You know how you see an award or a question on someone else’s blog and you think: ‘That is so lovely, so exciting! I wish someone would nominate or tag me for that!’ ? Well, this ‘Next Big Thing’ one seems to have been circulating for a while now among all of the writers’ blogs which I enjoy reading. But, sadly, it hasn’t reached me yet (cue haunting violins and moonlight glistening on my tears). It’s not all ego, however. I need an excuse to write about my WIP because it requires quite a bit of clarification in my own head. And I think best when I think out loud!
So I am taking matters into my own hands and jumping at Lisa Ahn’s wonderful suggestion that she is nominating anyone who is up for it.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
Beyond the Woods – because it is almost an exact translation of Transylvania, which is where quite a bit of the action takes place.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea came to me in the summer of 1997, before mobile phones and the Internet were so ubiquitous. I was spending my holidays back home in Romania with my parents, when news of Princess Diana’s death broke. I had a boyfriend in the UK at the time about which my parents knew nothing and it was a real challenge to get in touch with each other, as direct dial international calls were not possible from most telephones in Romania at the time. It occurred to me then how easy it would be to lose touch with someone in just two weeks, even someone you cared deeply about.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I wouldn’t go for big names. I have a very specific picture in my head of what the characters look and sound like. Besides, it would be a great opportunity to do most of the casting (and filming) in Romania. The main male protagonist, Matt, would have to be a slightly geeky-looking, tall English actor. Yes, OK, I admit that Benedict Cumberbatch would probably be my first choice…
The main female protagonist would be one of the very talented and pretty young Romanian actresses, like Ana Ularu, Maria Dinulescu or Meda Andreea Victor.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Matt’s girlfriend Cristina dies in a car crash while trying to secure a divorce from her estranged husband in Romania, he reluctantly joins forces with Cristina’s best friend Eli to try to find out what really happened.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m so far behind on my edits, but I hope to get some feedback from agents first and then decide. I’m open to all options!
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Far too long! Perhaps 4 years in total, although most of that time was spent NOT writing the novel.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I love crime fiction set in exotic locations (‘exotic’ for this purpose meaning anywhere outside the US or UK), but written by non-natives of those countries, with a strong sense of atmosphere, like Michael Dibdin or Donna Leon’s Venice and Barbara Nadel’s Istanbul. The outsider looking in is a wonderful perspective, and I hope to achieve that through the eyes of Englishman Matt.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This will sound really odd, but my first husband (a Romanian) was the initial inspiration, although he is nothing like Cristina’s husband in the book. I hasten to add that it is not autobiographical in any way, but just a way to ponder: ‘What if he had been a different kind of person? What if I had got involved in other things?’ All those possibilities that never were probabilities.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I set the action in 1995 because of a real-life event that took place that summer (which fits in very well with the story). It’s amazing, however, how much I have forgotten about that period and how careful I have to be not to introduce anachronistic details into the story.
My turn to tag. You know what’s coming, don’t you? Because I felt like a child who had not been invited to a birthday party, I will not nominate just a handful of blogger friends. Instead, I will just invite all of you who haven’t shared your story-in-progress yet to do just that. If you wish to, of course! I love finding out what people are up to and I promise to read each and every one of your blog posts.