The Next Big Thing…

Rachel Gold was nice enough to start us off on  this, so I’m carrying forward. As Rachel said, I don’t think I’m the “next big thing,” but I think this is a great chance to meet new authors. I’ve linked to Rachel’s site above, and since I feel as if I struck gold in “discovering” MB Panichi, I’m linking to her as well. My “second” author (Rachel doesn’t count as she added me) is the wonderful Erica Abbott.

Each author fills out a short blog interview like the one you see below and then recommends a few other authors with upcoming projects.

So without further ado, here’s my response to this blog hopping interview:

What is the working title of your next book?

Celtic Tide

Where did the idea come from for the book?

There’s a folk song about the women in Dundee, Scotland, who kept the village fed and basically alive during extremely lean years at the turn of the century.  As a musician and a writer, I wanted to explore that…the basis for men (the traditional singers of folk songs) to write a song about the efforts of women. To make it relevant to today, one of my characters is an ethnomusicologist, a careers I’d have loved to tackle had I the talent.

I have a terrific source in my aunt who is in fact a musicologist and music historian, so I’m excited to be in the middle of this project.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary romance.

What is the synopsis or blurb of your book?

Celtic Tide is the story of Grace O’Malley, an American musician and researcher who has run away to Ireland to escape her troubles, and Anne Flaherty, the woman who rights Grace’s upside-down world.  Though she tells herself she is simply “expanding her research opportunities,” Grace, a 35-year-old music professor, is hiding.  The scandal that rocked her small-town college shattered her confidence and broke her heart, and she wants nothing more than to tuck herself away in the small village of An Daingean (Dingle), Ireland—the village in which her grandfather grew up.

Anne Flaherty has lived in the village of An Daingean all of her life, save for two brief years away at Trinity College, Dublin.  Her time at Trinity was bittersweet, allowing her to grow and build her musical range, but battering both her confidence and her gentle heart.  A Catholic struggling with her own demons, she resists her growing attraction to the American musician, insisting on a platonic friendship, despite wanting . . . and needing . . . more.

This is Grace and Anne’s story.  Neither is looking for love and both have been deeply hurt.  Together they will heal each other and themselves, and begin to build a friendship that can only deepen into love.  This is a story that can only be told here, in Dingle, Ireland, where the endless days of summer are painted in fairylike light and the music of a community blends with the rhythm of life and love to make magic happen.

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

Wow. Um…I’m terrible at this part since I don’t see a lot of movies or watch a lot of TV. Let’s see…nope. I’ve got nuthin.’

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

Bella published my first book and graciously accepted this, my second.

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

Hmm…hard to quantify, because I don’t write full-time. Truthfully, I’m still hammering out the last parts of the manuscript, but I think…yes, if I had to quantify, I’d say about six months.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

This is similar to the “get the idea…” question, but I’ll answer this: what inspired me to set it in Ireland? We took a trip to Ireland a few years ago and I fell in love with the village of Dingle (An Daingean). The pub in which Grace meets Anne is a real place. Most of the characters in the book are based upon real people from the village.

As for why Ireland and not Scotland, I wanted the book set in Ireland, but the song that inspired the story, the Women of Dundee, is set, of course, in Scotland. In working out why Grace is in Ireland and not Scotland, I also found a good deal of Grace…her reasons for moving around, her spinta.

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

There’s romance, there’s music, there’s self-discovery (though this is not a coming-out story, per se).

Here are the writers whose work you can check out next:

If you’re a fan of women in uniform, Erica Abbott’s Fragmentary Blue is for you. Erica writes a tight, well-plotted tale, and her knowledge of the legal system adds terrific depth and texture to the story without being overwhelming.

I was lucky enough to be the Golden Crown Literary Society mentor to a bright new author, MB Panichi. MaryBeth’s debut novel, Saving Morgan, is due out in Fall of 2013. The best part of mentoring is the chance to read terrific new talent long before anyone else gets to.  Saving Morgan is a taught, well-crafted sci-fi story that I cannot wait to hold in my hands. The only problem I have with having read her manuscript so early is that I have to wait that much longer for the sequel.

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Look! It’s Here! My Book Cover!

It’s Sunday night, it’s raining (again) here in Southern California, and I’m home alone. Just me and the dog…so, not so alone, I guess.

Is it wrong that I’m enjoying this so much? *Looks around guiltily.*

S. is still in Guatemala, so I did what any self-respecting spouse would do while she is away. I spent Friday rearranging the house. Well, not so much the house as the master bedroom and the living room. Put the treadmill in one spot, put the big comfy chair in another. So now when I (or anyone else in the house) wants to work out, the rest of us can simply lock that person into one room at the far end of the house. Works great and has forced me to use the thing more, too, which is good (and was quite necessary).

What else? Saturday morning was an early start to get M. off to his flight to Texas (only to find out hours later that he’d only made it as far as Vegas before the Gods of Thunderstorms closed all flights in and out of Dallas. He eventually made it, 24 hours later than planned). Since I was already up I stayed up to organize and pay bills.

Ick. Seriously. Iiiiick. Bleh.

Saturday afternoon was spent grading all of the assignments I had pending for a class that finished last Tuesday (thank God!). 24 students multiplied by 5 assignments=long afternoon. But, grades are posted for that class, hurrah!

Saturday evening I had dinner with a friend, but first braved CostCo. I know! On a Saturday! What was I thinking! *Shakes head.* Then, later that night, did a really stupid thing. Started a friend’s book. I think I finally fell asleep around 5 am. That was really dumb.

Sunday. Ahhh, Sunday. Spent the day with various football games on while I worked, then stopped work in time to see my DirecTV HD signal die, JUST as the Packer/Viking game was kicking off.

S.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y.   T.i.c.k.e.d.

Oh yes. Ticked.

Went into S’s office (next biggest TV) and watched the first half there while on the fruitless customer service call with DTV. For more on their “customer service,” check out a past blog on the Olympic Games. Anyway, after convincing the woman that I did not, in fact, plan on crawling up on my roof while A) alone in my home with nobody to call 911 when I fell; and B) in the pouring rain, we agreed that she’d do as I’d initially asked and send out a service tech.

On Wednesday.

Between 8 and noon.

Murphy says the guy will get here at 11:55 am.

So…all TV’s are off again (ahh, blissful silence), the rain is pattering down outside, and my classwork is prepped for the week. We won’t discuss the doctoral reading/writing I didn’t even touch this weekend. I’m pretty much doing the minimum on that whole thing right now.

And I will never again (repeat after me) schedule myself to teach 21 units in a semester again, even when I am not writing a dissertation. And a book.

Aha! Which leads me to the very best part!

Beautiful cover designed for me by the great Linda Callaghan. The book will be available from Bella Books in spring, 2011

How. Freakin.’ Cool. Is. That!