Well, well! The ever-awesome Kim Koning offered to include me in the Next Big Thing, and how the hell could I say no? Answer: I couldn’t…not say no. Well, whatever. You know what I mean. Here, have Kim’s own answers to this thing – I suddenly want to read her work in progress!
Now, like all such memes, I’ve tried to track down the original source of this one, but as you can imagine, finding the Next Big Thing in the sea that is Google has proved nearly fruitless. I do emphasize “nearly”, however, because as best as I can tell, author Karina Harris started this thing. I’d be happy to be corrected on this. Always credit where credit is due.
I’m actually very excited to participate in this. As Kim pointed out, most authors are more than happy to talk about their story and characters and hell, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to give you more information about my forthcoming novel, Room 3. That said, let’s look at ye olde questions…
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Room 3. Its original working title was Entanglements, as the book’s intent is examining how our lives end up wrapped together.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The original concept (woman is kidnapped by strange organization and subjected to experiments that she doesn’t understand) came from the film Videodrome; in that film, an organization is putting out videos that manipulate the mind as part of its agenda to reshape society. Entanglements originally included a parallel story of two average joes who stumbled across this woman – Carla – and her website. She had been creating this website on a cellphone that had no signal but could pick up a wifi from next door. That idea stretched credulity, and I could never quite get things to work together. The current – and final – incarnation is an almagam of ideas that presented themselves along the road to publication.
What genre does your book fall under?
Good question. It’s an urban-romance-fantasy-cum-thriller, I think. There are some horror elements mixed in, as well.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I sometimes start with actors as the basis for characters’ initial movements and affectations, allowing them to evolve. Kelli, for instance, went from a white southern woman to a black southern woman to a New Englander with a deliberately vague ethnicity (which makes sense in the context of the story).
That said, the final version would probably feature:
Kelli: Rashida Jones. Her hair is not quite curly enough, but her mannerisms, her look – just perfect for this one. Kelli is the protagonist, and is smart, somewhat self-sufficient, but by turns vulnerable and cold. It’s a complicated role.
Carla: Alicia Witt. I’m thinking of the more down-to-earth photos of Witt, the one who doesn’t show up on the red carpet so much. Unfortunately, there just aren’t women of Carla’s size in Hollywood. Witt would need to put on some weight for the role, but looks-wise, that Witt is close to right. I’d also like to see her tearing some things apart, as Carla does.
Samarta: Tom Hardy. Samarta is the love interest for Kelli. This would be a tough cast. Samarta is an extremely pale, bald, muscular tribesman. He’s not supposed to be traditionally handsome really. Hardy’s turn as Bane in Dark Knight Rises convinced me that he would make a good Sam.
Maple: Maple is the prime nemesis of the hostage plotline, the woman in charge of the project on the ground. I’d love to have Vivien Lee at the height of her career, but if we’re talking modern actresses, I guess Jane Asher. The important thing here is not so much the look as the feel. I’d want an actress who could be snooty one minute and down-in-the-dirt vindictive the next.
Bloch: Bloch is one of two hired muscle roles; he is the smarter of the two, the quieter one and far more deadly. Michael Chiklis was made for this one.
Zito: Joe Pesci. Zito is the other hired muscle. Not so smart, but very sneaky and very ambitious. I based the character off of Pesci in Goodfellas.
The Senior: The Senior is the head of the Organization, the shadowy man who directs things from afar. This would be perfect for David Warner in a LOT of makeup.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A woman kidnapped by a shadowy organization learns that nothing – not even her own identity – is what it seems.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Close to three months, once the direction had finally been settled.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
In some ways, the book has a spiritual kin in Stephen King’s Misery, though that doesn’t quite hit the novel’s sweet spot. There’s also something of the Bourne Identity, as well. As always, it’s a little hard to quantify.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
As mentioned above, the film Videodrome. I had always wanted to capture that feeling of being somewhat out of control of not only your surroundings, but your body as well.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s essentially two novels in one. The plot follows two paths:
- Kelli’s time as a captive in a cabin known as the Khesnaa. Here she is forced to endure testing with drugs to some unknown ends. During this time she meets Carla, a powerful latent psychic that is the true target of the Organization’s plans. We also learn of her blossoming relationship with the night watchman, an odd fellow named Samarta.
- Kelli’s time on the run after her period in the Khesnaa as she hops first around America, then to Mexico and ultimately London. During this time she discovers the missing threads and history to the Organization’s goals as well as the people who oppose it.
These plots weave together to present parallels in her life, asking questions of fate, destiny, and control over one’s own life.
I have to choose some other authors to participate for next week as well; I’ll save that for an entry later this week.