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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing - A Blog Hop Post

As part of 'The Next Big Thing Blog Hop,' I was tagged by  author Q. Kelly in her post last week. The purpose of this hop is to expose you to writers and their work that perhaps you haven't heard of, whether a new release or a Work in Progress (WIP). This is week 20.

According to the rules of the hop, I will be answering some questions (the same ones for every other blog hopper) about either my newest release or my WIP and then at the bottom of the post I've listed authors who will do the same thing in their blogs next Wednesday.

Thanks--here we go!

What is the working title of your book?   The Trees in the Field is my new novel, just published in August.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  For several years I'd been reading news stories about an island in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia, which was occupied by United States forces and has been used for a base ever since. I wondered about the displaced inhabitants of that island. At the same time, I wrote a short story about a tough woman in the world of Washington politics--Raybelle McKeehan. Finally, I'd promised that the next book I wrote would feature a handsome diver--the other main character, Tomas Jefferson. Those different strands of story grew into a novel in my mind.

What genre does your book fall under? I write general fiction--there are love story and thriller elements, but the main theme is always the hero's personal journey.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I was all set to answer this, then realized the two main actresses I had in mind are approximately the same age. While this proves that I find women in their fifties sexy, it wouldn't work for these characters, who are fifteen years apart. I'm also afraid of what's been called the "Clark Gable effect"--that is, if you've seen the film Gone With the Wind you can only ever read the character of Rhett Butler as Clark Gable, the actor who played him. My characters look the way I've imagined them, and I've given my readers the words to imagine them too.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Raybelle McKeehan, one of the only women in the U. S. Senate, must choose between her lifelong political ambitions and fighting for her true ideals.

What is the longer synopsis of your book?

Dr. Tomas Jefferson stays aloof from life and love, but is strangely drawn to a war-ravaged Marine at a Chicago street clinic where she volunteers. When he dies on the streets, she undertakes notification of the next of kin, but it’s clear that Senator Raybelle McKeehan finds the matter inconvenient.

Raybelle McKeehan was ten when she knew that she would be President some day. Now a Republican senator from Tennessee, there is no room in her life for deviations and distractions, but her brother’s death and the compelling Dr. Jefferson both throw her off her carefully charted path.

Horrified by her brother’s circumstances, and that of other veterans, Raybelle must decide if she can go toe-to-toe with powerful men to uncover self-dealing and criminal acts that strike at the heart of the Constitution and the democracy she loves. Tomas agrees to advise and though Raybelle denies it to herself, feelings emerge...and so do rumors that could ruin her career.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The Trees in the Field is published by Bella Books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote it over the course of the year 2007, which is when it is set.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I love, and am fascinated by, people who stand up for what they believe is right, regardless of how unpopular it makes them. I wanted to write a hero--Raybelle--who hasn't forgotten why she went into politics to begin with: to fight for a just cause. She is a human being outraged by injustice, and she won't be talked out of it by cynicism. By creating such heroism, I hoped to show that it is possible.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The timeliness of it. The Trees in the Field was published shortly before the U. S. election and look, a lesbian was just elected to the Senate. The issues of security, liberty, and justice that Raybelle struggles with are urgent issues for political leaders today.

Next Wednesday check out the Next Big Thing from the inimitable Cheri Crystal, who writes my favorite combination--funny and sexy at the same time.

If you're a fellow writer and would like to participate in this Blog Hop, please reach out to Cheri and let her know! The more the merrier :)