The Next Big Thing

I know. Anyone who normally reads this blog is scratching his or her head and asking, “Wasn’t ‘The Next Big Thing’ done by Vince Gill? How would Diane know that one?”
I wouldn’t. In fact, I barely know who Vince Gill is. But this sojourn is worth departing from the rock n’ roll traditions of my little fragment of the world. I’m on a trampoline over being tagged by the mind-blowing Karin Spirn to be a part of THE NEXT BIG THING!

Karin is the author of Hold This Pose and is currently working on The Divine Sharpness in the Heart of God. (Seriously, how great is that title?) While I could rave over many things about her, both personally and professionally, what really floors me is her ability to write serially. I mean, most of us can’t even figure out how to read a bus schedule to get from point A to point B on time, yet she writes well crafted novels with intriguing characters without having to constantly refine her story. I swear she must cheat and write a full novel then release one chapter at a time after it has been tweaked to perfection. Her skills are just so unfair to the rest of us!

I strongly encourage you to check out her blog for The Divine Sharpness in the Heart of God and read along.

So now is where my part comes in. THE NEXT BIG THING (apparently that is me!!!) answers a set list of questions regarding a novel-in-progress.

And away we go!


What is the working title for your book?
Love’s Forbidden Flower. It took me forever to come up with it. All of my previous titles sounded like a bad 70’s TV Movie of the Week.

Where did the idea come from for your book?
I’m a big fan of 60’s counter culture films. Recently one called The Buttercup Chain was released on DVD. Two of the main characters are cousins, via identical twins (making them genetic half-siblings), who were raised as bother and sister. There is an obvious attraction between the two and the girl is willing to go for it while the boy freaks out every time they come close with no explanation as to why. I tracked down a copy of the obscure novel it was derived from hoping for enlightenment, but the book contained less of the romance than the movie. I got frustrated and said, “What’s the big deal? Just go there!” After much research I found that most books that deal with incest were either centered on abuse or were full-on erotica. Society shelters itself from the romances between siblings that happen in the real world. 10-15% of college age people have had experiences with a sibling and 5-10% of those are sexual. Someone needed to acknowledge that.

What genre does your book fall under?
Probably banned. Oh wait, that’s not a genre. Let’s say Edgy Romance. Ok, so that’s not a genre either. But if Edgy YA and Contemporary Adult Romance had an evil stepchild, that would be Love’s Forbidden Flower.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A strong-willed girl lets her heart lead the way despite society’s chains.

Or for a multi-sentence version:

Lily nurtures a secret love for a flawless man—the one who is her soul mate. Donovan is gorgeous, charismatic, and delights in all of Lily’s talents and quirks. Their innate knowledge of each other is almost telepathic. Together they interlock like fine threads creating luxurious silk.
But society dictates this picture-perfect adoration is the ghastliest of all possibilities.
As Lily embarks on a quest for the romance the heavens intended, her suitor turns reluctant. Desperate to uncover why Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hiding decayed from a tender-hearted gentleman into a ferociously self-serving, cocky bastard, Lily is prepared for battle when it comes to the salvation of her soul mate. However, Donovan traps Lily in a mental game of chess, leaving her to question his sanity. When Lily’s revelations about Donovan’s destructive alter ego lead to an unconceivable truth, can she help Donovan survive fate’s cruel joke?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
That might be incriminating as I did base a few of the characters off of ideas I got while watching too much TV. Basically, they all look like CW types or British TV and rock stars.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published. It is amazing how many agents I have scared off in a grand master flash when they read the query. In the bulk of my rejections the agents have flat out said the problem is the subject matter. Making changes and resubmitting has been encouraged, but then the whole point of the story would be lost. Though I would love to be traditionally published, it’s just not worth losing the story I have worked so hard crafting.
The book has gone through massive beta and gamma reads, and I have paid grammar hawks. The cover is under design now. The book should be released by the end of November 2012.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Just over a month. When I write I start by pounding out everything that “sounds good” just to get the thoughts swimming in my mind down. After that it is months of tweaking and refining.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Honestly, I don’t have anything to compare it to. I’ve read a lot of Shirley Jump and like her lighthearted approach. She showed me the benefit of humor in romance and definitely influenced many of the quirky scenes. I’m also a fan of YA novels because I feel they “keep it a little more real.” YA dares to be edgier than its “more mature” contemporaries. Forbidden by Tabitha Sazuma is a YA novel that deals with romantic sibling incest but in a much different way. Her book is now available in several languages.
I can tell you Love’s Forbidden Flower is not like V.C. Andrew’s Flowers in the Attic, which is the first book people mention when they hear of the subject matter. Love’s Forbidden Flower deals with mutually consenting adults and is not afraid to “go there.”

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
So many people say that all should have the right to marry the person they love, but do they really mean that? Generally that refers to gay rights, but what about others? Why can’t two mutually consenting adults choose their lifestyle without judgment?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The most obvious is that it’s a love story where the two main characters happen to be related. That scares many people off while it makes others clamor for a copy. But Love’s Forbidden Flower is not about shock value or sex, though there definitely is some in it. It’s really about civil rights and the freedom to love. It was designed so that the reader loses sight of the genetic relation.

So now we get to the part where I introduce THE NEXT BIG THING!

The excitement builds!

Introducing, horror author goddess, Kayla Al-Shamma-Jones!

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