The Next Big Thing
The Next Big Thing is a blog chain in which authors "tag" other writers to answer 10 questions about their work-in-progress. Kris Neri, author of the award-winning Samantha Brennan and Annabelle Haggerty Magical Mystery series, recently “tagged” me.
In return I've tagged Chris Swinney (a narcotics detective who writes law enforcement thrillers), John Brantingham (award-winning novelist, poet and creative writing professor) and Marta Chausee (a new OTP author!) who will answer the questions on their blog sites. Here are my responses:
What is your working title of your book?
“The Sinister Sitcom Caper,” book two in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Several years ago I worked as a tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures in Hollywood—the most fun I ever had on a job. During the day the pages led tourists on two-hour walking tours around the lot and in the evenings we ushered the audiences for the sitcom tapings. I used these experiences and the information I learned for the book.
What genre does your book fall under?
Humorous caper/cozy mystery.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I have no idea. My protagonist, Sandy Fairfax, is a 38-year-old former ‘70s teen idol. All the real-life ‘70s teen idols are now too old for the role! Sandy is tall, blue eyed, has long blonde hair, is left-handed and a little overweight, and has cute, boyish features. If anyone knows of an actor with this description who can sing, play guitar, dance, and juggle, let me know!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When a former ‘70s teen idol guest stars on the lowest-rated TV show of the season, he uncovers Hollywood secrets with the help of a dwarf and an animal actor.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Oak Tree Press will publish this book.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I had the idea for several years, even when I started on the first Sandy Fairfax book in 2008. As for actual writing time, off and on for a year or two. I spent a good deal of time marketing my first book, so work on the second was sporatic. My goal is to finish the manuscript in three months for a 2013 release.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
No one else is writing mysteries with teen idols so it’s hard to compare. But several cozy authors have written mysteries set at movie studios. Laura Levin’s “Last Writes” comes to mind as well as Kit Sloane’s Margot and Max mysteries. My book is also pays homage to the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys stories with the fast pace and over-the-top action/adventure.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The protagonist was inspired by The Monkees. I love teen idol music and I find the whole teen idol/fan phenomena interesting. “The Hardy Boys Mysteries” TV show was also an inspiration. My protagonist also starred as a TV detective, and I loved the idea of an actor unwittingly living out a role he played.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Although the book has many funny scenes, there’s also an serious emotional thread throughout. Sandy has some difficult moments dealing with ex-wife, who has custody of his children, and also with his father, who never approved of his teen idol career.