The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Thanks for stopping in for my first EVER blog hop. I’m excited. Even the name (The Next Big Thing Blog Hop) has an exciting ring to it. What writer doesn’t dream of authoring a book that goes viral? We can all dream. I’d like to thank Jeanne Bannon for tagging me, and Joss Landry for getting me involved. May we all become the next big thing in the literary world, for surely there are enough readers out there to go around. 
Now on to the shameless awesome self-promotion Q&A:
1. What is the working title of your book?
My work-in-progress (WIP) is titled Epiphany. It’s the first in a planned three book series titled Legacy of Payne.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Weirdly enough, I got the idea for a novel while touring a local dairy farm. I was standing there looking at cows when the idea hit me. It reminds me of that game kids play—where you whisper something to one person and by the time it gets to the last, the words are completely different—because I have no idea how looking at cows got me here, but it did. I’m not sure where my ideas come from. I actually wrote a blog post about it a few months ago.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
I have a hard time putting Epiphany into a single genre. I think it falls into a blend of genres. Despite the paranormal undertones, I’d put it in romantic suspense.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Mandy Moore as Mackenzie Hill. Her looks have varied over the years, but I liked her style in Chasing Liberty, and her innocence in that role makes me think of Mackenzie. Aidan is more difficult to cast, but ultimately I’ve narrowed it down to either Skeet Ulrich from his Jericho days, or Matthew Settle from Gossip Girl. I’m posting links of photos below, in case anyone wants a visual.
Mandy Moore
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Holy cow! One sentence? Okay, here goes: A psychic woman seeks a new start in her mother’s hometown and comes face to face with the man she’s been dreaming about for years, only she never imagined that loving him would make her the target of a sadistic serial killer . . . or that a secret would threaten to tear them apart.
Consider this a working one-sentence synopsis.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published. I gave a lot of thought to querying agents, and also thought about submitting to small presses, but in the end I came to the realization that the only opinions that mattered to me were those of the readers. With the changing landscape of publishing—the emergence of e-books, and authors responsible for more of their own marketing—self-publishing made more sense to me. In this digital age, I’m not certain the middleman is necessary, especially as a first time author. I like the idea of having complete control over my work and writing career, and I love the concept that readers will decide whether my work is worthy of being out there.  
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I began writing Epiphany back in 2008 during National Novel Writing Month, but I didn’t stick with it. Last summer (July, 2011) I came back to the fifty thousand words I’d written and got serious about writing. Joining an online writing workshop really helped to motivate me, and I completed the majority of the first draft in six months, in which about ten percent of those original words made the cut! What I’ve learned in the last year—about writing and publishing—has been tremendous. I’m now working on the rewrites, which is going very slowly, and I still need to write the ending.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is a hard one, as I’ve tried to mentally place my book on the shelves at stores. It’s my baby, so I’m biased, but I think it’s different from the popular works out there. So many adult books—especially in the romantic suspense genre—are written in third person and are a bit formulaic. Epiphany is in first person, and the protagonist is young—only twenty-four. It’s part thriller and part romance, and for the life of me I can’t think of a book I’ve read that I could compare it to. The closest I can get is to some of Sandra Brown’s earlier novels, such as Breath of Scandaland Where There’s Smoke. I’ve aspired to emulate her talent for blending suspenseful and twisted plotlines with romance. 
9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I’m not sure it’s only one person or one thing. I’m inspired by other writers, movies and television, music, and even the ocean. I’m good at living in my head, so I write because it’s who I am.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I like to think that Epiphany is a bit different from what’s out there these days. There’s a serial killer running amok, a sheriff and deputy duo that are father and son, and the protagonist is psychic and saw her love interest in her dreams before he materialized in the flesh. Ultimately, the series arc is about three families and how they intertwine, and how even after many years have gone by, secrets still have a way of unraveling.
The novel is set in a small fictional town on the coast of Oregon named Watcher’s Point. I drive to the coast often for inspiration, to Yachats, in particular. Though the town is smaller than I envision Watcher’s Point to be, I love the atmosphere.
Thanks again for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed reading about my crazy novel-writing journey. I’m aiming to have Epiphany completed and available for purchase this coming spring in 2013.
In the meantime, do check out a few other participants in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop (their Q&As are due to be posted next Wednesday, October 10th).

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10 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

  1. Thanks for tagging me, Christina! I'm so looking forward to reading the published version of Epiphany. Mac and Aidan are one of the hottest couples ever to grace the pages!

  2. Thank you for the kind comments, Jennifer! And thanks for participating. I'm looking forward to your sequel as well. 🙂

  3. Cool, that was pretty much how I pictured Watchers Point! Congratulations on your first blog hop. If you open up a casting vote on your next blog post, I will vote for Skeet Ulrish for Aidan. On the fence about Mandy Moore though. I might need some more choices there. =)

  4. Excellent picture of Epiphany, Christina. Love that you're so far advanced. And I love Mandy Moore. She's stylish and pretty and used to go out with Tennis great, Andy Roddick. I just can't wait to read your wonderful novel. Cheers to your great writing talent!

  5. Thank you, Joss. I love Mandy Moore too. I tend to forget her early blond days, lol. I think she does too, actually. She's got an amazing voice. First time I saw A Walk To Remember I got the chills when she sang. Never read the book, but love the movie.

  6. Great post, Christina! The pic of the town helps me visualize the one in your book, and Mandy Moore would make an awesome Mackenzie. I loved reading your work on TNBW and look forward to your release date!

  7. I came here from the AW thread. You have a great one-sentence summary–it totally made me want to read it, and this is not my usual fare. I'm also terribly amused that it came about from staring at cows. Actually, that same weird game of telephone-with-thoughts happens in my head when I start a book, too! Glad to see I'm in good company. 😉

  8. Thanks so much! I almost chickened out on the one sentence summary, lol. Funny, how writing an entire novel seems easier that breaking it down into one sentence. Thanks for stopping by!

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