I’ve been tagged by Irish-Indian author RJ Samuel for the 25th week of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.
The idea is to hop from blog to blog to discover exciting books we might not have heard about or that are still works in progress. Each author will answer the same ten questions, then list authors who will answer the questions on their blogs next Wednesday.
What is the working title of your book?
I’ll be talking about my just-published novel After Mrs Hamilton.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
From random late-night drunken conversations, mainly with a friend who used to visit prostitutes. Then mix in my love of twisting British tales, a weakness for older women and love of French actresses.
What genre does your book fall under?
I think intrigue-romance is probably the closest genre. I set out just to write a story and like to have elements of intrigue, suspense, a good dollop of romance as well as some dark moments too. I definitely aimed at a twisting page-turner for this novel though, and although readers may suspect some of the plot I don’t think (hope) they’ll spot every twist.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Now I know I never missed a vocation as a casting director because I find this one very difficult. The character of Fran was definitely inspired by French actresses Catherine Deneuve and Fanny Ardant. Who wouldn’t be inspired by these two:
Catherine Deneuve and Fanny Ardant in 8 Women
But after a while, no matter who the starting point may have been, my main characters become individuals in look, behaviour and background and I find it difficult to see them in any other way. Clo is very much just Clo.
Minor characters are easier. Judi Dench or Eileen Atkins as Clo’s grandmother Amelia. Perhaps Famke Janssen as the madam Marella. Miranda Richardson for Clo’s mother (I think she could pull off being unpleasant enough). John Hurt as Clo’s father. Kristin Scott Thomas as Susan’s aunt Anna (because why wouldn’t you want her in a film).
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Chance meetings trigger the unravelling of old secrets.
What is the longer synopsis of your book?
This the blurb for the book. (I don’t usually describe much more than this because the unfolding story and twists are such a large part of the book’s appeal.)
Clo leads a loveless life as an escort for older women. Laura is locked in a safe marriage, but longs to break out and find the parents she never met. Two women enter the lives of these friends and Clo and Laura’s secrets, and those of the generation before, begin to unravel.
Set in London and Oxfordshire, After Mrs Hamilton is an intricate tale of secrets, obsession and betrayal.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This is my second self-published novel. Self-publishing is hard work but I love the freedom to write exactly what I want, and also choose the cover. (It’s available on Amazon and Smashwords.)
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I originally did the outline and a first draft in three months back in 2009. There were some critical issues with that first draft but I didn’t have the experience to put it right. I decided to attempt a simpler novel first (Pennance – another intrigue-romance-ish) and then came back to rewrite it this year (it was never going to let me go unless I finished it).
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I started writing in my twenties – short stories and an aborted attempt at a novel – but did very little again until my late-thirties. After the original idea (above) I started tentatively writing again and showed my partner whose reaction was “Oh. You can really write” and she wanted to know the rest of the story (she’s never forgiven me for having to wait for it to be written). Also, Diana Simmonds read an early draft of my rewrite and her feedback and lack of tolerance for short-comings was essential for me getting the story to work.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
What early readers have most liked is the twisting tale, intriguing characters, British setting, and an older woman in a romance.
Next Wednesday check these far-flung authors for the next big thing:
Diana Simmonds is an experienced journalist, writer, editor and theatre critic from UK/Kenya/Australia (she’s been everywhere). Her writing has such ease, wit and flair – I’m most envious of it. She has a new novel out next year.
UK author Cari Hunter‘s debut novel Snowbound had a gruesomely detailed account of a violent hostage situation with horribly precise descriptions of injuries. I was not surprised (and it was also a relief) when I learned she works as a paramedic. The excellent Snowbound also has a good dose of romance. Cari has a new novel out next year.
TT Thomas is the bright and funny author of short works such as The Guy in Frankie’s Hatbox and Two Weeks At Gay Banana Hot Springs. She lives in California and her first novel is out now.