Blog Hop: My Works-In-Progress

My friend Susan has invited me to participate in a Blog Hop! She will post today and share links to several other bloggers who will answer these questions about their writing. Please check out her site to see what she and the other writers are writing about!

Since I have 2 manuscripts going right now, I’m going to answer these questions for both of them.

Manuscript #1: Memoir

What is the working title of your book?

No title yet! The original title when I submitted it for a contest (see next question) was Seal of Faith, but I’ve already discarded that as a title.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I attended a Women of Faith conference in 2010 and in my conference bag there was information on a contest being held by Westbow Press, the self-publishing branch of Thomas Nelson. I submitted my 10,000-word piece about becoming Orthodox to the contest. (No, I didn’t win, but that’s okay.)

What genre does your book fall under?

Spiritual memoir.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm . . since it’s mainly about me  . . . I’ve always thought I’d love for Kate Winslet or Jennifer Garner to play me in a movie about my life. (I doubt there will ever be a movie about my life, but one can dream!)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I grew up as a Nazarene preacher’s kid and missionaries’ kid and then shocked everyone and converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I do not plan on self-publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I have been working on it for two years now, but working intensely (several days a week) on it for about six months. In six months, it’s gone from roughly 15,000 words to 44,000 words. I am still on what I would call my first draft, though. (I work a full-time job and have young children, so it’s always a challenge to find time to write.)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I would say Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner is a great example of a conversion story. I really love her honesty. The spiritual memoir(ish) that brought me to Orthodoxy was a book called At the Corner of East and Now by Frederica Mathewes-Green.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Well, other than the contest that got me going on it, I really liked the idea of writing about conversion, which my professor in college called both forward-looking and backward-looking. That aptly describes my experience of conversion as I still grapple with a love for the church I was raised in.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I definitely think some of the scenes from my experience as a missionaries’ kid in Thailand will be interesting. I also deal with lots of universal issues like depression, prayer, marriage, and friendship in the book, so I think people will be able to relate.

Manuscript #2: Young Adult Fiction

What is the working title of your book?

I don’t have a title for this one yet, either. In my head I call it Emily’s Bangkok, but I doubt that will be the final title. I’m not even sure if my main character’s name will remain Emily.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I love YA fiction, and I thought it would be interesting to write a YA book loosely based on my experiences as an MK in Thailand. There aren’t that many people writing about the third-culture-kid experience. I wanted to have this character who is caught between two countries, two cultures, two languages, and two religions, and to see how she would handle it all.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young adult realistic fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This is hard because my main character, Emily, is half Thai and half American, and there are very few young Asian actresses out there. I think Vanessa Hudgens is part Asian and I think she would do well as Emily.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Fifteen-year old Emily Blackstone moves from Washington, D.C., to her mother’s native city, Bangkok, Thailand, where she struggles to find her identity in a country that may never feel like home.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I do not plan on self-publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Ha. Well, considering it only has about 15,000 words right now, I’ve got a long way to go. It’s really more of a long story than a novel at this point. I wrote the first scene, which is about the Thai holiday Loy Kratong, two years ago. I worked on the manuscript quite a bit this past summer, but have been focusing more on finishing my other manuscript lately.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t think the business is saturated with this kind of story, which is to my advantage. Kashmira Sheth has a great cross-cultural middle grades book called Blue Jasmine. Pam Munoz Ryan and Gary Soto also have some good multicultural YA/juvenile short stories. Some beautiful cross-cultural adult novels I’ve read are The Saffron Kitchen, Secret Daughter, and The Namesake.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I was researching Loy Kratong for a poem I was writing. Loy Kratong is a Thai holiday when Thais make these little boats from banana leaves and flowers and light candles on them and float them on a river. Although it has mostly become something fun, traditionally there was a belief about a water goddess or water mother who would carry your sins and negative thoughts away. I envisioned this scene in which a girl who felt unfamiliar with the tradition was placing her boat on the river and praying to the water goddess. So I wrote it down, and that’s how the story began.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Emily has a secret that the reader does not know for a while. The reader knows that there was some accident that happened back in the States, but that’s it for a while.

 

Note: I humbly admit that I don’t know what I’m doing. I have an MFA in Creative Writing, but I focused on poetry, not fiction or creative non-fiction. I learn from reading and thinking about books from a writer’s perspective, not a reader’s perspective (very hard for me as I am a big bookworm). I learn from letting writer friends read my work and tell me how to make it better. I am sure if I ever get a book contract, there will be a long editing process. I may never get a book contract. But I will never stop writing.

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