There is a thing on the Internet called a blog hop. It's sort of like the snowmobiling parties back when I was a kid. We'd ride from ranch to ranch, stopping for snacks and drinks, picking up more riders along the way until the we'd end the day (or night) with a big feed at someone's house. Back then (pre-911 and Homeland Security) our snowmobile hops often covered both sides of the Canadian border, a practice to which our local border patrol turned a benevolent blind eye. Try that nowadays, you'd get a close up look at a Blackhawk helicopter.
Ah, the days of innocence...and blackberry brandy in the glovebox.
In honor of the good old times I'm joining in a writers' blog hop called The Next Big Thing. It works like this: a writer posts the answers to a list of questions about their book, then 'tags' five friends, who tag five more friends, and so on. Follow the links and you get to know my writer friends, and the friends of my friends, and discover a whole lot of excellent books along the way.
I was tagged by the amazingly talented Kerry Schafer, who not only has excellent taste in first names but is one of the handful of my online acquaintances I've had the privilege to meet in person, over coffee in a charming little burg called Clayton, Washington, which is not where either of us live but somehow ended up being the perfect place to converge. I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on Kerry's first action/fantasy novel, Between. (Please do click, I'll wait right here).
Worth the visit, right? Now we move on to the question and answer portion of the program, where I tell you all about the book I'm working on, which we all hope with be the Next Big Thing (you'd think they named it that on purpose, huh?).
What is the working title of your next book?
Given this is the third rewrite, it is most often known as This Damn Book. In order to distinguish it from all the other Damn Books in my computer files, the official title is The Best of Bad Intentions.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
A blog reader forwarded me information on a call for submissions to a new line of western/cowboy novellas set in or around Amarillo, Texas, in which all of the stories would feature scenes in a particular honky tonk. I had a short story with a bar scene that fit the bill, and I thought, Hey! I'll just move it from Oregon to Texas and expand it to a novella. Easy Peasy. Be done in a month. Six weeks, tops.
A year and a half and 100K words later...a Montana girl has herself a book set Texas. Doh.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary western romance. Or Cowgirl Lit, as my agent has been known to call it.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I am so woefully ignorant of current pop culture I am incapable of naming an actor or actress under forty years old, unless you count Jake and his Neverland Pirates. Because I have a son. And a husband. And therefore almost no access to the television remote unless there's football to be watched, in which case they do not mess with Mom.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A hot shot rodeo bullfighter with a bad attitude and worse intentions learns a few lessons about life and love from the only woman in Texas who picks up cowboys for a living (from the backs of bucking horses, not street corners).
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Sad fact: I am too lazy for self publishing. I'd have to learn this thing called 'formatting', and I can't even figure out why the font is teeny tiny in this section or how to get rid it. Imagine what I could do to a whole book.
Traditional publishing is definitely my goal, although with the leaps and bounds made by e-publishers in the last few years my target market is expanding every day.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Eight months, which will end up being about the same as this current, massive rewrite, which has resulted in about 75% brand new words. So I guess you could say this is my second first draft. Sort of.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can't think of a particular book off the top of my head. My dream is to be compared to Virginia Kantra, who writes ordinary people with such grace and grit. Toss in a comparison to Jennifer Crusie's humor and I'd be in hoggy heaven.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The people behind the scenes who make rodeos happen at hundreds of little towns all over North America (yeah, Canada too, eh?). My heroine's family owns a stock contracting business, providing bucking horses and bulls for the smallest of the pro rodeos in the Texas circuit. This is the grassroots of the sport, the regional shows where future champions are made. More dust and drudgery than fame and fortune, but Violet loves it just the same.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I've competed in rodeos my entire life, and I'm told I write awesome arena action. Plus I have a tendency to embarrass my agent by making her laugh out loud while reading on crowded New York subways.
And now for the fun part:
I get to introduce you to few more of my friends. As usual, I'm running a bit behind, so I only tagged three people instead of five, but what I lacked in quantity I made up for in All Cowgirl quality:
Stephanie Berget: who lives in one of my favorite places ever to rodeo--along the border of southern Idaho and Oregon. Gotta love that Idaho Cowboy's Association, and Stephanie writes one mean story: Stephanie Berget
BA Tortuga: My designated "It might work like that in Montana, but that's not how it is in Texas, honey" reader. I have got to meet her daddy some day. If you're tough enough for Rednecks and Romance go ahead and click.
Julia Talbot: She and BA are partners in writing, in crime and in life. On her own she writes everything from traditional romance to LGBT. If you can't find it here, you don't know what you're looking for: Julia Talbot
So there you go. Hop, skip and jump through the links, backward and forward, and meet a whole bunch of great people. Enjoy!