The Next Big Thing – A Challenge

18 02 2013

Washington farmland

Washington farmland

My good friend and fellow writer, Joe Roper (aka J.R. Roper) has tagged me in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Scary, but here it goes. Joe has written a trilogy, Treasure Hunter Tales, and has several short stories out there waiting for publication. I’ve been privileged to help in the revision process of Treasure Hunter Tales, and I can tell you first-hand that Joe has a good series going. Any day now he’ll get an offer from an agent.

So here is my part of the challenge: several questions about my latest book, The Last Good Summer.

1. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Believe it or not, it came from an improv session with a very talented presenter, Mary Jane Pories, who had us conjure up a character, and then become that person. Mine was Will Thompson, a seventy-something farmer in Washington state. My personal memories of growing up on a farm in small-town rural Washington helped a great deal with details of country life and quirky personalities.

2. What genre does your book fall under?

I think it would be considered literary fiction.

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

That’s a tough one. I have such distinct images in my mind as to what Will Thompson and Romy Smithfield look like that it would be a hard call.

4. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A terminal brain tumor prompts a young woman to start over by moving west, where she becomes a catalyst in the lives of several unique characters living in a small town and forms relationships she never dreamed she’d have.

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

I’m hoping to obtain representation for the novel. Self-publishing might be an alternative down the road if my book isn’t picked up by an agent.

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

About six months for the original draft, but several months beyond that to get it to a place where I feel it is nearly ready.

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

Since the story is mainly character driven, I’d hope to be compared to Lee Martin, though his stories are much darker and more complex than mine. His stories are set, for the most part, in midwestern farm country, a similar setting to that of Washington.

8. Who or what inspired you to write this story?

I think it was a combination of the character development done through Mary Jane’s workshop and the title, which was suggested by my friend Marcia Veldman. The story grew out of those two things.

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

The story is set in the 1970’s and will be relatable for those who lived in that era. Many people who have either lived on a farm or had relatives who owned one will appreciate the landscape I’ve built into the story. It’s a real-life kind of plot with a bitter-sweet ending, but that’s life, isn’t it?

Wow, Joe, this was quite a challenge! Next on the agenda are:

Cristina Van Wieren, who is writing a YA book about a young person trying to adapt to gender confusion. Her honest, yet tender handling of a difficult subject will help parents understand their struggling child, and will hopefully create more tolerance in middle school settings.

Sarah Schmitt, a talented writer whose stories lend themselves to the world of magic and are geared to the YA audience. Lots of twists and turns in the series she’s working on. No one falls asleep on Sarah’s watch!

Andrea Dunn-Sosa, whose book, Connected, is still in the working stages but addresses the premise of how each person’s action can have an effect on another and can change the course of that person’s life, either for good or ill. It reminds me of that six degrees of separation theory, and is reminiscent of Olive Kittridge.



5 responses

18 02 2013

Reblogged this on gefry777.

18 02 2013
Terri DeVries

Thanks for reblogging me! We writers can use all the help out there!

18 02 2013
Mary Elizabeth Hall

Hi, Terri. Your book sounds fascinating. I especially like that it grew out of an improv session. I was tagged in the Next Big Thing hop too – come check out my Christian romance called Amberlly!

18 02 2013
Terri DeVries

Thank you for your response. I will definitely check out your book!

20 02 2013
J.R. Roper

Can’t wait to read this book! You rock, Terri!

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