The Next Big Thing – Redux

Thanks Duncan Ellis for “tagging” me to answer a few questions about my work in progress or, “The Next Big Thing.”

This is the second time I’ve been tagged this year to reveal some of the content of the novel I’ve been working on.   If you’re an author and get tagged, here’s what to do:

The Next Big Thing

The rules:

  1. Give credit to the person who tagged you. 
  2. Explain the rules.
  3. Answer the ten questions about your current WIP. 
  4. Tag five other writers to participate.

The following Q & A are from my “Work in Progress – WIP”:

What is the working title of your book?

The Young Cypriots:  A Generation of Hope  by Gregory S. Lamb

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The theme from my first novel, The People In Between:  A Cyprus Odyssey, dealt with the consequences of unfinished conflicts that took place in Cyprus in the previous century.  That story ended on a note of hope, but without a clear picture of a future for the Cypriot people.

This past summer, I attended a round table forum along with a group of teens visiting from Cyprus.  Dr. Birol Yeşilada and Dr. Harry Anastasiou, from Portland State University, facilitated the forum.  Birol is a Turkish Cypriot and Harry is a Greek Cypriot.  Both of them are best friends.  During the forum, they shared their experiences from their youthful days on Cyprus during the turbulent past.

Birol described the suffering of Cypriots in a generational context, suggesting that the people in his parents’ generation represented the generation of violence.  He referred to those that suffered the loss and endured the turmoil of becoming refugees as the generation of pain.  Then he went on to define this next group of Cypriots as the youth who grew up in a country divided.  Both professors turned to the Cypriot teens and identified them as members of the generation of hope for the future of their country.

Throughout the forum, my mind was in high gear and by the time it was over, I knew I had to write a sequel to The People In Between:  A Cyprus Odyssey.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary Cultural Fiction or Historical Fiction given that the historical events in the story go back over 50 years.

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

This is a difficult question.  I want this story to be told through the voices of the young Cypriots.  Since 2008, volunteers in the United States and in Cyprus have been sponsoring a Cypriot youth program to, so the ages of the main group of actors would have to range from 17 – 22 years old.  Ariel Winter and Sarah Hyland from Modern Family might be good candidates, as would Shia LaBoeuf and Josh Hutcherson.

Of course the youth will need the guidance of adults and George Clooney is the perfect age and versatile enough, that he could easily pass as a Cypriot.  One of my dear Cypriot friends is a professional educator and an elegant woman of a slightly older age group.  Hers is definitely a role that needs to be played by Helen Mirren.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Young Cypriots come of age and take charge of their failed government and become a model nation for exporting peace.

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

I’m hooked on “indie” and want to play an active part in busting the old paradigms of traditional publishing.  My first novel was self-published and it was a learning experience that I’m more prepared to capitalize on this time around.

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

To be honest, I don’t have a draft for this one yet.  Along with the gist of the story, I have the framework and the character roles put together.  I also have a preliminary set of human-interest stories I’ve garnered from my work with Cypriot youth here in the United States.

My first novel took eighteen months to complete an initial draft.  Most of that time was spent on research and historical mapping of characters and events.  It took another six months to complete the editing and publishing process.  I’ve learned that writing historical fiction is very hard work.  This new story will involve a lot more interviewing and observation.  I’ve already planned another trip to Cyprus for Fall 2013, to complete this project.

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

I’m so leery of comparisons given the talents of the authors that I like to read.  I liked the structure of The People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks more than anything I’ve read in the past year.  I liked the story arcs from Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese, so maybe some hybrid cross of those stories…we’ll just have to see.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I wasn’t planning to write anything more related to Cyprus until I digested the importance of a common question coming from the first readers of  “The People In Between:  A Cyprus Odyssey.”  I was asked what is happening to the Cypriots today and what do you think the future of their country holds?  In short, readers wanted to know what was going to happen next.

Additionally, I was pleased to discover that many readers of my début novel said they became choked up while reading it.  Some said it made them cry.  I’ll admit that it made me very happy to hear the story had the ability to touch some hearts.  Now I’m motivated to capitalize on that momentum and finish what I started.

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

Cyprus is a country rich in history, both ancient and modern.  It has been at a crossroads of cultural evolution since the beginning of recorded history.  It is also a wonderful place to enjoy a holiday for those with an itch to travel.  Both The People In Between:  A Cyprus Odyssey, and The Young Cypriots:  A Generation of Hope, contain rich place descriptions but not so heavy that they come across as a travel log.

Time to play tag:

As Duncan mentioned in her tagging of me,  I’m going to tag a couple of authors that I know from the Indie Author community who I don’t think have done this questionnaire before:  Terra Harmony tag you’re next.

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