Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Next Big Thing (Week 24)

Today I'm part of a blog tag where writers talk about their work in progress. Last week I was tagged by Stacy Stokes, my blogmate and a friend of mine. This week, I'll talk about my work and then I'll pass the baton to another writer friend who will be sharing his wonderful work next week.

1.  What is the working title of your book?  Betty Noir

2.  Where did the idea come from for the book?  For years I’d watch some of my female students suddenly turn self-destructive and dark. Often I never knew what happened, but I always worried and wondered. I found that nothing I could say helped much until I started talking about the French concept of the Bete Noire – the darkness in us all, and how it’s always a struggle to fight back against it. They seemed to connect to the idea of the darkness being a separate voice/entity haunting them so I let my imagination run and wrote a book where it literally did.

3.  What genre does your book fall under?  YA novel in verse/prose, but from there it’s tricky. Maybe a darkly optimistic magic realism?

4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For Betty, how could I resist wanting Dakota Fanning? I could see her fabulously bubbly, then dark, and then a hopeful version of the two. For Holden, I’d like to resurrect James Dean or a young Johnny Depp, but I’d take Logan Lerman from today. As for Lindsay, I think Taylor Swift could be dork-a-licious and broken.

5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Fifteen-year-old cheer captain Betty is literally raped and metaphorically "impregnated" with a dark voice that haunts her from the inside until Holden, a shy—and very appealing—artist, empowers her and stops her spiral of self-destruction by showing her the pictures he draws of the demon haunting her.

6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by and agency?  I would love to work with an agent. 

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  Which one? The first draft was originally all in verse and took about three months, but then I re-wrote it in both prose (Betty) and verse (Noir), and that took about four months.

8.  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  One reader surprised me by saying that it reminded her a little of The Book Thief (I think because of its unusual narrative structure). Others have said Speak. I was reading a lot of Latin American magic realism short stories, John Green, and Sonya Sones when I wrote this; hopefully flavors of those brands of magic slipped in somehow.

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?  See question #1.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?  I guess I wanted to write a good love story. I suppose I thought about the kind of guy I wanted when I was a teen and blended it with elements of the great men I’ve met since then to create a bumbling and sweet little romance. And sometimes I try to be funny.

That's all I've got for now!

Tagged for next week (week 25) is one of my very talented writer friends. Check out his blog next Wednesday when it's his turn to post answers to these same questions about his own work in progress! 


  1. Love your actor choices, and can't wait to read the latest version!

  2. This sounds amazing. I mean it. I'd love to read this. Really, really cool concept!!! And love your casting choices. :)

    Logan Lerman was SO good in Perks of Being a Wallflower. I can't think of anyone else who could've brought Charlie to life the way he did.