I haven’t bitten off my fingernails or worn a path in the carpet yet, but I sent out the latest draft of Summer at the Crossroads to beta readers this week.
The manuscript went through a major overhaul since it went nowhere with querying in early 2011. For the better? I sure hope so. But when you live with a story for so long, it’s hard to be objective after a while. You need unbiased, fresh eyes to read it and objective comments to show where work is still needed. Of course, you also hope some parts really are good. So we’ll see what happens when comments come back. Until then, I’m switching gears and trying to finish those last major revisions for Death Out of Time.
You might be tired of this, but I was tagged again for the Next Big Thing by Gemma at topoftheslushpile. Thank you, Gemma! I also passed on forwarding this a few weeks ago when Scott at kindredspirit23 nominated me soon after my last award. Many of you might already follow these two bloggers, but if you haven’t yet visited their sites, I encourage you to do so.
In honor of the manuscript going out for beta review, I thought I’d answer this round of questions one more time. I’ve added new details to keep the answers fresh. (Not that I expect you to have remembered what I said before—your brains have more important thing to store!)
What is the working title of your book?
Say it with me — Summer at the Crossroads
Where did the idea for the book come from?
In late 2008, I started thinking about string theory, the multiverse, and alternate selves and how it might be interesting to take a character through a slice of life in several universes. I had a few “alternates” in mind but wanted one that was really different. Then, on Easter Sunday, my mom told a family story I had never heard before. Two days later, on 14 April 2009, I knew what my “really different” life for the character could be. I started writing the story that day.
What genre does it fall under?
Don’t let the multiverse and string theory fool you. This is mainstream/general/commercial fiction—whichever term you’d like to use.
What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
No one famous please. Maybe a Russian actor for Mikhail and a Serbian one for Mihailo? I’d like their accents to be real.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
I’m still working on that. Condensing this book to one sentence may be impossible. Instead, here’s my draft “blurb” for the back cover. The emphasis is on draft.
One Woman — Infinite Lives
When circumstances push an archaeologist into the government bureaucracy rather than academia, her intellect and creativity find another outlet. Daydreaming about “what if?” isn’t enough for Catherine Donnelly. Add her lay interest in string theory and the multiverse, and she can explain not only these fantasies but also déjà vu and vivid dreams. Catherine thinks these intense images are glimpses of our lives in parallel universes.
Against the backdrop of a visit between Catherine and her best friend, an eventful summer unfolds for three of her other selves. Maya archaeologist Katharine Donnelly has a clandestine sideline. Mid-level State Department officer Kathryn Donnellan has a Russian husband. Serbian/Irish-American graduate student Katarina O’Donnell has meddling grandparents. All three women confront the challenges raised by political instability, diplomatic intrigue, and an unexpected meeting in their respective worlds.
Will your book be self-published or be represented by an agency?
A year ago, I would’ve explained how I was concentrating on Death Out of Time, a more easily pitched book, in hopes of attracting an agent and press. I’d realized that Crossroads would be too different and thus too “risky” for the traditional presses. Now, as I see many excellent writers with great first novels getting nowhere in the traditional realm, I’m seriously leaning toward publishing both books myself.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Six months, working part-time. The revisions have taken “a bit” longer.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve asked my betas to let me know if they can think of any comparisons after they read it.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A period of thinking “What if” while also watching documentaries on string theory and the multiverse. I think that’s all my Muse and characters needed. They decided I was the person to write this book in this universe.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
We’ve all thought “What if I’d….?” and fantasized about different lives for ourselves. So has Catherine Donnelly. This book might make you believe you really are that other self “somewhere else.”
This particular game has made the rounds, I think. But if you have a new WIP you’d like to showcase on your blog, please consider this your tag.
If you’re interested, you can read the opening scenes to each of the four alternate universes in their current draft form under the “Summer at the Crossroads” tab on my blog’s header. And next Saturday, I’ll try to post something less specific to writing.