Next Big Thing

I was tagged by, I think, three separate people for this – the first two I said “Thank you but no,” as I was coming out of a nearly 12-month stretch of not writing. But now it’s been about 2 months and I’ve been writing frequently, so I’m kind of ready to talk about it again.

What is the working title of the book?

A Door Closes at Night. It comes from a workshop experience I had – the facilitator was reflecting on the idea that people often ask unanswerable questions in life, things like “Why do you love me?” He answered his own question – “I don’t know, because a door closes at night.” I just really loved the image.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A few years ago I started rewriting Bible stories, giving new voice to them or approaching them from a different perspective – Delilah’s remembrance of Samson, Lot’s Daughters, Eve’s view of Lilith, Jesus as one of a pair of twins. But then you can only retell so many Bible stories, so I expanded into other kinds of myths and legends – Greek mythology, other religious stories, urban legends, popular culture, fairy tales. I really wanted to address how we as a culture like to tell ourselves stories, and to examine those stories closely. I even invented a new American fairy tale, and included some of my own personal mythology.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely poetry.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition

Because the manuscript represents such an eclectic mix of stories, this would really be an ensemble cast. I’d love for Jeremy Sisto to reprise his flowing-hair Jesus. I think a cast of young, strong, capable women would probably be called for, too: Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Ellen Page. And maybe, like, Paul Rudd covering all the rest of the male roles. Just because I think he can. Oh, and a cameo by Martha Stewart (really).

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

New American fairy tales for every girl and boy. (That’s more of a phrase, really.)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I have been working on this for about three years now. Some of the poems in it are four or five years old, but the serious focus started in 2010.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I don’t really know, actually. I felt like I had enough strong poems to try to put a manuscript together, and that’s about the extent of it. Little did I know that I would still be pulling poems out and putting new ones in three years later…

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

In particular, I think the history I invented for a real landmark is interesting and fun. You’ll be able to read that poem later this year in Referential Magazine.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ll be circulating the book to contests again at some point – I’ve already been through 2 rounds of contests, so I needed some time to revise and consider new markets.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

I’m going to cop out and not tag anyone.

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