I got roped into participating in a blog hop, courtesy of the very talented Melanie, aka Ink Out Loud. If you haven’t read or subscribe to her blog, do so right now. She’s exactly the kind of young, gifted, go-getting writer and actress and all-around creative type that’s going places.
God, I hate go-getters.
At any rate, Melanie asked if I’d participate in this blog hop thingy, wherein I’d answer 10 questions in relation to my work-in-progress, and I’d agree to post my answers in a separate blog. Additionally, I am to keep this blog hop going by tagging five other bloggers/writers who are also in the midst of
pulling their hair writing during NaNoWriMo.
(Regarding the tagging thing, there are so many great blogging writers I’m a fan of, so picking 5 isn’t as easy as it seems. So, instead, if you’re reading this, and you want to participate, let me know in the Comments section below, and I’ll send you the instructions on what do to. Okay?)
Alright, here goes me making an ass of myself. As always…
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
1. What is the working title of your book?
There are several working titles for my book, depending on what mood I’m in when I’m writing. So far, “The Trouble With Superheroes,” “The Book of Daniel,” and “Crazy Like a Superhero” are the ones I’m considering.
PS: I hate coming up with titles.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Two main ideas converged: the first idea for the book came from a conversation I was having with my wife about working in a corporate (white-collar) setting, like we both do, and riffing on ideas on how to make working in the corporate world more absurb. I threw in an idea about superheroes working in a corporate setting, and suddenly the idea became a pretty amusing satire, sort of X-Men meets The Office, complete with workplace drama and people you hate working with/for.
The second idea is more personal. Having dealt with depression most of my adult life, I’m in a contemplative mood recently, and I’ve put a lot of thought into what it means to be something bigger and better to those you love. Being more heroic, so to speak. The novel is a rumination into this: an examination on what it means to be a hero, a superhero, and whether we have it in us to be that kind of person.
The protagonist is someone who’s clearly heroic, yet he’s emotionally and psychologically fragile. He’s got that inflated sense of self and that massive ego that comes from being a superhero, but he’s prone to fits of mania and depression that ultimately leave him in a state of psychological paralysis. His internal conflict, along with the external conflicts, are what he’s to face throughout the novel.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
I would think it falls somewhere between literary fiction and genre. I have much respect for genre, but I also feel there’s a lot of constraints to genre; it can feel somewhat formulaic, even if the formula’s guaranteed to work. I’m trying to write something that blends the demands of genre with the freedom of literary fiction.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Come back to me when my agent’s negotiated a film deal.
Honestly, I haven’t put any thought into this. The protagonist, and the supporting characters – his ex-wife, his best friend/sidekick, his arch-nemesis, are aged between their late-30s and early 40’s. Plus, the protagonist is more than your typical one-dimensional superhero; he’s undergoing an emotional and psychological breakdown, so an actor who can be both action-oriented and plumb into some internal dark territory is a must.
So maybe Robert Downey Jr. would be perfect in the lead role, but he’s already got that Iron Man/Tony Stark thing going, so no sense in him repeating himself.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I don’t think a one-sentence synopsis will give this novel the summary it deserves, but here goes:
A superhero comes to the bitter realization that he may be a hero to many, but a lousy person to others – especially his ex-wife – and his abrupt retirement sets off a series of events that culminates in a final confrontation with the one enemy he fears the most: himself.
6. If you plan to publish, will your book be self-published or published traditionally?
I haven’t put much thought into how the book will be published yet, just like I haven’t researched agents or publishers yet. I would prefer traditional publishing, whether it’s one of the big houses, or an independent publisher, but I’m very open to self-publishing.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’ve been in first-draft mode for a while, but I finally completed the bare bones draft (you can call it a first draft) this past June. Currently, I’m on the second or third draft, depending on what day it is.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A few books come to mind. Watchmen, of course, as its quite possibly the finest graphic novel ever published, and an excellent examination on the significance of the superhero mythology. Kingdom Come is another one that comes to mind.
Lowboy is another, a remarkable novel about a sixteen-year-old boy who’s convinced that the world is coming to an end, and only he can save the world. The thing is, he’s a paranoid schizophrenic. There are some elements in my novel that I’ve picked up from Lowboy.
I’m a big fan of Junot Diaz and Michael Chabon; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay are two books I’ve had in mind while writing this novel.
Finally, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, simply for the reason that Gaiman is one of the few writers that can marry the demands of genre (horror, fantasy, sci/fi) with the breadth and scope of literary fiction, especially character development, along with a keen and wicked sense of humor and a love for pop culture.
9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
As I mentioned before, my wife’s been a catalyst; she’s not a writer, and frankly, sometimes my writing gets in the way of things, but she’s been as supportive as a spouse can be, even if she does find my need to write perplexing at times.
I’m also inspired by Super, a novel by a dear friend of mine named Aaron Dietz. His is an experimental and deeply hilarious take on becoming a superhero, and you should read it, only because I told you to do so. Seriously, read it. You won’t be disappointed.
I’ve been surrounded by many friends who are also writers. The immensely talented and very supportive Bud Smith, for example. I love his writing, and his approach to writing. His support for my writing, along with the support from other writing friends, have been very important and inspirational to me.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s got plenty for anyone to be interested in it: a love story (your classic boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-marry-then-divorce, boy-tries-to-win-girl-back), plenty of drama, conflict, and action, loads of satire, tons of humor and snappy dialogue – lots of pop culture riffing – and much to think about from a philosophical standpoint.
So there you have it. Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest. In the meantime, I’m going to continue gnashing my teeth and wrestling this WIP into something readable.
Thanks for reading.