The Next Big Thing ...
by Jeff Salter
event called “The Next Big Thing.” Meg’s column can be found here:
I’m kinda fudging on the proposed concept, since “Called to Arms Again” is not my work in progress — it’s my completed novel (with a new contract at Astraea Press) which has just now begun the editing phase. So, in that sense, it’s a WIP ... but in any case, it’s my next big thing.
Why select this novel instead of one which I’m still composing? Several reasons, a few of which will be answered below. The rest I’ll pick up at the end.
Here are the standard questions for this connecting blog event:
1) What is the title of your next book/work?
Called To Arms Again
2) Where did the idea come from for the book/work?
I got the fundamental plot idea from the rather isolated retirement neighborhood of my in-laws (both since deceased). I noticed that several of the residents kept their garage doors up about 18 inches and remarked one day: “it would be pretty easy for a kid to shinny under these doors and rob these old folks.”
3) What genre does your work fall under?
I’d have to say it’s a hybrid of action, comedy, and romance ... all rolled into a story which is a tribute to the Greatest Generation.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m stumped on this ‘casting’ thing. I used to say that my heroine, Kelly, resembled a younger Diane Lane ... and my hero, Mitch, resembled a younger Harrison Ford. But to name actors of the proper age range to play them on-screen now — hmm, I’ll need some time on this.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis to explain where your work begins?
Needing only a fresh angle to write her Veteran’s Day special, Kelly discovers first-hand that the Greatest Generation still has enough grit to fight back —against an urban gang of thieves while all the authorities are occupied during a massive Homeland Security drill.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’s under contract (my third) with Astraea Press.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Though I had begun work on this story in the late fall of 2007, it wasn’t until Feb. 2008 that I renewed my work in earnest. So I can say most of the (first draft) writing occupied the 60 consecutive days leading up to April 2 of that year.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can’t think of any...
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In addition to my reply to question # 2 (above), my inspiration came from my late father-in-law’s involvement with the American Legion Post # 38 Honor Guard, which had provided military honors for the burials of about 2000 veterans in our county over the preceding 18 years.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Besides humor and action, I think older readers will recognize THEMSELVES (and friends) in this tribute to the Greatest Generation. Younger readers will recognize parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, among other relatives and friends.
Something else significant (to me): besides the romance between the younger Kelly and Mitch, my story features the loving relationship between a married couple in their 80s ... as well as an undefined (but very close) relationship between an 80-something man and a 60-something woman.
Additional notes on my next big thing:
Called to Arms Again features a character inspired by my late father-in-law; this character had also appeared prominently in two previous manuscripts which my father-in-law had read. As he was in his last months of life in the hospital, I kept him posted on the progress of my third novel to involve ‘his’character. It was my hope to finish that draft in time for him to read it, but he died the day before I completed it.
After I completed that very rough initial draft, this manuscript remained basically idle for some 14 months. Then I overhauled it and sent out copies to beta readers. It was several years later before I found opportunity and time to overhaul it yet again ... this time trimming some 45,000 words from its 164,000 word original length.