Firstly, thanks to Robyn Oyeniyi, who blogs the hell out of the interwebs at www.teamoyeniyi.com. There, you can find her blog entry about her “next big thing,” entitled Love Versus Goliath. As far as memoirs go, this is a great title, and from what I read on the blog, the book looks enticing. Check it out. And she tagged me. That’s an honor.
Before you read, please follow my Twitter: @danmalossi or my Twitter page.
What is the working title of your next book?
The manuscript I’ve worked on for three years now and am currently shopping about town is called THE FISHERMAN.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was discussing “great movie ideas” with a colleague of mine, and he mentioned something about a very bare-bones twist middle-end to a nascent story idea. I worked with him on sketching out some characters, and decided that the time was nigh to write a book. The story—and the accompanying story-world—exploded from there, as soon as I typed the first sentence.
What genre does your book fall under?
That’s a tough one, since I’ve been through a few iterations of this debate and not a few hair-yanking sessions while trying to suss this out. After querying under three distinct genres, I have settled on “literary suspense.” I know it’s pretentious to call your own book “literary.” Read the excerpt at my website and judge for yourself, but at the very least, I know it’s suspenseful. The tension builds to a fever pitch, and you know something big is coming the whole time. And just the right number of teases along the way. It’s a real release at the end. It’s unexpected. No beta reader has predicted it yet; they’ve all been floored. I call it my “Sixth Sense” moment.
What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ll sheepishly admit to giving this some consideration whilst writing, albeit guiltily. I would cast Jake Gyllenhaal as Jude Fisher, the main character. No question. He’s a bit old now to play a 22-year-old, but makeup does wonders.
Jeff Bridges or Nick Nolte as the prisoner, Lucas Moordenaar. This is a psychopath who killed Jude’s parents and many others, a real peach of a guy. Nolte might play the crazy better. Brittany Murphy would have played a perfect Angela, Jude’s dead love interest. Oh well, that train has sailed. And Spider, Jude’s traveling companion…well, I’d teach Bruno Mars to act, because he’s got the perfect look for the role.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Everyone Jude Fisher has ever loved is dead, and it’s his fault; now, it’s time to break the curse…even if that means murder.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m going the agent route. Predicatably slow-going, but I feel relatively confident about it for some reason. I’ve long had faith in this manuscript. It will find the right agent, hopefully in 2013.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first draft took two years, mostly because I had to learn to write a novel, and I re-wrote the first chapter about a hundred times. One time it would sound like a T.C. Boyle ripoff, the next a Fitzgerald. Overwrought, then underfed, pretentious and then pandering. The betas hated it, then they could stomach it, then they liked it. Now, it’s where it should be, but only because I finally figured out how to put story first and let the style come shuffling after. Writers do need thousands of hours at the desk to find their own voices. You can’t fake it.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
About five of my betas mentioned that THE FISHERMAN reminded them of Gone Girl with respect to tone and pacing. Most notably my dad. He’s a smart dude. But I haven’t read it, I’m ashamed to say. I’m reading it right now.
I like to compare my novel to No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, although there is more of a romantic element to mine. I’ve heard people put that book (NCFOM) down, but I can think of no recent thriller/suspense that is more raw and vicious and real. My story has a certain element of magical realism to it, what with Jude being “cursed” and all, really believing that it is his lot to lose everyone he loves. The reader must figure out if this is so, and you end up rooting for the guy, caring for him. That’s essential in any story. So many times, I think writers forget that.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve written stories forever, I’ve written everything, songs, newspaper articles, short stories. I love to write, the act of it. The physical and mental process. So writing a novel was grueling, but never NOT FUN. Why do anything that you don’t enjoy? Even when it sucks, it beats most other things.
Plus, I wanted to shut the faces of all those haters who said I’d never amount to nothin’. I’m totally kidding, sort of.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
THE FISHERMAN is a dark story at its core, the impending collision of a damaged good and a terrible evil. But the love story that runs parallel is touching and beautiful. You know that things went wrong between Jude and Angela, and readers probably suspect that she’s died like the rest, but the relationship is tender and it’s real. When it’s good, it’s really good. And when it goes wrong, well…I said the story was dark.
Please follow me @danmalossi and check out www.danmalossi.com. Thanks for reading.
To continue “The Next Big Thing” tag, here are three other budding writers you can check out. Their genres are totally unrelated to mine, but they are true talents:
Brianna Shrum – http://shortcuttoshrums.blogspot.com/2012/11/next-big-thing.html Brianna Shrum has been writing since she was a little girl on her grandpa’s knee. She wrote her first novel, however, this summer, and she’s been hooked ever since. Writing is her passion, but when she isn’t writing, she can be found hiking in the Colorado mountains,hanging out with her husband and baby, playing music, and fangirling over things on the CW.
Emmie Mears – http://emmiemears.com/2012/12/07/the-next-big-thing/ Student of history. Gamer. Language nerd. Displaced Celt. Emmie spends at least an hour a day preparing for or thinking about the zombie apocalypse.
Future calamity notwithstanding, Emmie hunts stories in dark alleys and in stone circles and spends most nights listening for something that goes bump.
Emmie lives outside D.C. with her husband, a husky puppy who talks too much, and a tabby who thinks she’s a tiger.
She is currently mucking up the lives of demon-hunters and mythology professors for her current projects. Emmie is actively seeking representation for her completed superhero novel. SHRIKE is Bridget Jones meets Spiderman, set against the backdrop of the forthcoming referendum for Scottish independence.
Chris Savino – Chris has been working in the animation industry for almost 22 years. He has worked as a writer, storyboard artist, designer, director and Executive Producer on many popular television shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Kick Buttowski. His entry for “THE NEXT BIG THING” will appear shortly at www.bfandg.blogspot.com. You can find him on twitter at http://twitter.com/BigfootandGray. Writing is not new to Chris, but writing a book is. He’s very open to any advice from fellow writers out there.