Tag Archives: the next big thing

The Next Big Thing

Thanks, Heather O’Connor (www.merlinwrites.com) for thinking of me and my blog and including us in the game of blog tag.  As part of blog tag, author’s are asked to answer ten questions about their work-in-progress. Very timely, indeed, since I have made it my New Year’s resolution to finish my novel and begin sending it out before year’s end. I particularly enjoyed imagining who would play my characters if/when it is ever made into a movie.

What is your working title of your book?     LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER

A mock-up of my novel that I have placed in front of my desk to remind me what I'm there to do.

A mock-up of my novel that I have placed in front of my desk to remind me what I’m there to do.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Look Over Your Shoulder is a story about forgiveness and redemption.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In 2004 my dear friend, Heidi Stanzel McIssac, was told she needed a bone marrow transplant to beat leukemia that she had battled most of her adult life. Being an only child with her father from Germany and her mother from South Africa, finding a suitable donor was not going to be easy. When a donor was not found within Heidi’s extended family, the search broadened to include media campaigns overseas. Eventually, a donor was located and Heidi received her transplant only to have her body rejected the donor marrow. Heidi passed away on September 16, 2004, leaving behind a thirteen year old daughter and parents who, most likely, will never recovered from their lose.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Heidi’s attempts to educate people about bone marrow transplants and her death made me take a look at my own family. I come from a large, Roman Catholic family. I have three siblings and ten first cousins. My ancestry is a Celtic cocktail of English, Irish and Scottish with a dash of French to add some heat to the mix. I suspect if I were to ever need a transplant, one would be easy enough to find. This got me thinking. What if someone from a large, dysfunctional family required a transplant and the only match available came from the least reliable person in the clan.

What genre does your book fall under? Literary Fiction

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My hope is to find an agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I was able to finish the first draft of my novel in a year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Although the stories are different, I would like to think the style I have written Look Over Your Shoulder will remind readers of Jane Hamilton’s – A Map of the World, or Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s – Turtle Valley.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Since no one ever sees the same situation the same way, I thought it would fun to write this story from the point of view of three players—Anne, Burt and Barb.

Everyone looks to Anne, the matriarch, for guidance as they wade through the biggest crisis to ever face their family. Before she can help them, Anne must first confront her feelings of guilt and must make peace with a God she’s convinced has abandoned her.

Burt’s years of self-destructive behaviour have destroyed two marriages, pushed his three sons away and taught his family that he can’t be trusted. He is the last person anyone feels they can count on, and the only match for his sister. Although nervous about the transplant procedure, he comes to see this as an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of his family.

Barb, the youngest sibling, seldom thinks of anyone other than herself. When Lizzie’s body begins to reject Burt’s marrow, Barb is faced with the real possibility that she could lose the only person she feels has ever accepted her. Yet, true to form, Barb throws risky distractions between herself and the truth of what life without her closest sister could mean.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Anne – Shirley MacLaine, Burt – Robert Downey Jr, Barb – Julianne Moore.

Thanks again, Heather and tag, you’re it, Kate Arms-Roberts and others who still have to give me permission to use their names.

Kate Arms-Roberts is a Toronto-based writer, though she has hailed from various locations in the U.S. and U.K. before landing in Canada. She blogs at http://www.katearmsroberts.wordpress.com and is currently working on a fantasy novel for teens.


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