‘The Next Big Thing’ is about authors helping authors. From the first day on the internet trying to promote my book I have also found a huge wealth of colleagues and great books that needed publicity and reviews. I expected a competitive world in which everyone tries to push themselves forward but instead I found generous and kind friends who are interested in each other’s work and are happy to help in any way they can. As one of them said to me: We are all connected.
I have been tagged for “The Next Big Thing” by Kerry Dwyer, a British expat who now lives in France. She came across my humble beginnings on the internet marketing scene and kindly offered me a guest spot on her blog, asking me to write about “War and Peace in Literature”, which coincided with the release of my first book “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”. A kindness I will not easily forget.
Kerry’s first book is called “Ramblings in Ireland” and follows a small multi-national family on their holiday to Ireland, a humorous and lovely treat of a novel or in her own words: A tangential ramble through the West of Ireland and the memoirs and musings of an ex pat Brit and her French husband.
What is the working title of your next book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
After writing “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”, which is set in Slovakia around WW2 there were many questions still open to me, like: Were the Habsburg days really that much better, especially for Jews? How did the Monarchy fall? How different was WW1 in comparison to the next? Were times simpler then?
The other idea is plot related. My fatherly grandparents split in 1933 and my father and his sister got separated. Why remains a riddle to this day. My father heard one story, my aunt another. The theme is picked up in “The Luck of the Weissensteieners” following one possible explanation, and the other possibility for the separation is the basic in “Sebastian”.
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Sebastian would suit Benedict Cumberbatch or Simon Bird.
In “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” I had visualised a German actress called Maria Schrader for the part of Greta and Kate Winslet as her sister Vilma. Ed O’Neill as their father Jonah and Glenn Close as the farmer’s wife Johanna, whose husband Benedict looks like Harvey Keitel to me.
Both books have a lot of characters, so it would be tricky to choose.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Sebastian: A young disabled boy in 1910s Vienna who has to assume responsibility for his family business because of the consequences of WW1 and his love life.
The Luck of the Weissensteiners: The struggle of a Jewish family in Slovakia between 1933 and 1946 as the multi-cultural country and its changing politics affect them and their friends.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be self-published unless I am “discovered” before then.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote the first draft in two months (three for Luck of the Weissensteiners) but rewrote it a few times following feedback or further deliberations.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Weissensteiners: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, although I must shy away from comparing myself to such great works
Sebastian: Maybe works by Stefan Zweig and Isaac Singer
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Both books had their original idea in actual anecdotes and stories of my own family. My grandparents lived in the German-populated areas of Czechoslovakia and I always wanted to find out how they lived and what it was like for them during the war. My grandfather had a leg amputation that was not related to the war, which was the basis for Sebastian
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Both books are part of a trilogy, called The Three Nations Trilogy.
I was particularly fascinated by the many changes of borders, the re-drawing of new nations and the concept of nationalism versus communism that swept the world during those times. What defines a nation, is it language, culture, loyalty to a throne or leader? On a more personal level is it religion, believes, family ties and marriages? While my first book homes in on the political borders, Sebastian focuses on the more personal ties – although it is impossible to completely separate them in either of the books.
The Next Big Thing tags
As part of ‘The Next Big Thing’ I am to tag five other authors. It seems so few when there are so many good authors out there who deserve a mention. I have chosen these five who were brought to my attention during 2012.
Angella Graff is my first choice. http://angellagraffbooks.wordpress.com/ She has recently released “Awakening”, the first of 12 books in her series “The Judas Curse”. Urban fantasy is not my usual genre but her book is not just a thriller with a supernatural twist, it is a deep and meaningful exploration of what makes people believe, e.g. the authenticity of the gospels or miracles. On top of all that food for thought the writing flows so easily, Angella could write a copy of the phone book and I would want to read it.
David E. Manuel is a talented crime fiction writer whose work I had the pleasure to review. He has published three books in the Richard Paladin series: Killer Protocols, Clean Coal Killers and The Tree Killers. Manuel gives great detail to his characters and complex story lines and each of his books follows a different direction, making it unpredictable and entertaining. http://killerprotocols.blogspot.co.uk/
Mike Ronny is a very talented short story writer whose work in his own words can wittily be described as “bedtime stories for grown-ups”. They deal with unlikely heroes and colourful and unusual characters: Teenagers, underdogs and old men. I am not usually a fan of short stories but these are a real find in my view. http://mikeronny.com/
I came across Ty Patterson and his recent book “The Warrior” on Goodreads and a good read it was. It is on the surface a fairly typical action thriller about a personal vendetta between mercenaries in Africa but contains a lot of intelligent plotting, depth and great writing skills. http://pattersonty.wordpress.com/
My fifth recommendation is Jim Fox, an inspirational speaker and writer who published “Be Still” late in 2012, a collection of small snippets of spiritual guidance and personal wisdom – some of which are more familiar than others. All of them use the common thread, an invite to be still. I found these very refreshing and indeed inspirational.
- http://kerrydwyer.net/2013/01/14/the-next-big-thing/The Next Big Thing (stevebichard.com)
- The Next Big Thing (Amsterdam Oriole)
- The Next Big Thing (rebeccamckeownwrites.com)
- My Next Big Thing (youngbyname.me)
- The Next Big Thing (steve-emmett.com)
- The Next Big Thing (annettesthomson.com)
- The Next Big Thing – My Turn (ellenvgregory.com)
- The Next Big Thing (pigletinportugal.com)
- The Next Big Thing? (familyandfaithmatters.wordpress.com)
- The Next Big Thing (interview with Tara Laskowski) (ashleyinguanta.com)