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The Next Big Thing

October 18, 2012

Exciting news from the scenic route today!

Those of you familiar with the How to Revise Your Novel course by Holly Lisle will be pleased to hear that I have finished my second pass through the Lesson Seventeen Block Revision. I’m exhilarated, exhausted, but most of all I just want to give my manuscript a big hug! After everything it’s been through in this revision, I think it deserves one. Finally, I feel like I’ve written a real book, instead of just a collection of loosely related scenes.

To commemorate this occasion, I’ve  decided to pull over to the side of the road and let you guys check out the view. Thank you Jamie Ayres for tagging me with The Next Big Thing Blog hop and giving me an excuse to talk about my story!

Yay, questions! Ten in all. Ready?

  • 1. What is the title of the book?

The Tempest’s Serenade.

  • 2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

It took a bit of writing for me to even decide this was a book, and that I would have to be the one to write it, but once I started it, I couldn’t stop!

My idea was to write about a musician with a prodigious talent who didn’t live long enough to express it fully. I was inspired by the sad stories of musicians who died in their prime: Jeff Buckley, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison… and I asked the question:

What happens to the music if someone never has a chance to fully realize their talent? So I wrote about that, and more than a hundred thousand words later I had the makings of a book.

  • 3. What genre does your book fall under?

It has elements of mainstream, but there’s also a big helping of magical realism alongside a bit of paranormal with a side dish of romance.

  • 4. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

For Nick Moore, my lead character, I would start with  Adrian Grenier’s easygoing charm, then mix in the athletic grace of Brandon Lee, add the brooding menace of Trent Reznor and I think I would have him.

For Libra Duvall, after much debate I finally settled on Avril Lavigne, in one of her quieter moments.

For Stuart Livingston, I’d borrow David Beckham for a soccer season, but put curly hair on him.

  • 5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Disillusioned by the Los Angeles music scene and frustrated by a lead singer hell-bent on self-destruction, a gifted guitarist pursues the angel who haunts him to find the songs he left behind, and the soul he borrowed to escape his past.

  • 6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Published? As in hordes of strangers descending upon my unsuspecting story? Pardon me while I take a moment to compose myself!

Let’s just say that right now I’d prefer to navigate the treacherous waters of publication with an agent at my side!

  • 7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I started writing in February of 2009, but only recognized a few months later that I might have to write a book to get this story told. After that, it took me four more months to finish all 126k words of the first draft. However, the first draft was nowhere close to where the revision has taken me. I’ve been revising it for almost three years now!

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

My story is inspired by books like The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Lovely Bones. 

If movies are your thing, it’s as if The Crow met Sid and Nancy.

  • 9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Any musician or artist who battles obstacles that stand in the way of their creativity is an inspiration. As I revised the story, I realized it was also about my own creativity, a reflection about where it had gone and why it had suddenly returned with such force.

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

Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll … with magic!

Now comes the moment we’ve been waiting for. Tags! I get five for this blog hop. These fabulous novelists are working hard on stories that could very well be The Next Big Thing!

Nancy H. Doyle

Anushka Dhanapala


Peter Cruikshank

Katherine Checkley

How about you? Can you describe your story in one sentence? What actors would play the roles in your favorite books?

  1. October 18, 2012 8:02 pm

    Fun! I’m totally doing it. I must admit that after your last post I had totally begun to picture Nick as Trent Reznor. Adding a bit of Adrian Grenier is brilliant, because he’s just adorable.

    • October 20, 2012 2:44 pm

      That’s really cool you already had an image of my main char. from my words. For me, the words come first and I have to find the image later, so I guess that makes sense. 🙂

      I’m glad you’re going to play ‘Next Big Thing’!

  2. October 18, 2012 8:59 pm

    Congrats! Glad to hear the book is shaping up well. It sounds like a really interesting premise. I’m not quite sure though by what you mean when you talk about “the music left behind”. Do you mean he’s already dead, and he’s trying to come to terms with the afterlife but can’t because he still feels his music needs to be written? Or is he not dead yet, chasing a spirit who is giving him the songs he creates and he ends up dying early because…I’m afraid I’m getting lost again.

    (Not trying to be difficult, btw. I grew up around a musician, my husband is a musician, and I love the paranormal. Trying to find out if I might like this book.)

    Anyway, to answer your questions, the sentence for a novel I hope to self-publish later this year is:

    A disillusioned dragon, shaken by a terrifying battle with a vengeful member of his own kind must struggle against that same enemy when a frustrated human with crusader tendencies shows him there might be something worth fighting for.

    Other than Tom Hiddleston, I don’t have any actors in mind for any of my characters.

    • October 20, 2012 2:49 pm

      I like your sentence!

      I do have a lot of trouble with log lines, so I really appreciate your question! The trick seems to be to summarize the story without giving too much away.
      My story is more like chasing a spirit, you could say. He’s alive, but missing a part of himself that he left in a past life, which was tragically cut short.

      Thanks again for your comment though. I can use this kind of feedback. 🙂

  3. October 18, 2012 9:23 pm

    Congratulations on surviving and thriving Lesson Seventeen. It is hard won but worth it.
    I can’t wait to see Tempest’s Serenade in Big Box book stores and Independent booksellers nationwide.

    BTW, Jimi and Jim are my favorite timeless rockers, and I’ve always wondered how far they could have gone…

    Thank you for tagging me, Kirsten! I’ll have my answers posted in the next few days. For now, I gotta hit that day job!

    • October 20, 2012 2:53 pm

      Yeah, the day job … nice to pay the bills, but not so nice for writing progress.

      Thanks for all the support. 🙂 Finishing Lesson Seventeen is a heady feeling indeed! It’s nice to look back and see how far I’ve come once in a while.

      A Big Box book store? Aren’t those extinct, or at least endangered? It is truly a jungle out there in publishing these days. Luckily, we’ve got Holly Lisle and the company of like-minded writers to find our way.
      But thanks so much for the good wishes! 😀

  4. October 18, 2012 10:19 pm

    Congratulations! Getting past that revision is a HUGE deal. I well remember the exhaustion and exhilaration when I did that with my last novel.

    I just started writing the sequel to that novel. *glee*

    • October 20, 2012 2:56 pm

      Awesome, Rabia!
      It IS a huge deal, one that I don’t think someone who hasn’t done it can completely relate to. It’s funny though, that even though it’s a long slog, we’re always ready for another round!

  5. October 19, 2012 2:58 am

    It sounds really intriguing!

    Good luck with it 🙂


    • October 20, 2012 2:56 pm

      Thanks, Vikki! I’m glad you find it interesting. 🙂

  6. October 19, 2012 7:42 am

    Enjoyed your post. Your story sounds interesting!

    Here’s the logline for my current WIP:
    When 17 year old Rebecca Garvey is left behind in the wilderness of New Mexico Territory by a wagon train headed for California, she is rescued by a handsome, nomadic cowboy who returns her to her family…and to her betrothed.

    • October 20, 2012 2:58 pm

      Hah! Love it. 🙂 Nothing intrigues me more than a hostile setting and an insurmountable conflict. I’m hooked.

  7. October 19, 2012 10:07 am

    Yay! Loved reading your answers. I adore The Lovely Bones and The Time Traveler’s Wife, so I’m sure I’d enjoy your book! Are you querying agents now?

    • October 20, 2012 3:00 pm

      Not yet, Jamie.
      I’m going to let a few other writers go through it and give critiques, then possibly have an editor give it a once over. I’m hoping by spring I have it in proper shape!

      It’s scary to be this close to submitting it though.

  8. October 19, 2012 1:41 pm

    Whoa! That book sounds amazing. I loved The Crow and I named my son after Brandon Lee. And The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my all-time favorites. All good things. I hope it makes it to a publisher soon, agent or not. And remember, you don’t NEED an agent to be traditionally published. Just sayin’. Good luck!!

    • October 20, 2012 3:04 pm

      Thanks, Nancy!
      It’s very true, and believe me, I’m watching your progress as you publish without an agent with great interest. I am excited by all the possibilities for publication these days, but right now I’m overwhelmed as well.
      Once I sort everything out, I think I’ll have a more concise plan.

      Meanwhile, I’m thrilled that you like my story. That’s always the most important thing to me. 🙂

  9. October 20, 2012 10:35 pm

    Love this. Though if I had to one-sentence any of my current projects… :boggles: I have too many. Just randomly picking here, let’s go with Storm, (the snippet you first liked of mine):

    Dreams come to life and stories become reality when Alexia’s father takes her to her mother’s homeland, a place where family she never knew, a lover she never wanted, and a power she never dreamed of await.

    • October 21, 2012 3:34 pm

      One sentence summaries often sound so pedestrian. Not yours! So much potential story in those few words.

      It’s good to see you here, as always. 🙂

      • October 23, 2012 7:17 pm

        Thanks for asking us to do this! Writing it finally sorted out my focus in this book, and I think I might get some more progress on it now. I went ahead and wrote the book summary to keep me on track.

  10. October 21, 2012 3:39 pm

    Thanks dear lady for the Tag. If you could see me you would see that I am blushing. At the same time I am thinking — oh great, another thing to live up too. Just joking, I am very honored. I have already posted my answers on my blog. Thanks for thinking of me and for believing in my abilities.

    • October 22, 2012 6:17 pm

      You really do underestimate yourself!
      I read your post and it’s wonderful, and I loved all the insights I’m getting into your story

  11. October 21, 2012 4:39 pm

    That’s great news about your revision. I’m looking forward to reading your book whenever it’s ready 🙂

    • October 22, 2012 6:18 pm

      Thanks, Mike. 😀
      Hang in there, this book should be ready … well soon. I hope!

  12. October 22, 2012 9:17 am

    Congrats! Can’t wait to read it.

    • October 22, 2012 6:20 pm

      Hi Karen,
      Welcome to A Scenic Route!
      Thanks. 🙂 Believe me, I’ll be excited to have it finished!

  13. October 22, 2012 4:19 pm

    A big, Huge, ENORMOUS congratulations for getting through Lesson 17 on a second pass! Give the girl a medal! 😀
    Truly that is a great achievement and I know just what that lesson takes out of you.
    Well done Kirsten.

    • October 22, 2012 6:15 pm

      Aww, thanks, Prue!
      This lesson (heck, this course!) is a quite a challenge for me. If it weren’t for the encouragement of my classmates I sometimes wonder if I would have made it through at all!
      Right now, as I crumple with exhaustion by the side of the road, 😉 all I can say is that it is worth the effort. I don’t think any revision will ever be as difficult as this one.

  14. T.F.Walsh permalink
    October 25, 2012 5:06 am

    Revisions are never easy, so congrats on getting past the such a huge chunk… that’s massive progress. You must feel so good.

    • October 25, 2012 6:54 am

      Thank you. 🙂
      It does feel satisfying to look at all these pages and know that they are suitable, even enjoyable, for people to read!
      I never, ever, thought I’d be able to accomplish something of this magnitude. I really am writing a book!

  15. October 27, 2012 4:15 pm

    It sounds like an amazing story–honestly, my book has a rock ‘n roll theme too…so thanks for the tag! I’m truly interested in your book. Would love to read it. Maybe we can swap?
    p.s. I nominated you for a Liebster Award. Go by my blog when you get a chance.

  16. October 27, 2012 6:33 pm

    It’s funny that you asked if you could see it, because I was going to ask you the same thing but I was too shy … I’m flattered, and would love to see your story as well.
    I’ll be in touch. 😀

    Thank you so much for the award! As you can see I have a lot of fun with these. Let’s see what this one is about.

    • October 29, 2012 10:25 am

      OK great! I’d love to get a set of eyes from another novelist. Yes, we’ll be in touch. Just a head’s up, only about half of my story is edited to what I call “readibility” level. So we can play it by year. I’m excited!


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