THE NEXT BIG THING

Alaric Bond (www.alaricbond.com) “tagged” me in a chain blog currently being passed among writers, which asks 10 questions about your current novel. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to get to this, but here we go!

1) What is the title of your book?

The Prodigal

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It came to me from a combination of learning/reading about piracy in the 17th century and from reading novels that left me searching for stories that actually had an old fashioned structure of “beginning-middle-end.” So many novels I had read seemed to have only a thin plot and that was often the reason why I’d put the novel down without finishing it or would be disappointed in it overall. What had happened over the years since my school years when we learned the structure of story? I wanted to bring that clear-cut plot line back to the reader, so I kept that in mind as ideas began to form about The Prodigal. Out of it came a story which very much is a three-act play–it has a beginning (Jack losing his parents and his return to the West Indies for revenge and rescue), a middle (Jack’s acquisition of the Prodigal and his trials and tribulations with his piratical crew during his search for his mother), and an end (when Jack finally confronts James Logan).

3) Under what genre does your book fall?

While the BISAC Subject Headings listed in The Prodigal are: action/adventure, historical romance, and sea stories, I would agree with only two of them. I do not consider it a romance at all. Yes, there is a relationship between the main male character and the lead female character, but it certainly isn’t what I would term a romantic relationship. Some would categorize The Prodigal as historical fiction because it obviously takes place hundreds of years ago. Perhaps it wasn’t classified as such in the Subject Headings because none of the characters are actual people from that era. Either way I would classify The Prodigal myself as historical adventure.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Unfortunately most of the actors I will list are now too old to play the parts, but I’ll tell you who they are anyway. Jack Mallory would be either Johnny Depp, Tom Hardy, or Taylor Kitsch. All actors who can bring the angst and look youthful while doing it. James Logan would be Sean Bean or Russell Crowe. Maria Cordero would be Zoe Saldana or Halle Berry. I’ve never thought of anyone in particular for Josiah Smith, but for Ketch I would consider Henry Ian Cusick or, again, Tom Hardy.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sorry, but I’m going to fudge it at two sentences: When Jack Mallory crosses the path of notorious sea raider James Logan, his young life is changed forever; his father is murdered before his eyes, his mother kidnapped. So begins Jack’s odyssey to avenge his father’s death and rescue his mother. 

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

The Prodigal was published by Fireship Press (www.fireshippress.com), a traditional publisher who specializes in historical fiction and nautical fiction in particular. I am currently unagented but will soon be querying agents again for my current work in progress.

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

I would say somewhere around six months or less. I was working full time at my day job then, so I had very little free time in which to write and research.

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

I think The Prodigal is rather unique in the historical fiction genre (a point that I stressed when I marketed it to agents/publishers because the genre is fraught with so many novels regarding similar themes: the Napoleonic Era in Age of Sail and the Tudors and other royalty in broader historical fiction). There are other piratical novels but none that I find similar to The Prodigal in any other way. If I was pressed to find something to which to compare the novel I’d say Dudley Pope’s Buccaneer. I did enjoy his series overall.

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

More directly, what inspired me to learn/study piracy was the Disney movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.” I had been mainly interested in the American Civil War when it came to reading/studying up until then. Watching another movie, “Master & Commander”, based on Patrick O’Brian’s wonderful series of books, introduced me to my current literary idol, Mr. O’Brian, whose books I quickly devoured and use as inspiration for my own craft.

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

Well, like I said, The Prodigal is as plot-based as character-driven, so it reads very quickly. Speaking of myself, I find so few “quick reads” in today’s stories. Don’t get me wrong; I love to savor a good book, but I prefer the kind whose characters and plot lines keep you eagerly turning the page, curious and excited to find out how things will all work out for the characters at the end. When I wrote the book, I purposefully focused on plot, pacing, and length (relatively short for the genre at less than 89,000 words), because I felt those three things would make it easier, as a debut novelist, to be published traditionally.

 

Special thanks to Alaric Bond tagging me in “The Next Big Thing.” I will be tagging Rick Spilmann (www.oldsaltblog.com) next, if he hasn’t already been tagged!

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