1.) The questions were simple, straightforward, and practical
2.) I was asked by the Slayer of Pens herself, and when she calls, you answer.
3.) My targeted participation date happened to be on a Wednesday, allowing me to keep on my nicely tailored "shed-dewl."
So now, enjoy a peek at the not-really-illustrious, but-certainly-hopeful Rachel Heffington's "Next Big Thing"...
What is the working title of your book?
Fly Away Home
Where did the idea come from for the book?
A short story I wrote some years ago titled: "How About Coffee" which, in turn, came from that question floating around my head, wishing for a story to be attached to. It was a very easy story for me to write, quite possibly because I fell in love with the characters right away. Mr. Barnett for the very obvious reason of his total amazingness, Callie because if I had lived her life, I would be very much like her. Our mental process is similar. And because of Nickleby, the cat. And journalism. Also, NYC in the 1950's is a cool combination of place and time that never fails to fascinate and excite me. I wanted to write this book, almost for that reason itself. ;)
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ohhhhh this is hard. See, I wrote Fly Away Home thinking of Gregory Peck as Mr. Barnett. But obviously that can't be, because he's dead. I have been mulling over this problem for ages and ages, so the only two possibilities I could come up with are a clean-shaven, vintage-wearing Hugh Jackman...
or Thomas Gibson.
Neither entirely satisfies me. Jackman's features are too angular, and Gibson's eyebrows and dimples are all wrong. Sorry, I'm just picky. They just don't make 'em like they used to! :P I could find several also-dead actors who could have played Mr. Barnett. It's so much harder with the modern men! I suppose if I was in charge of the casting-call, I'd advertise for Peck look-alikes.
As for Callie, I had little trouble in pegging Michelle Dockery (minus the accent) for the part.
She looks like Callie to me. Elegant, slender, dark eyes. Looks as if she could say a few things of her own if anyone gave her the opportunity.
But then my sister said she never thought Callie was that poised and elegant. So I was forced to come up with a plan 2 in Rachel Weisz.
Then again, I thought of Lily Collins who is a bit young for the part, but might work out pretty well by the time they'd ever get around to making Fly Away Home into a movie. (But by that time Hugh Jackman would be too old....argh.)
Sean Astin is an easy choice for Jerry Atwood.
Tommy Lee Jones could do the curmudgeon-y role of Mr. Shores well
Nigella Lawson is an easy choice as Nalia Crosticinni. Well, her looks. She's a chef...a t.v. chef, yes, but can she act? I would have to look into that. At any rate, her looks are ideal for Nalia.
Jules Cameron...Ahh...JOSEPH GORDON_LEVITT! Charming, stinkin' good-looking, could play the arrogant, evil nemesis rather well...
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Glamor and Glitz is Calida Harper's career of choice, but when her ticket comes in the form of a recklessly simple man stealing her heart, a hidden past breathing down her collar, and her long-held ideals tumbling from their sandy foundations, is Callie willing to rip off the precious mask to save another?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
An agency. I hope. That is the road I am actively pursuing, so unless something changes, Fly Away Home will be represented by an agency. Then again, we never can tell what will happen, so if plans change, I'll be sure to let you know.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A matter of about 2-3 months all told. This was the first novel I wrote using my thousand-word-a-day system, so it worked up nice and quick. It is not a long novel (75,000 words) so it did not take long to write, and I had little trouble with plot. I was interrupted in the writing of this story by my month of campaigning in Georgia (If I am remembering correctly...) so it was not a fluid couple of months, but it was no longer than 70-90 days of active writing, certainly.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Comp titles are the bane of my existence, truly. I have said before that the reason Fly Away Home is a good romance may certainly be influenced by the fact that I've read very little romance so I don't have that baggage carting around in my brain. ;) This novel is also unique because while the setting is 1950's NYC, the plot doesn't circulate closely around historic events, so I can't really compare it to historic romances I have read. I intend to make a trip to town and visit Barnes and Noble this week or next to get my Comp Titles for my queries, so I'll get back to you on this.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Gregory Peck, actually. And that short story I mentioned beforehand. And my desire to write a book that would, perhaps, minister to young women who are in similar positions as Callie, bewildered as to what true success is, if there is any God in this world that is interested in their case, and who might possibly be fleeing from a past that hunts them down. There is grace. There is healing. And I hope these girls can find a little of that in Fly Away Home.