well as the search for the professor’s identity, Cody’s family drives the story. Her mother is an English prof at Montana State, a feminist who wrote a book about the Vagina Dentata myth. (Look it up!) Although she was raised by her stepfather, a country lawyer in Ennis, her real father is a mystery to her. It turns out he has some big secrets of his own. Her brother was in the Army and killed in Afghanistan… or was he? He has a past as well. A big part of Cody’s story is her journey to find out who her father is, how to honor her brother’s memory, how to stand up to her strong — and rather scary — mother. And to figure out her ‘Man Problem.’ Yes, there’s some romance for our girl!
And that’s my Next Big Thing! Thanks Diane. And thank you all for listening. Now on to the next hop!
And here are the rules:

* Give credit to the person / blog that tagged you 
* Post the rules for the blog hop 
*Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog 
*Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

 Here are the five writers I’ve tagged. Check out their blogs and their own NEXT BIG THING!

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