Back at the beginning of the year, I talked about how excited I was to be wrapping up my first 5 months of this blog. Then just a couple of weeks ago, I told you about the Liebster Award that had been passed along to me. Now, I’m excited to be part of something new:
Many thanks to my friend, children’s author and poet Joyce Ray, for inviting me to participate in the online literary blog called THE NEXT BIG THING!
If you’ve not heard of THE NEXT BIG THING, it’s a sort of “chain blog” consisting of a series of questions about works-in-progress and not-yet-published titles. Many national and international writers have participated in it; Joyce did last week, and now it’s my turn!
The nice thing about THE NEXT BIG THING is that it not only provides some extra visibility for the bloggers taking part, but more importantly, it gives readers a glimpse into the working life of a writer. Part of the fun is tagging someone else, so stay tuned to learn who I’ll be tagging at the end of this post! Some of these questions require some deep thought, so I’ll do my best to answer them…
What is the working title of your book?
“Anticipation: Poems for a Winter’s Night”
Where did the idea come from for the book?
As someone who writes a lot of children’s poetry, one day I noticed I had written 5 or 6 poems about winter…so it occurred to me they should probably be organized into their own collection. This was in May 2012. So I decided to try to get the manuscript completed (written, edited, revised, finalized) by September. As it turned out, I was done by Oct. – so I wasn’t too far off!
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ha! Not sure this question fits, since the book is comprised of 23 poems…but since many are written in first-person, I’d say we could get Sofia Vergara to portray the school bus driver, Adriana Lima to portray the teacher, and Miranda Lambert to portray the person I ask to keep me warm outside. Of course, this is all assuming my wife won’t mind…so I’m really going out on a limb here.
But hey, it’s Hollywood!
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
“A funny, touching, and magical look at the coldest – yet warmest – season of all.”
Y’know, I just thought that up this minute. I kinda like it!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Hard to say, as I edit poems as I go along; I revisit them, revise them, place them in the manuscript, rearrange them in the manuscript, edit them again, rearrange them again, blah, blah. The first draft was probably done by late September, then it was just a matter of tweaking a few things here and there.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s very difficult – if not extremely egotistical – for me to compare a manuscript by an unpublished author to books written by some of the best children’s poets in America. So I do this hesitantly and with a great amount humility…but as it’s a winter-themed poetry collection, I’d say it’s similar in tone to Jack Prelutsky’s It’s Snowing! It’s Snowing (2006, Greenwillow) and Douglas Florian’s Winter Eyes (1999, Greenwillow), although the number of silly or funny poems in mine outnumbers theirs.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wish I knew! I always tell people how much I hate winter – the shovelling, the snow-blowing, the slickness of roads, the ice on your driveway, the cold temperatures, etc., etc. – and yet, it was not a difficult manuscript to put together. I’ve already come up with another two or three winter poems since I finished it, and I haven’t even been trying! Perhaps I like winter more than I realized. I absolutely love Christmas, so that might have something to do with it.
What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?
I think the diversity of poems. Not only is there a good balance of funny-to-quiet poems, but I used a number of various forms: there’s a villanelle, cinquain, triolet, haiku, tanka, and a couple others, in addition to more conventional forms. One minute you’re laughing about my Valentine’s Day dilemma with Beulah Buford, and the next, you’re sitting quietly by yourself in a school bus on a winter morning, scratching at the frosty window. I really like the fact that each poem sort of has its own ‘feel.’
When and how will it be published?
Funny, I ask m yself that same question all…the…time. Being an as-yet-unpublished author (other than having various adult poems published in independent journals over the years), it’s been an uphill climb trying to get my other manuscripts accepted. I’ve only sent this manuscript to one editor so far, who I want to give first-refusal. If she decides to pass, then I’ll let all the other publishing houses and literary agencies fight over the rights and I’ll eventually sign a six-book deal and movie rights with the highest bidder. At least, that’s how I imagine things will happen.
It is my honor to tag and introduce to you Catherine Johnson, who is also currently working on a manuscript…
Catherine is a British ex-pat living in Canada with her family. She writes picture books and poetry and has several poems published, and was a British champion twice in Tae Kwon-Do. (How cool is that??) She blogs at http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com…so be sure to stop by, and learn about her “NEXT BIG THING!”