The Next Big Thing

Friend and author Jacqueline Gum suggested I look into “The Next Big Thing”-a sort of blog chain. I did, and author John Cammalleri invited me in. Here I answer a few pre-set questions about my next book, and invite some more authors to follow suit. Here’s a link to John’s blog to view his answers to the same questions:

The questions/responses:

Q: Working title of next book?

A: HIGHER GROUND. I figure that’s what Lieutenant Colonel Custer was desperately seeking at the end of his career.

Q:Where did the idea for the book come from?

A:It’s the third piece of a trilogy, behind NO GOOD LIKE IT IS and DOG SOLDIER MOON.

Q: What genre?

A: This is Historical Fiction, on the US Civil War/Western Era.

Q: What actors would you choose for your characters in a movie rendition?

A: Dobey Walls:Matt Damon. Boss Melton: Josh Brolin. Doc: Ed Harris. Annette Walls Balliett: Marisa Tomei. Bear: Denzel Washington. Hickok: Vigo Mortensen

Q:One sentence synopsis of the book:

A:Retribution is the major theme, with Dobey and Boss continuing their search for the rapists/murderers who nearly destroyed their families, while the Cheyenne (Monahsetah, Striker, and Weasel) gain their revenge on Custer at the Little Bighorn.

Q: Will it be self-published or represented by an agency?

A:Probably self-published. I doubt any agency would want to pick up the third book of a series, despite sales of over 3500 of the first two books. The first was self-published (Createspace), and the sequel was picked up by a small press (Goldminds Publishing); I do virtually all marketing on both.

Q: How long did it take with the first draft?

A: I’ve still got 170 pages to go, though it’s all in my head. Each of the first two books took about a year.

Q: What other books in the genre compare to this?

A: Terry C. Johnston’s series, The Plainsmen, is probably best known, but Johnny Boggs has some great ones too, such as The Big Fifty, about the fight at Adobe Walls. As for style, I like Elmore Leonard, Robert Parker, and Larry McMurtry, but I’m not comparing myself to any of those amazing writers. I just want to be like them when I grow up.

Q: Who/what inspired the book?

A: This is just the natural continuation and conclusion of the series, which taken together will read as a 900 page epic spanning twenty-five years. I wanted to introduce non-historians to some real people that I find interesting (Chief Black Kettle,Monahsetah, Stand Watie, J.B. Hickok, Benteen, and Custer) and events (the Fort Pillow Massacre, Wild Bill’s gunfights, and the battles of the Washita and the Little Bighorn), and give them some depth through fictional characters and dialogue.

Q: What else might pique interest in it?

A: I didn’t see a need for the “F” word, but these are soldiers so there’s profanity. To counter that there’s also a ‘Soiled Dove’ who pushes the men to clean up their language-she’s worried about lightning strikes. There’s some romance, but it’s complicated; some sex, but it’s understated. There’s shocking violence which is almost casual-but realistic. You’ll learn a lot about the guns of the period whether you want to or not, an ongoing failing of mine. And there’s humor throughout the epic, as there always was.

Here are the authors I’ve invited to participate: John Huffman, Dale Jackson, Troy Smith, Carol Buchanan and Steven Law. Watch for their answers in two weeks on their sites.

3 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing

    • If you can land a traditional publisher, go that way by all means, and that is much easier for nonfiction writers than for idiots like me. For most of us unknowns, self-publishing is the only choice, at least until you’re discovered. I strongly recommend Createspace and Kindle to start; they help with formatting etc., and you own everything. If your work takes off, you can republish thru Lightningsource and get your book into the Ingram distribution system, and thru them into Books A Million and Barnes and Noble. Whatever you do, get your book professionally edited and objectively reviewed (NOT by friends) before going to press. If you haven’t already, join a writers workshop-most large towns have them. And good luck!