The Next Big Thing

Thank you to the lovely and talented Daniel Perry (who recently finished the first draft of his short fiction collection!) for linking me into this chain. It's always fun to answer questions on stuff you're writing... a good way to pretend it exists outside of your own head/computer.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Still Mine

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

Nowhere? I'm not sure. When I signed up for the 2010 Muskoka Novel Writing Marathon, a friend of mine suggested I have a go at writing a mystery/thriller. Over that weekend, I tossed out 10000 words (50 pages) of a novel about a missing woman. Who knew I had it in me? Amazingly, the novel won the fiction category in the contest, and the feedback from the judges was very positive. So I figured, keep at it...

3) What genre does it fall under?

Hard to say. Mystery. Literary Thriller.

4) Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie version?

Funny you ask! Because I've already got it all figured out. Helps with the visuals as I write.

Jennifer Lawrence as Clare.

Michael Fassbender as Malcolm.

Jessica Chastain as Shayna.

Taylor Kitsch as Jared.

Tommy Lee Jones as Wilfred.

Lena Dunham as Sara.

Julie Christie as Louise.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?

Clare O'Dey arrives in a dying mining town to search for a missing woman she's never met.

6) Will the book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I have an agent - Chris Bucci with Anne McDermid and Associates - so that's a good start. Will it be published? I hope so!

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

I started the first dabbles in July 2010 at the marathon, and submitted the very first completed draft to my thesis advisor (the book was the thesis for my MFA) in February, 2012. But I had a baby in between, so I wasn't always writing. I'd say a year. But now I've been rewriting it for almost a year, and my crystal ball tells me it isn't nearly done. I'm guessing three years will pass between first word on the page and the day I decide it's done. Most writers will probably agree that the first draft amounts to 40% (if that) of the total work.

8) What other books would you compare yours to?

If my book were published, I would ask Dennis Lehane and Kate Atkinson to read it and hope they didn't find it a piece of s**t.

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

I had to write something for my MFA. Something book-length. That was a good incentive. In 2000 I did the year-of-travel thing and somewhere in a desert in Australia I sat around a fire with 5 other twenty-somethings and wrote out a bucket list. Number one on that list was to write a book. That was also good incentive. Numbers 2 was to get married and 3, to have kids. Done and done! However, number 18 was to run a marathon and number 32 was to see the Leafs win a Cup -  so I guarantee you the streak will end.

10) What else about your book might pique a reader's interest?

The story has a lot of plot, which is hard to manage as a writer. Writing this book has exponentially increased my respect for mystery and thriller writers. Weaving your way through all the plot and red herrings and false leads, etc... but also making room for characterization and good writing. Too hard.

I'm hoping any reader will keep reading because s/he wants to know how it ends, and then when it ends, s/he won't want to throw the book across a room in disgust.

Also, it's the first book in a series. I plan to write more of them.

Now, go read:

CRG (Chris Graham)


Jonathan Mendelsohn