The Next Big Thing!
If you’re here, chances are you’ve come from author J.D. Favor’s blog where she gave you juicy details on her works in progress. She’s one busy lady! http://www.jdfaver.com/1/post/2012/11/the-next-big-thing.html If you’ve stopped here by chance or because you’ve subscribed to my blog, then please check out J. D.’s link and the links at the end. I’ll add more as the week goes on. There are some really great books in the making.
How this all started…I’ve mentioned before how much I love words. I Collect them. My book shelves are filled with dictionaries, thesauri, and word origin books. I once had this fabulous 1880′s set of Cyclopedic Dictionaries with every word known to the English language, and I do mean every word. The local library was throwing it away. Can you imagine? True, it was missing half of all the G words. Really though, how many G words does one need to know? The other volumes, with their ratty and haphazardly taped bindings were still there. Homely as it was, this set made Miriam and Noah’s dictionaries look incomplete. I took them home and loved them.
One day my husband found bookworms on our bookshelf, honest-to-god bookworms! My precious old Cyclopedias were the source. It broke my heart to get rid of them but their parasites were attacking other books as well. I thought about putting them in the oven but they were so old and brittle I was sure I’d burn the house down. I wonder if another set is out there waiting for a Wordie like me.
This fascination with words all started with the Reader’s Digest. As a very early reader growing up in a house with few books, I read the strangest things as a child. I could tell you the recipe for the Quaker Oatmeal meatloaf because it was on the box. I could tell you what the Surgeon General said about smoking from my parent’s cigarette packs, I could list the songs on the back of the Beatles’ first album, I could literally Sing Along with Mitch, and yes the cans of Alpo dog food really did have horse meat in them. As far as books went, we had an ancient set of encyclopedias that had these fascinating transparencies of both human and frog bodies, a partial set of Childcraft books from the 1950′s, an old Webster’s Dictionary, as well as a partial 1930′s set of My Book House books with their imaginative lithographs. My brother had comic books. I read them all. Most more than once.
In the first ten years of my life, the Chicago Tribune came to my house in the morning and the Daily News arrived early afternoon. My father and I read both newspapers together on Sunday. It was a ritual of sorts. We’d divide the papers…he’d take the front page and car sections and I’d take the “funnies” and the sports page (Cubs and Sox fan). We’d read those quietly to ourselves, then we’d switch. I remember lying on my belly in the shaft of sunlight just behind the sofa and reading words that weren’t all understandable to my six-year-old or nine-year-old self.
“Dad, what is a demilitarized zone?”
“It’s a border between armies where no fighting takes place.”
“Dad, who’s Chairman Mao?”
“He is the leader of China.”
“Is Chairman his first name?”
“No, that’s his job. A chairman is the same as a president here.”
“Does he have a first name?”
“Read the article again and see if you can find it.”
“Oh, I think see it. His name is Mao Zadong. Isn’t that backwards?”
It makes me smile even remembering. When he’d had enough he say, “Come do the crossword puzzle with me.” My smile widens here. Up until he passed away, dad would bring me a stack of old Reader’s Digests and a half-finished crossword puzzle to finish nearly every time he stopped by to visit. We’d finish that sucker too and always use a pencil just in case.
By far the most interesting reading material in the house was my dad’s Reader’s Digest. I cut my teeth on Build Your Word Power. Every month Reader’s Digest put out a list of words intended to build one’s vocabulary. From ages six (and on into my thirties when he’d come to visit), he’d hand me the digest with the Build Your Word Power page marked and say, “Here, these are for you.” At his suggestion, I’d try to break them down and guess their meanings before I turned the page to read their definitions. It was here, where I saw for the first time, the relationship between words. Words with Latin or Greek roots like Cardinal, Cardiac, and Cardamom — red bird, red heart, red berries – they were all red. Unfortunately, by the time Latin class was supposed to come my way, it was cut from the public school budget. I would have kicked butt in ancient languages. I’ve self-taught the basics but would love a go at ancient Greek and Latin classes. I might do that one day.
So what do I do with all those words stored in my head? I write of course!
Here’s another brainstorm for The Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Loving Leonardo – The Quest * part two in a two-part novel
Part one’s blurb:
Bound by limits dictated by society, Art Historian Nicolas Halstead lived a guarded life until a tempest in the form of Elenora Schwaab blew into his world. At first Nicolas can’t decide if the audacious American is simply mad or plotting blackmail for not only does she declare knowledge of his homosexuality, she offers him a marriage proposal.
After Ellie tells him of a previously unknown work of Leonardo da Vinci, a book of erotic love poems and sketches dedicated to the artist’s long-time lover Salai, Nicolas joins her in a race to save the book from destruction. Along the way they encounter Historian Luca Franco and discover a comfortable compatibility that comes to redefine their long-held notions of love. The trio embarks on an adventure of sensual discovery, intrigue, and danger. Little do they know Leonardo da Vinci’s book is far more than meets the eye.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Oddly enough, from today’s headlines.
What genre does your book fall under?
Romance and the sub-genres are erotic and historical
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I generally don’t put well-known faces on my characters. I think it would muddy the waters of the creative process. For example, I found James McAvoy quite the compelling fellow in the movie Atonement. If I envisioned him for one of my characters, I’m afraid that his portrayal of Robbie Turner would unwittingly put those personality traits he acted so well into my character development. My heroes and heroines need a clean slate to evolve on. In the spirit of The Next Big Thing, I’ve chosen two handsome male models for Nicolas and Luca. Luca is the darker Mediterranean man with those gorgeous eyes. And I choose Emma Watson for her general plucky attitude and waifish figure to portray Ellie.
Conte Acario Bruno, my story’s adversary, will be portrayed by handsome Indian actor Hrithik Roshan. My bad guy is Italian, but Hrithik Roshan’s fine features speak to Acario Bruno’s conceited and dangerous personality.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Three Victorian lovers follow a book of clues written by Leonardo da Vinci, but don’t realize their every move is tracked by an obsessed man seeking vengeance.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I have two agency-represented books out now and book one of this tale is self-published. Self-publishing was surprisingly easy. I’ll be doing it again for book two.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
My books tend to write themselves. Part one took about three days. This book is going slower because the characters demand a deeper storyline here. I’d say I’m 98% done. It’s all in the wrap up now.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’ve never read a love story with three players. I have nothing to compare it to
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My friend and fellow author Jane Leopold Quinn lit the fuse. She’d recently stepped outside the box and wrote a gay love story that was very well received. As the topic of tolerance speaks to my social conscience, I thought I’d give it a go.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
As a reader, I like to read books that feel like they were written just for me. I also enjoy books with little extras tucked here and there because I’m a life-long learner and anything that can feed this habit of mine is like winning a prize. To put it simply, I’m a picky reader who writes books that I’d personally enjoy reading.
As far as extras tucked here and there – both books in the series are filled with art references. I grew up with the Chicago Art Institute in my backyard and actually once considered a career in that direction. There are times when I look at artworks and keenly feel the emotion of the artist. There are times when art can make me cry. In this respect, Nicolas Halstead, the main observer in this romantic tale, carries my empathy. It’s through his perspective that we see and feel his world. An art historian by profession, Nicolas can’t help but compare life to art. Because of this, he leaves many references to artists and artworks scattered throughout the pages of both books. When writing, I chose each and every artwork carefully to convey the emotion Nicolas feels in the moment. It isn’t necessary for the reader to look them up, though to see what he sees will certainly add color to the tale.
Anyone following my blog has read that I am an information hound. I research the details for my novels with a fine-toothed comb. To my surprise while researching the very surprising details of homosexuality in Britain’s Victorian era, I came across a rather startling piece of information. Startling in that you’d never know this was the case by the intolerance seen today. Liturgical documents of the early Christian church in the 10th through 12th centuries show ceremonies for same-sex unions between men. I found it curious that the doctrine based upon love and acceptance once allowed for the many faces of love. Given this information, I also found it curious that faith is now used as an instrument of hatred and bigotry by some.
In many contemporary Western cultures these days, there are those who consider homosexuality and bisexuality to be abnormal. But the truth is both natures are seen in many species throughout the natural world including the primates of which humans belong. Historically speaking, these very human affinities have been part of every race and culture, socio-economic class and educational level, and have existed since the earliest of human societies. To some cultures this duel-nature was seen as a divine gift. Possessing two spirits was a powerful and celebrated occurrence. My tale touches upon the many shades of humanity from love and friendship to obsession and prejudice.
Thank you for stopping by my blog to read The Next Big Thing.
I have high hopes Loving Leonardo – The Quest will be exactly that. 🙂
Here’s Loving Leonardo book one on Amazon. Note: it is erotic romance and every bit a story of love.
The following links lead to talented authors offering sneak peeks into novels that just might be The Next Big Thing. I will be switching out the authors and their blog addresses as the new ones with new posts come to me this week. In the meantime….
Edward Collins: http://edwardcollinsauthor.wordpress.com/
Sam Crescent: http://samcrescent.wordpress.com/
Crystal Drake: http://www.CrystalDrakeBooks.com/
Loc Glin: http://locglin.com/
Allyson Young: http://yourdarkersideoflove.blogspot.ca/
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During the week of December 9th, I’m participating in The Romance Reviews’ big Year End Splash Party! Join me and more than 300 authors and publishers for a month of goodies. There are hundreds of excerpts (you just might find that perfect read for a cold winter’s night) And there are over 300 prizes too! Like I said, I’m there the week of December 9th. To see my part in the whole thing, I need to send you to my satellite blog: Rose Anderson’s Satellite blog on blogspot.com There you’ll find an excerpt of my newest release Loving Leonardo.
The week of December 9th my question will be posted on The Romance Reviews site. Simply find my name on the participant list. Follow the link given to my excerpt posted on my satellite blog, read it, then go back to answer my multiple choice question on The Romance Reviews site. Play the other games and amass more points and you’ll have a pretty good chance to win an ebook copy for yourself!