My friend Steve Rogers tagged me to participate in the ongoing blog interview for authors, "The Next Big Thing." The interview asks ten questions about the writer's current project; Steve posted his answers on his blog (http://lookingtowardportugal.blogspot.com) January 28, about the historical novel he is now writing. He asked me to post my own answers one week later, which is today. Here they are:
WHAT IS THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR BOOK (OR STORY)? The original title was, "Of All the Words of Tongue or Pen," after the line in John Greenleaf Whittier's poem "Maud Muller." But after the readers of the first draft of the story objected to the title, I changed it to, "A Fraction of a Second."
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK (OR STORY) COME FROM? All my life--and particularly recently--I have been haunted by the idea that even an insignificant decision or action, made in haste, can change irrevocably both your life and the lives of others. It's a bit like the "butterfly effect," except that I see it as more personal and visceral. What if you lose your temper in front of someone whom you have just met, and whom you were supposed to marry? (As for who "supposes" this, whether God or fate or what have you, I leave that to the reader.)
WHAT GENRE DOES YOUR STORY FALL UNDER? I guess it would be fantasy, though there is nothing sci-fi or supernatural in it. Again, I leave the interpretation to the reader.
WHICH ACTORS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS IN A MOVIE RENDITION? Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jennifer Lawrence would be perfect as the leads, and I am a huge fan of both.
WHAT IS THE ONE-SENTENCE SYNOPSIS OF YOUR STORY? Boy meets girl, boy and girl miss their chance together, boy and girl lose everything as a consequence.
WILL YOUR BOOK BE SELF-PUBLISHED OR REPRESENTED BY AN AGENCY? Because, in this case, it is a single short story, I will send it out to journals and magazines as soon as it's ready.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT? About a week. (The rewrite has taken months.)
WHAT OTHER BOOKS WOULD YOU COMPARE THIS STORY TO WITHIN ITS GENRE? One of the readers of the first draft called it an O. Henry story, but I disagree. I think it is much closer to Ray Bradbury's stories, or perhaps Kurt Vonnegut's.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS STORY? An itch I couldn't scratch, except to write it.
WHAT ELSE ABOUT YOUR STORY MIGHT PIQUE A READER'S INTEREST? The two opening lines: "Rick Maitland and Melissa Tate were supposed to be married for sixty-three years. Instead, they spoke only once, for about thirty seconds."
In turn, I have tagged several friends to see if they are interested in answering these questions on their blogs Feb. 11. I haven't had any affirmations yet, but I'll keep you posted.