This is The Next Big Thing, an ever-expanding circle of writers answering the same (or variations on the same) questions about their next writing project. I was tagged by Donna Vorreyer, whose blog Put Words Together. Make Meaning. should be in every writer's bookmark folder (or favorites list or RSS feed or however you like to do these things). Donna's answers to these questions can be found here:
but I highly recommend taking the time to dig through the archives—you can thank me later.
Below, I answer questions about my upcoming chapbook Dear Turquoise, and after that you'll find links to the blogs of the writers who have accepted my invitation to participate.
What is your working title of your book (or story)?
It's called Dear Turquoise.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
When I write it out, it sounds ridiculous. As a coping mechanism while my cousin Turquoise was dying, I started writing epistolary poems to/for her. At the time, I didn't know if they would amount to anything. And I titled all of them "Dear Turquoise," because I couldn't think clearly enough about them to work through titles.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hunh. That's a good question. Turquoise was an actress, and I honestly can't imagine anyone else playing her. She was truly unique—and I mean that modifier. Too many people use "unique" to mean "different," but she was 100% original. My high school acting days are long behind me, though, so I'd have to come up with someone…maybe Camryn Manheim? Without all the upper-ear piercings.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Everything changes, and nothing does. OK, so that's not really a synopsis, but hey. It's poetry. It doesn't take that long to read for content.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? (if this applies - otherwise, make up another question to answer!)
It's coming out from Dancing Girl Press.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Some of the poems came very quickly. Some of them had been looking for the right grouping for a while. It didn't take long to pull the manuscript together once the poems were there, though—I had the rough cut ready in a single evening. If only everything went that smoothly!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are so many great poems (and collections) about grief. Donald Hall's Without is probably my favorite, but I don't know if I'd compare it except to say that they both deal with the process of grief rather than sticking to its aftermath. The anticipation of grief, what do we call that? Pre-grieving?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I don't know what inspired me to put these particular poems together. The chapbook itself is 20 poems, a quarter of which are "Dear Turquoise" poems. I have another 20 or so "Dear Turquoise" poems that aren't in this chapbook, but will end up somewhere else. She was, and remains, such an innate presence in my life that even now I can't imagine the world without her—I can't imagine the very world I'm currently living in. It baffles me to think that she isn't here anymore. As I was writing the poems, it occurred to me that I was trying to prepare myself for that somehow. I wrote one or two poems for her after she died, but the vast majority are poems of wrestling with that failure of my imagination.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
It's sad but not, I think, navel-gazingly so. Without beauty, there's no loss, right? There's definitely an appreciation of the beautiful in this chapbook.
So that's the story from me. Next week, you can check out the posts of some of my writer friends:
Mary Harwood will be writing about getting her novel Deer Apples ready for an agent at her new blog On Writing and Life.
Rebecca Longster will be answering questions about her first novel Shadows Present at Renaissance Woman Ink.
Kathleen Clancy will be talking about Robbing the Dollhouse at her new blog Cartographers of Randomness.
Jessica Bane Robert, proprietress of the fabulous Barred Owl Retreat, will be writing about her memoir and the retreat itself at the BOR website—it's an amazing creative retreat that welcomes all sorts of artists and anyone else who needs a little restoration, plus serves as a meeting space for various groups. I've held a couple of workshops there (more to come!) and can't recommend it enough.
I'll post links to their answers as they get posted.