Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Next Big Thing

Author Nicky Wells sent me an invitation to tell you about my Next Big Thing.  This chain of author blog posts was started to let readers know about the works in progress.  I’m so thankful she tagged me and asked me to share a little bit about what I’m working on.  She's the best!  

What is the title of your book?
Ashes to Ashes is the working title, unless lighting strikes and something else permeates my brain.

How did you come by the idea?
My husband, Mike, and I attended one too many funerals this past year.  Seeing our friend Aaron’s young life end too soon really got my gears turning.  Listening to his friends share eulogies for a man who lived large in his young thirties, I started thinking about the relationships that I have had during my life.  How they have ebbed and flowed; how they evolve and sometimes are severed.  I wanted to explore the relationships between three people who come together after a person they have in common dies, due to her unusual request of them.  It has taken on such interesting dynamics!
What genre does your book fall under?
Women’s Fiction, with a dash of Chick Lit.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
First, I have to tell you that I want actresses that are fabulous, and not twenty-something in the roles.  Now that I have spoken my peace, here we go… 
Samantha (the woman the town has come together to burry[so they think])- Rachel McAdams; Jack (Samantha’s first boyfriend and the former high school football star living a life he wishes was not his)-Bradley Cooper; Jenna (Samantha’s high school BFF [she’s not as sweet as you might think])-Diane Lane; Tabby (the high school nemesis of Samantha has her own secrets she wish would stay buried)-Maria Bello; Marnie (Jack’s bride who realizes the man she married will never be hers)-Idina Menzel; Jeff (Jenna’s husband who adores her through thick and thin waistlines)-Damien Lewis; Emma (Marnie and Jack’s only child)- G. Hannelius from the Disney television show, Good Luck Charlie; Molly Anderson (Tabby’s daughter, a twin, living life with a chip on her shoulder)- Jennifer Lawrence; Ally Anderson (Molly’s twin sister, light-hearted, close with her mother, Tabby)-Emma Stone.
*Did I just price my movie out of existence with that cast and their salaries?* 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The darkest of secrets unearthed from memories best left forgotten, rise from the ashes of the one who chose three people to grant her, her final resting place.

Will your book be self-published or traditional?
I will shop it around first to see if it is picked up.  If not I will be going indie with it.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’m half way through writing it and will be finished with it by the end of November.  I used the inertia of NaNoWrimo to get it up and running from the story map it once was.  This is my first time participating in the event, and I’m so glad that I did.

What other authors, or author’s work, would you compare this story to within your genre?
There is a little bit of a Beth Harbison feel to the story (I adore her work).  I love the twisting of relationships, and things not revealed until time comes that she does so well.  I like providing that air of suspense for the readers, yet you are not uncomfortable with the loose ends while reading.  

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been asked by people, other than my mom (God love her), to try my hand at writing fiction.  As I played with the idea and stretched the characters, I felt the story breathe itself onto my keyboard.  I know that sounds kooky, yet totally true.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I wrote it while jacked up on M&M’s and Bottle Caps.  Some days I wrote in my pajamas.  Oh wait…you mean about the actual story, right?  The story takes place in my hometown of West Lafayette, Indiana.  You will see some of my favorite places pop up in the story.  As a salute to my friend, Trish, who died this spring from cancer, her store Collette is featured in the storyline.  Trish loved the stories about my daughter and her infatuation with Matt Lauer.  She couldn’t wait to hear what my daughter, Gracie, would say next.

Who’s on deck next week!  
You lucky ducks will be treated to hearing about The Next Big Thing from the fabulous Tonya Kappes and Erik Atwell.  Both wonderful authors,  cool cats, and lovers of karaoke, as far as you know.  Make sure you stop by their blogs and see what they are up to in the world of writing.

Bless and be blessed,


  1. You are one amazing lady, Jen! You take on big subjects and you write them well, and with a light, taking the reader by the hand and leading her daringly on your journey. What a skill! Can't wait to hold Ashes to Ashes in my hand. Rock on and keep writing!

  2. We love dark secrets!!

  3. Jen, I too was nominated as The Next Big Thing on 20th Nov by Nicky Wells and so I thought I would pop over and visit you and read all about your writing and projects. Wonderful interview and so moving too. Good luck with your book and all your projects. I am sure success awaits soon.

  4. This sounds AwESOME Jen Jen! Sorry I'm coming in late. Been a hermit in deadline cave of late. I'm out again for a while :)