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Who Is “The Next Best Thing”?

I seldom accept awards, and I don’t often write about writing. I am breaking both rules today, because Lisa Kramer from Woman Wielding Words nominated me for The Next Best Thing Award.

It’s a writing award, indicative of a belief on behalf of the nominator that the recipient will be the next best thing in writing. If I can get my freaking next best thing published by a publisher who will gamble a traditional publisher willing to make an investment, I will be happy with whatever happens.

This is an award for writers who are working on books, though one of mine should be if she is not. It is my duty to nominate five people.

Tori Nelson Young, The Ramblings Lisa nominated Tori, too, but I don’t care. I know Tori is working on a book, though I am convinced she has a World Book Encyclopedia of novels in her.

Kate Shrewsday Kate, if you are NOT working on a book, I and I-don’t-know-how-many-people-who-read-this-blog think you should be. I cannot count how many times I have heard “Yeah, I read your blog today, Andra, but KATE’S…….” And, I always agree with them.

Jessie Powell, The Jester Queen Jessie is working on at least two books that I know of, though she has a bazillion in her. I love, love, love her writing. Her fiction always surprises in an effortlessly dark way.

Susan Sheldon Nolen Susan has already submitted her book, and I am waiting with baited breath to hear the results. Both her blog and her photography teach me more about my own country and about England, both places I love.

Aquatom Tom is working on a book. Or, his personalities are working on a bunch of books together. I don’t know which, but I love his writing, and I cannot wait to see what he does with his project.

About my current project:

What is the title of your Work in Progress?

Cool Blow.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A family story + a life-long obsession with a character and place from history.

What genre does your book fall under?


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

Main Male – Brad Pitt
Main Female – Breakout Child Star Female – one of those Kirsten Dunst/Anna Paquin moments
Main Male – Harry Connick Jr.
Supporting Actress – Angelina Jolie
Supporting Actress – Kathy Bates
Supporting Actor – Robert Duvall
Supporting Actor – Philip Seymour Hoffman
Supporting Actor – Zac Efron (in two roles)
Supporting Actor – Morgan Freeman
Supporting Actor – Mandy Patinkin
Supporting Actress – Gabourey Sidibe
Supporting Actor – Harrison Ford
Supporting Actress – Shirley MacLaine

Because, you know, if I’m going to dream…………………..

What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

She’s tracing her future; can he erase his past?

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

I will try for traditional publishing first.

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

Two months.

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

This sounds preposterous, but here goes: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn meets Watership Down meets Forrest Gump.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A family legend crossed with a life-long love of both a character and a place that deserves just celebration.

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

I’ve written teasers on this blog. A little girl who has mommy issues. A man who can’t seem to die. An atmospheric Southern place, one of the oldest things we have as Americans.

You figure it out.

50 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh wow. Thank you Andra for tagging me. I didn’t realize that the girl and the suicidal man were part of your novel. That’s awesome.

    November 4, 2012
    • Character studies. None of that stuff is in the book, but the blog helped me work on voice.

      November 4, 2012
  2. Gosh Andra! Thanks for the pingback!

    November 4, 2012
  3. Congratulations! Will you still read my blog when you’re famous though? *sigh*

    November 4, 2012
    • Oh, stop. I just hope a few people will read it when the time comes.

      November 4, 2012
      • No, if you’re going to be the next BIG thing, think BIG! Dreams do happen.

        November 4, 2012
      • I’ve banked a lot of that, Cate. I’m dreaming that they do. :)

        November 4, 2012
  4. Good luck with the book.

    November 4, 2012
    • Almost done with this draft. It is going to A readers next week. :)

      November 4, 2012
  5. Thank you very much, Andra! I don’t accept these awards, but I’m always extremely grateful when I’ve been mentioned. Even the title ‘the next best thing’ is awesome… if a little daunting! No pressure then – I’ll keep on keeping on (well various Inner Selves of mine will!) ;) :D

    November 4, 2012
    • I know you don’t do awards, but I had to include you in this list anyway. :)

      November 4, 2012
  6. Oh I am so flattered! Double Whammy of flattered! Also? I have no answers for those questions! I’m still in that newbie phase where I write a whole notebook about the way one character’s apartment looks. Writing through the crap to get a few useful bits. In fact, I don’t even have a title yet. Can I get away with calling it Shitty First Draft?

    November 4, 2012
    • I think that’s a great title, and I am sure you are doing better with it than you are letting on.

      November 4, 2012
  7. Where’s the leading role of the Ninja Dudes?

    November 4, 2012
    • No ninjas in the book, Lou, but there are some fight scenes. And some gun scenes. And some chase scenes. I hope all that makes up for lack of ninjas.

      November 4, 2012
  8. Very cool. And… I know! I know!!

    I really can’t wait to read the full book.

    Although, we do need to talk about that title…. hmmm…..

    November 4, 2012
    • I like the title. Nobody in CO had a better idea.

      November 4, 2012
      • I like the title too, in general. But does it fit that book? We need to do a meetup….

        Of course we will be hanging out this coming Saturday at BarCamp anyway!

        November 4, 2012
  9. Can’t wait to read your book! :)

    November 4, 2012
    • I can’t wait for you to be able to read it, Heather.

      November 4, 2012
  10. Thanks for playing, Andra. I am so excited to read your book, and I’m going to go back and re-read the snippets you’ve posted here (when I need a break from writing, of course). And, I would so come see that movie. Can I visit you on the set?

    PS, I agree, Kate should be writing a book.

    November 4, 2012
    • The snippets aren’t in the book but were studies for it. I hope you enjoy them.

      It has been really fun to imagine some of these actors playing these characters. I think it added an extra dimension to them.

      November 4, 2012
  11. Congratulations!

    November 4, 2012
  12. VSheri #

    Congratulations! I am looking forward to your book! :-)

    November 4, 2012
  13. aguess2012 #

    This is terrific. I for one can’t wait to read your book when someone wisely signs you up!

    November 4, 2012
    • I hope they have one wise soul in publishing, and I can somehow find him/her.

      November 4, 2012
  14. WooooHOOOO!

    November 4, 2012
  15. That’s fantastic, Andra. Congratulations on the honor to you and to those you have nominated as well. Good words abound.

    November 4, 2012
  16. Cool cast for your Cool Blow cast of characters! :cool:

    Kate should consider putting together an anthology of her anthropologic posts . . . she always unearths something of interest creating creative non-fiction at its best.

    November 4, 2012
    • For a couple of them, I really have imagined the actor/actress playing the character. It’s been an interesting writing process, very different from last time.

      November 4, 2012
  17. You ARE the next big thing, Andra: I can feel it in my water:-D Not long now. Thank you for your link and inclusion alongside these wonderful names in the blogging world. As you know, my heart’s desire is a newspaper column. But as you tweeted the other week, You can’t cross the sea simply by standing gazing at the water. You have both the talent, and that rare drive to make it happen.

    November 4, 2012
    • I could see you writing a book that would rival Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story series, Kate.

      November 4, 2012
  18. Congrats on the award, Andra. You’re good to pass it along. I don’t do so well with these things. Love your one sentence synopsis. Hope your weekend is going well.

    November 4, 2012
    • I typically don’t do these, either, but I see that you’ve also been nominated. I look forward to reading your acceptance speech. :)

      November 4, 2012
  19. Love the title, Andra.

    You write with such clarity. I hang on each word. Good luck with this book.

    November 4, 2012
    • Still a ways to go, but I’ll get there. Thanks, Lance. I love your writing, too.

      November 4, 2012
  20. I can’t possibly really add much of a fresh note to what others have said, but I can say that I love the voices you bring into your fiction, and I know that it is “when” not “if” you will be published. The snippets you tease with are all great. I must say that anything combining elements of Forrest Gump, Watership Down and Huck Finn is unique from the start, and I can’t wait. :-)

    November 5, 2012
    • Debra, the only place I could ever use those books as comps is on my blog. Ha. At the writing retreat in CO, I tried to use Forrest Gump and Huck Finn. Both were rejected as 1. too big and 2. too old. Watership Down, on the other hand, was recommended to me by one of the faculty for a specific plot element (NOT rabbits), and reading it has helped me much with the conflict in the book.

      November 5, 2012
  21. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how all the pieces come together!

    November 6, 2012
  22. Brad Pitt!!! Yeah, he’ll erase her past for sure.

    Your award is well deserved…

    November 7, 2012
    • I don’t really like Brad Pitt, but when I think of this character, it’s either him or Leonardo DiCaprio.

      November 7, 2012
      • How about Collin Farrell? Have you seen ‘Seven Psychopaths’?

        November 8, 2012
      • I LOVED Seven Psychopaths. Which must mean I’m a psychopath. I told a couple of people to go see it, and then asked myself why in the world I did, because they would just think me mad.

        November 8, 2012

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