Thanks to my friend and brilliant author, Steve Parlato, for tagging me in The Next Big Thing! He’s written an awesome Young Adult novel called The Namesake. It’s a powerful book that I highly recommend. Take a look at his site!
So, here are the questions I’m supposed to answer about my soon-to-be released, Woman of Flames
What is the working title of your next book?
Woman of Flames
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Back when I was in graduate school, I worked on a play called Spread Your Garment Over Me. At that time, it was a two-person show about women in the Bible ( I’ve since performed it alone for churches across the country.) I split the monologues and songs that were to be performed with another actress. I ended up with Deborah. Although I’d read her story in the Bible, I needed to do some research about her in order to create a character. You have to remember, this was some (cough,cough) 25 years ago. I wasn’t able to find much about her, other than general commentary. A lot of her background information I just had to make-up. But it started me thinking, how did a woman rise to a position of authority in such a male dominated society?
In what genre does your book fall?
If I had to pick one, I’d say Historical fiction. Yes, the main character is Biblically based, but I’ve tried to create a story that a person with no interest in the Bible would still want to read and enjoy. My good friend and editor, Sherry Harris, has suggested it’s really a political thriller.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In a world ruled by men, one young woman defies convention to gather an army and free her people from slavery
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
That’s a tough one. Jennifer Lawrence from Hunger Games would be too old, but she has the quality I’d like to see for Deborah—beautiful but tough. As I wrote the character of Sisera, I always envisioned a man with eyes like Eric Bana. After seeing the new Mortal Instruments movie, I’m thinking maybe Jonathon Rhys Meyers could work. He has the right intensity and creepy factor. For Lapidoth/Barak….I have no idea!!
Who is publishing your book?
I’m publishing it myself through CreateSpace. Before I dropped my agent, I sent my manuscript to him. He told me (without reading it) that I’d have to cut 25,000 words. I poured over the story, cutting out whatever I could and only managed to make it down to 114,000 words. I hated what I had left. I’ve had numerous readers over the years tell me they actually wanted more scenes, none of them ever said it was too long. I decided to go back to my original story and publish it myself.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It’s been so long ago and been through so many revisions…I think it took me a year.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is a tough one too. Perhaps Francine Rivers’ “Mark of the Lion” series. Or Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
When I graduated with my Master’s degree, eight months pregnant at the time, my advisor (and writer of Spread Your Garment Over Me- Gil Elvgren) told me that since I may not be able to perform for a few years, I should try writing, in order to stay in touch with my creative side. I spent the next several years working out scenes in my head. I didn’t begin writing down my stories until I started homeschooling my kids. I could work at the computer and still be close enough to supervise them (answer questions, make sure they didn’t kill each other!)
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Several of the twists and turns of the plot actually came after researching the Jewish Midrash (oral history) about Deborah and Jael. I spent a lot of time at the Kripke Jewish Federation Library in Omaha pouring over their books. It was fascinating to read the ancient stories about these two women.
Now it’s my pleasure to tag a couple of my friends to participate in The Next Big Thing! Sherry Harris is a great friend, a fabulous editor and wonderful author of cozy mysteries. If suspense/horror is more your thing, here’s a link to Chuck Grossart, he always has something new to offer to keep you up at night (or at least keep the lights on!)