Friday, March 15, 2013

Participating in "The Next Big Thing"

This is a bit of a departure from my usual blog content.  My friend, the author and blogger Christa Polkinhorn, invited me to be a part of a "blog chain" called "The Next Big Thing". The purpose is to give a preview of our current works-in-progress by answering some pre-set questions and to invite other authors to do it also. In doing so I'll provide links to Christa's blog and those I've invited so you can get an idea of their books and how they answer the same questions. Here are my answers:

What is the working title of your next book?
Raw Umber

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Matt Corcoran, committed to a psychiatric hospital following a suicide attempt, is advised to write a journal to help him get to the root of his problems, and his journey of self-discovery leads him to unexpected places.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The Bee Gees. No really, see the next question! Obviously this idea has been with me a very long time.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Believe it or not, the idea of a person digging into his memory to answer how and why he ended up in a psychiatric hospital came from an old Bee Gees song from 1968 called World . It was pre-disco Bee Gees, when they sounded more like the Beatles than K.C. and the Sunshine Band. In other words, good (sorry disco fans). The lyrics "If I remember all of the things I have done / I'd remember all of the times I've gone wrong / Why do they keep me here" always made me picture the situation of someone who is institutionalized who wants to forget his past but is forced to remember it.

What genre does your book fall under?
Literary Fiction - it seems to be the type of book I'm most comfortable writing, since that's what most of my reading over the years has consisted of.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Johnny Depp or Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make a great Matt Corcoran. Sally Field as his mother; Christopher Mintz-Plasse (the guy who played McLovin in Superbad) would be great as Matt's obsessive-compulsive roommate, Larry. Tracy Jordan could be Jimmy Carter (you'll have to read the book), and maybe John Goodman as Dr. Frank Friedman.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm still undecided. There are pros and cons for both although I may try to get an agent with the hopes of getting wider distribution with a bigger publisher. But I'd also lose a lot of the control I currently enjoy as an Indie author, not to mention the time it would take to find an agent, then a publisher, and then get the book out. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I'm still working on the first draft; hope to have it completed within the next six months. Too many distractions and other responsibilities (excuses, excuses) make it difficult for me to be a "write every day" author, although I know I should be, and wish I could.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is the obvious answer. It combines humor and pathos in the setting of a psychiatric hospital.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest
The fact that it's written as Matt's journal, in his cynical yet humorous voice, makes Matt a sympathetic figure, and the ending will surprise everyone.   

These are the authors who will be posting for The Next Big Thing on March 30. Check out their blogs and get to know their work.

John J. Tuite


  1. John, it sounds very intriguing I look forward to reading it! Johnny Depp, yeahhh!

    1. Thanks Christa. I expect to hear from Johnny Depp any day now!

  2. Never would have thought you saw Superbad.

  3. This sounds really good. Love the title.

    1. Thanks, Bette. He's writing his journal in crayon, and each chapter denotes the color he's using. The Raw Umber chapter is particularly significant, so it became the title.

  4. Being in one of the writers groups that John is a member of I had the pleasure of reading some of his work. I have to admit he may have a real good book in the works.

    1. Thanks - I just have to get off my butt and finish it!

  5. I'm in one of his writers' groups, too and I agree with anon. I am always looking forward to what happens next! Can't wait to read the whole thing in one piece.

    1. Thanks, Ruth! I appreciate your input at the meetings.