The Next Big Thing: I Wish!

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?

Crime fiction.

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.


45 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing: I Wish!”

  1. Whooop! Beyond the Woods sounds like just my cuppa ~ I love a good thriller. Can’t wait for you to bring this out or sign a deal so that I can finally get reading. Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Oh, Marina Sofia, this sounds like a really exciting book! And in an area of the world that I don’t know enough about, too. Yes, most definitely I hope you’ll get it published soon (as if I wouldn’t have wished that for you anyway). I already want to know the whole story just from the small pieces you’ve shared.

    1. Thank you, Margot. I’m a bit negative about the whole thing at the moment, but will be going to Romania for Christmas and so hope to reignite my passion for the book (and fill in some gaps in my research).

  3. This sounds interesting. I am going to watch your progress and will most definitely read when it’s published. I am also going to take you up on answering the questions on my WIP. Will have it up on my blog soon.

  4. Now, I’m in trouble. I accepted a friend’s request to participate in this and agreed to a January date. It looks as if I’ll be so far behind the process that I’ll have to hunt up folk I don’t know to nominate…or run an open forum request and hope someone reads it!

    1. Well, life is so much more interesting when you explore the paths you did not take and the beings you did not become. Thanks, Lisa, and so glad you gave me the opportunity to reflect!

  5. Must get on with it! It sounds intriguing and different: and then Transylvania! Wow! Go for it my friend! And congrats on the award!! 🙂

  6. very cool…i def like the concept behind your book….and best wishes on writing it….just putting the finishing touches on mine…’an elephant loose in the city’…

    1. Thank you, Vikki, you’re a treasure. I’ve already got one of those, but your questions sounds like such fun, I may give them a go. Not sure if I’ll get round to it before I go on holiday, though, but I’ll try!

    1. Well, one can always dream… The plot summary sounds a bit blah (been there, read that a billion times), but it’s hard to pin down any unique things in one sentence, isn’t it?

    1. Hope you didn’t think ‘ Who on earth is butting in here?’, but I have a very strong preference for auditory learning and reading out loud, so rhythms and rhymes always strike me.

  7. Sounds very intriguing, Marina! It took me three years to write my first book…obviously a lot of life was happening in there as well. Can’t wait for your book to come out – very exciting!

    1. Well, it may be a while yet, but thank you for your curiosity! I think first books do take longer, because you want to make sure everything is soooo perfect, don’t you?

  8. Come on then, get to work so we can read it, sounds fascinating, I’m such a fan of exotic locations, travelling through books, especially these days. Reaching back into your roots and a place you’ve visited, a formula for success in my book!

    1. Advice taken, Claire, I promise! I have to send off parts of it to an agent by mid-January and then will be meeting that said agent for 20 mins of feedback in mid-February. I am very nervous, feel the work is not nearly ready for it, but I couldn’t let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass me by, so I have to get it into shape by then.

      1. Now that’s a motivation if ever there was one, nothing like a bit of pressure too. Sounds like a win-win, no matter the outcome you have the opportunity for some gems of advice which are sure to spur you on. Good luck getting ready to send it off!

  9. I love your story’s premise! It offers so much potential for characters to get into trouble. 😉 The outsider’s perspective always intrigues me as well.
    I hope you’ll tell us more about it soon!

  10. It’s probably too late to join you in the list of questions.
    And do you really want that spotty actor with the gauche movements?
    How about Ben Whishaw? Not much on stature but at least he can enunciate on a par with Richard Burton.

    1. Had to laugh! But Ben Whishaw is a bit too wispy and – dare I say it? – Romanian-looking for the part. I need someone quite awkward-looking but of British appearance (whatever that might mean). Great actor, though, I agree!

      1. Trying to fight off the Cummerbund Kid, I’m humbly suggesting the gangly Hathaway, alias something or other Fox [James?] from Lewis. The way he lopes across the screen would make your story a succes.
        BTW, have you considered using the NaNoWriMo to push you into finishing your novel? I was amazed how the ‘no’ pressure got me there.

  11. Lawrence Fox – ooooh, great thought, thank you. He would be rather perfect!
    I used NaNoWriMo to get started on the novel (back in 2010), but unfortunately it’s in the editing stage now, so it requires a different kind of concentration. I have some awful months of (paid) work coming up, but am hoping to get one quiet month in summer when I can finish it properly.

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