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Claire at Word by Word included me in her list of tagged authors, with a mandate to share the workings of my novel, as she did hers, A Piece of the Mosaic.  Thank you Claire for the inclusion, and best wishes with your novel.

On with the questions.

What is the name of your book?

Where did the idea of your book come from?

With every story save for maybe one (and I’ve five more novels waiting in the edit queue after this one) the idea springs into existence from the first sentence. I’ll type a background or a circumstance, and from there a story assembles itself.  Sometimes it feels like another gets me to write the words, because I’m clueless over what comes next. J

In what genre would you classify your book?

Mainstream fiction.  It could fall under women’s fiction, and I debate whether to slot it in the category.

If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

Hmmm. One actor plays the protagonist and her sister, since we deal with identical twins. My favourite actor would also be my choice for the roles: Charlize Theron.  IMO, her acting in Monster has no peer in film history, but she’s also a good match physically for the 5’11” (180.34 cm) sisters.

Provide a brief synopsis.

Television surfing, thirty-three year old physical therapist Tess pauses on a news channel reporting the results of the Vermont Democratic primary for US Senate.  When Tess sees her mirrored likeness as the candidate, it sets in motion a reunion and a building of sisterhood and family, with both standing against an unseen and unknown threat somehow tied to pursuit of their genealogical roots.

Warnings arrive and people disappear, the scant leads a trail to nowhere.  Tragedy strikes, and the story jumps five years.  Truth matters, so too persistence and dedication, and the details Tess uncovers in the end sweep her away into a current in history.

The story includes a recurring reference to a stealth photograph taken by a paparazzo.   Poor Tess employs a personal vice to ease away a chronic condition, and the iconic image of her in a vulnerable moment becomes an icebreaker, surfacing with each new acquaintance through the course of the novel.

Is your book already published/represented?

Not yet.  This is my first, and as such, with no prior literary reputation (not to mention a personal one that includes a conviction) first impressions matter.  It goes out when I’m ecstatic over the product, never if I feel ‘okay’.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I wrote it on paper while at the prison camp.  If you ever saw my handwriting, you’d need a magnifying glass to discern letters.  (Those of you who read my correspondence, this serves as a running joke – their need to decipher what the hell nelle wrote.)  The paper/handwritten version came in at around 150 pages and took six weeks to write. The digital version is 101,250 words over 322 pages and 54 chapters.

On arrival home in March 2011, I began transcribing the novel into digital form, and finished this step last August.  Over the last ten months, I’ve been in total editing mode, with two months off to enter 40% of my second novel, and another month now while I work on the second again (giving me distance from the first, for fresh perspective after five hard edits.)

What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or readers of which books would enjoy yours?

Any story of finding oneself and of a reluctant destiny emerging out of an unknown past would be a possible comparison.  I’d suggest loose comparison with The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky, Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Emma’s Secret, and Luanne Rice’s The Geometry of Sisters, to name three.

Which authors inspired you to write this book?

Har…all and none – does this narrow it down much?  All in the sense so many worthy works exist, none in that story ideas spring from my head based on the first words of a new writing, exploding a new fictional universe into existence. When someone at the camp told me I write like Ian McEwan, someone I’d never read, I avoided his stuff as if it were a contagion in order to keep away unwitting influence.  With such an idea implanted in mind, I just didn’t wish for subliminal impact.  Based on continued suggestions, I did break down and read one of his books at the end of my run at the camp, but only one, and I don’t recall *the* one now (phew.)

Tell us anything that might pique interest in your book?

I’ll link back to two posts:

on a limb

border crossing

Tagging writers.

Five writers writing, four hummingbirds…

Here’s where my non-conformist self offers a glimpse at its anarchic nature.  I can’t select anyone, a chronic condition where engaging selection would leave me feeling a tad conflicted and sad.  So many of you I love to read, and so I do this… consider yourself on my list if you wish to blog out your writing story.