Requisit Respite

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I have been tagged to answer ten questions about my WIP (work in progress) by Cindy Christiansen. This challenge is through the Jane Austin Fan Fiction group.

Ten Interview questions for The Next Big Thing:

Question #1: What is the working title for your book?

"Connected in Love"

Question #2: Where did the idea come from?

About 25 years ago, when my friend, the new Relief Society president, called me to take a meal to someone and my car was in the shop. I thought about writing a short story for the then contest in the "Ensign," but, alas, that never came to be. Then someone in my Book Borrowers club challenged me to write a novel, so I used this idea.

Question #3: What genre does your book fall under?

I would say Women's Fiction/Romance

Question #4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I have no idea who would fit the descriptions. I don't visualize my characters as actors that are around. I make them up in my head and put the pieces of their appearance together. It's fun. I hope my readers (one day) will also envision them in their own way, so I don't want to give them any preconceived notions.

Question #5: What is the one-sentence synopsis for your book?

Mary Margaret O’Brien Gallagher is a new Relief Society president for a small branch in southeastern Pennsylvania who thinks she has a lazy day ahead of her, until a telephone call from a sick young mother spurs her into compassionate service mode, only to find out that another sister is in desperate need of help and counsel due to the secret life she leads. (That's the Core Conflict)
BTW, I want everyone to know that my MC was given her name in 2009 and is not a rip-off from "Once Upon a Time," whose main character is also named Mary Margaret. My MC goes by just Mary.

Question #6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I pitched the idea to an editor and she wants to see the first three chapters and a query letter. I'm hoping it will be published by a publishing house.

Question #7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I got three-quarters of it written in about two months, then life happened for a year or so.  I finally got back to it and have been polishing it ever since, but it just doesn't seem to end. I give the excuse that I'm a reporter, not a novelist. I've got a lot to learn--and am learning a lot.

Question #8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

"Twelve Sisters" by Leslie Beaton Hedley. When I read that book I put my idea away because she pretty much wrote it. Then my friends in book club said I needed to write my own story, regardless. So I am. I love that book. I have bought it and given it away at least three times.

Question #9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My Book Borrowers Club in PA.

Question #10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Mary's car is in the shop, so she can't help her sisters. She makes frantic phone calls all morning. As she hangs up from each phone conversation, the Point of View switches to the sister she just spoke with, and that new sister’s life is shown, including her family life, conversion story, love story, and spiritual uplifting elements of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The setting is in present day southeastern Pennsylvania. The love stories and conversion stories of this handful of converts in the mission field are sub-plots, shown via flashbacks, which introduce the reader to the way converts in the mission field live with the difficulties of the vast geography of their congregation. Not many books are set outside of Utah, Idaho or Arizona.

Also, not very many books have focused on the woman’s point of view as a victim of verbal abuse, addiction and pornography, as happens in the life of one or two of the characters. This book will show that even the most seemingly perfect family has flaws and troubles unimagined.

Luckily, Mary is the comic relief as she battles with attention challenges and we see a part of her personality through dialogue that goes on in her head during each scene. Even when she is in the scene of another POV, we can imagine what she is thinking.

I wanted to write about the challenges many sisters in the church face and how they are overcoming them. Mary isn't sure if she can handle her new calling, but by the end of the book, we see her strength and know she is perfect for the job.