I was invited to participate in the Next Big Thing meme by the most excellent Helen Lowe. I thought, “Fabulous – any excuse to find out what some of my fellow authors are up to!” I’ve asked several ‘River’ anthology writers to the party, as well as other friends, because… well, see no.2 below.
The rules are simple. I answer ten questions about my current project, then tag five other authors. They post their own answers the week after mine, tag more authors, etc., etc. So without further ado, here I go…
1) What is the working title of your next book?
‘This Bare Island’.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote a short story for an anthology called ‘River’, a version of the Daphne and Apollo myth set in twentieth-century Cyprus. The world of the short story called out to me and I knew there was more material there waiting to be used.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Can you imagine falling under a genre? “Oh no, six tons of Fantasy just fell on my head!” Seriously, I hate boxes and labels in writing. I suppose you could say this book was contemporary lit with an edge of magical realism…
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
If there was a movie version it would probably be a low budget French/German co-production filmed entirely in Montenegro. So the actors would be fresh-faced unknowns who later make it big in Hollywood, giving the film its one and only claim to longevity.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Caught between East and West, ancient and modern, Cyprus is a crossroads – a portal between the worlds, where a homeless spirit may sometimes slip through, unnoticed.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Represented by an agency, I hope!
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m still writing it. I began it more than a year ago, but in my defense I sold a house, moved continents and bought another home in the interim.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I love tapestry stories weaving many different tales into one. ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell and ‘The Saddlebag’ by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani are good examples, but there are many books using this device with greater or lesser success. I like the idea of building up a picture of a particular reality through multiple points of view.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by my own memories of growing up in Cyprus, though the book isn’t autobiographical and the characters are pure invention. Of course, the places are real, from the abandoned ghost town of Varosha to Limassol Zoo. I used to live on Economou Panayides street, and I beg my neighbour’s forgiveness for modeling one character’s house on hers, with its high hibiscus hedge.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Bits of this book keep breaking out in verse, like Prince Herbert in Monty Python’s ‘Holy Grail’. I try to beat them back into prose-shape but they’re stubborn. Actually, that’s more of a warning than a draw for readers. Beware of poetry! If you’re lucky, none of it will make it past the final edit.
There we are! Now I get to tag five other authors. They are:
And last but not least, although she has already participated in the meme, I’d like to point you to Alma Alexander’s entry as well. Apparently, she already tagged me… last August. It has taken this long for me to figure it out. Oy…
Looking forward to hearing from everyone!