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No one knows how it started -- I don't, at least -- but writers are linking from blog to blog in a virtual game of 'tag, you're it.' 

In this 10-question interview, writers talk about the Next Big Thing they’re working on, then tag five other writers, each of whom does the same, tagging another five, and so on and so on...a kind of literary chain letter, only not annoying, but fascinating. Really.

For writers, it's an opportunity to share work-in-progress, perhaps refining an idea that hasn't quite taken full shape or revealing a book in the final stages of editing.  For readers, these linked blogs offer a chance to 'look behind the curtain' of the writer's imagination - to see stories before they become books, discovering what inspires and shapes them.

My thanks to novelist, poet and essayist Diana Fitzgerald Bryden for tagging me. 

At the end of this post, I've tagged a few other writers you might want to get to know. Visit their blogs and you may just discover a work-in-progress destined to become the 'next big thing' to read on your bookshelf or e-reader.

So.

Here goes...

What is your working title of your book?
Moving Parts 

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I started writing short stories and they started to add up.  Now there are almost enough for a book.

What genre does your book fall under?
Short story collection.  Fiction.  Short fiction.  

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
If the story, Moving Parts got made into a feature, I think Keira Knightley and Jason Segel would make a good Edie and Ditch, a nerdy pair of star crossed lovers who met in a grocery store line up. There are also several linked stories, that could be a collection of short films where Frances McDormand would be a perfect Yvonne, the neurotic, bug-eyed, dog-loving narrator.  If Let Me Call You Lovely were a movie, Fred Willard should play Uncle Nick, Jennifer Coolige for the role of Charlene and Michael Cera as Jeremy.  My friend's cat, Rockford, could play Jarslberg (see photo below). 
Apart from Cera and the cat, I wish I knew more Canadian actors who fit these roles. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In this collection of stories about striving and longing, sad yet hilarious characters encounter truth, fear, and love in their own peculiar ways; through speculation on the private lives of strangers, through imaginative digressions from the mundane and through careful observation of the ordinary.
A bit rambly, but that's the gist of it.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
To be announced.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Still in the works.  Going on three years. 

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

As an emerging writer I am going to shamelessly compare my work to writers I admire and their books that inspire me, which include Do the Windows Open? by Julie Hecht,  And Also Sharks by
Jessica Westhead, No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories by Miranda July, Open by Lisa Moore, and Pastoralia by George Saunders.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Reading the books listed above.  And, in a way, I was inspired to write these stories because I am fascinated by human behavior.  I notice a lot of weird shit and want to know more about it.  Examine it. Dissect it.  Laugh with it.  Live with it.  Survive it. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My writing has been noted as:
“…remarkably assured prose and full of unexpected and wonderfully bizarre detail.” – Grace O’Connell
“…hilarious, smart, cutting, wry, careful, moving…” - Sarah Selecky
“…rich in voice, satisfying in narrative…” - Zsuzsi Gartner
“…compelling...with surprising leaps of imagination…” – Jessica Westhead and Matthew J. Trafford

Below is a short excerpt from Let Me Call You Lovely, winner of the 2012 Random House Creative Writing Award through The School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto.

***
Uncle Nick had named all the cats after cheeses.  Gouda, Brie, Kojak (from Colby-Jack) and Zola, (short for Gorgonzola).  They were all adoptions from The Toronto Cat Rescue, except Zola who came from the Internet.
“Have you seen that Kajiji?” Nick said to Jeremy, “Every five minutes another goddamn animal goes up for adoption.”
Last month, there was a new one.  Neither a rescue nor an adoption, but a little orange stray that started hanging around the yard.  Nick let her in and started feeding her.  He called her Jarlsberg. Jarlsberg had taken to sleeping in the basement with Jeremy. Repeatedly, he had woke to the cat curled up beside his head, purring in his ear. Not only did she sit outside the bathroom door while Jeremy showered, the cat followed him around while he dressed and stared at him while he watched The Dragon’s Den on his laptop. She would carry bits of particleboard from upstairs in her mouth and drop them at Jeremy’s feet and wait.  When Jeremy kicked the scrap wood away, Jarslberg would bat it around the room then bring it back to Jeremy’s feet.  She’d stare at it until Jeremy kicked it for her again.
Nick and Charlene had been renovating for the last nine years.  Any time Jeremy had stopped in with his mother to see Uncle Nick, the place was in a new state of disarray. Sheets of drywall were stacked against frames of two by fours in the dining room. An unfinished kitchen floor was lined with buckets of plaster.   Loose wires sprouted from light fixtures that were not fully installed.  But visitors were always welcome.  Nick would throw a sheet of plastic on the dining room table and offer them herbal tea and some gluten free cake or cookie--Charlene was allergic. 
It was difficult to have conversations with Nick and Charlene because they often spoke at the same time.
            “We’re going to work on the bathroom this week,” he’d say.
And Charlene, “Nicky’s changed his mind about the layout again.”
Nick loved anything with stained glass so the windows were the only parts of house that were finished. The front door housed a particularly intricate landscape design along with a small window beside it that was made of a combination of orange and yellow stars.  The three tall windows in the dining room contained sections of coloured glass that cast patterns on the plastic liner where they drank their tea.
“Isn’t it the most lovely and amazing thing?” Charlene said.
And Nick, “Would you look at that goddamn light.” 

*** 



And now I’m tagging a few talented writers. Visit their sites and find out about them and their work.  

Christna Fletcher

I had hoped to get five writers, but didn't.  
Some may still show up so come back.

Message for tagged authors:
Rules of the Next Big Thing

***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five (or as many as you can) other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
Be sure to line up your five people in advance.