The title of this blog award has big shoes to fill so I’m kind of awed that my friend Tess Wixted nominated me for it. But happy and also grateful to be thought of by her (thank you Tess!).
Here are my responses to the questions that come with accepting this award.
What is the working title of your next book?
- Where did the idea come from for the book?
It started percolating when I saw a picture from the 60’s of this chic woman sitting in first class in an old Boeing 747 looking out the window about 3 years ago. It just hit me, the whole storyworld of Mrs. Everett. And I became obsessed with telling her story. The story often wakes me up to be told in the middle of the night. I’ve never had a story so insistent on being expressed. So, mostly I just try to make time to listen to it.
- What genre does your book fall under?
It will be a Transmedia experience which means there will be a main ‘spine’ of prose as a stand-alone book with co-existing narratives in various forms including text (as in iPhone text messages), audio (as in a phonographic story), poetry (an entire poetry book written ‘floor by floor’ for every room Mrs. Everett stays in over the course of a year), Twitter (as in, a year of tweets), Facebook, same, and Pinterest with a board for every ‘Escape’ (ie destination) that Mrs. Everett visits. The idea is to make it more and more collaborative with hosts in cities/destinations creating content and adding continually to the breadth and depth of the story. As more people sign up for Postcards from Prue (her letters to her pen pals), I think a better online community can grow around the story. So, please sign up.:)
- What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, since Prue Everett loves Grace Kelly that would be my first choice. My second would be Marion Cotillard. For Mr. Everett I would choose Ewan McGregor without question because I think he can play a complex man very well. For the role of Violet, I would choose Scarlett Johansson. For the driver, Ted, I would choose Willem Dafoe. For her estranged younger cousin Mary, I would choose Zooey Deschanel. There will be other characters but I can’t talk about them yet without compromising the story.
- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
That is a challenging question. Okay here goes:
Mrs. Everett is the story of a woman who escapes the seemingly prison-like confines of her privileged life with her husband and goes on the lam by traveling around the world and in the process of discovering destinations comes to see herself and the world in an entirely radical new way.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
If there were a publisher with the cojones to publish this I’d be pretty impressed but at this point, I’m pretty sure I’ll be putting together an e-book that will include all of the digital media forms in one intensely amazing experience.
- How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m writing it right now and it will be completed December 2013. If I were honest, I could be writing this all day every day but have to try to carve time to pay some bills so I jam it in and around ‘regular’ life. Transmedia is not for the faint of heart, it’s a mind-bending amount of work to run multiple-narratives over time. A regular novel will feel like a cake-walk after this.
- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are none. Which is why I’m writing it. I have been in the Transmedia space for some time and a much of what I was seeing I couldn’t really relate to. I was seeing a lot of cyborgs and aliens and games where people are killed and pirates and mystical places and space tales and large ‘Hollywood’ style productions with budgets of millions of dollars. I respect it all, I know how hard they’ve worked on these projects and I feel a part of that tribe but I wanted to find my own voice in Transmedia and create a story that didn’t rely on special effects, a big budget, or non-human species. Also, I love (and work in) tourism and hotels and travel and I wanted to show how destinations could look at Transmedia and see how it might work for them. To me, it’s a no-brainer to use a Transmedia approach to any and all destination development and marketing but I realized I had to do a proper case study to show my clients to win them over. Also, I wanted to explore a single narrative Transmedia story. A more intimate, one-to-one experience versus the typical Transmedia production which shoots for mass consumption as the ultimate benchmark of its success. I want to encourage people to get involved in the story, and change where Mrs.Everett goes and be a part of the narrative with me. I want the readers to be collaborators. I want it to be participatory and immersive. It’s way more fun that way.
- Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A few things. That initial picture I talked about earlier and the idea I wanted to tell a different kind of Transmedia story. But if I can be candid, characters appear quite fully-formed for me and Mrs. Everett (Prue) did just that.Magically showed up on my doorstep. I then usually have to fumble around in the fog chasing my characters to where they pull me along to. I try my best to serve the characters and relate their storyworld to those behind me reading. It’s hard, I feel I never provide the true experience of their story but I’m trying, I’m trying! Some of the plot and other characters have been inspired by the relationships and past experiences over the last two years of my life and the travel part is fueled by my many years in the tourism and hospitality industry. I am blessed to have a lot of contacts around the world to help me with the story. Another inspiration was the Orient Express company, who still value old-world traditions and a style of travel long-forgotten by many. I like their idea of a travel world, where the unforgettable experience is the ultimate goal and money is no object. That is how Prue travels. At the beginning.:)
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Beyond the interesting fact the book is told across multiple platforms and has a living, breathing social media experience, there is the core narrative of a woman who discovers the life that she has been leading for 20 years is an illusion. As she peels back the layers of the illusion, she comes to find the horrors of the reality she has been numb to for decades and in her discovery, she has to face her own demons and her own complicity in it. It is an exploration of the lies we tell in our relationships, the pain we inflict on the ones we love, the often savage degrees we will go to to protect these illusions, and yes, the dirty little secrets of what appears to be a ‘perfect’ marriage. Blackmail, death, wealth, corruption, power, intrigue, luxury travel, glamour, spirituality, awakening, self-love. It will all be in there. I hope you’ll be friends with Prue along the way. She needs your support!
Like Tess Wixted, who nominated me, I want to support just one writer by nominating them. He doesn’t have a website yet (we’re working on it) and I did interview him but we’ve decided to do it over as we didn’t like the results. First time podcasters so we’re going to get that interview up and posted this week so please circle back here to find out about Zero Lee, an extraordinary writer who is working on a book that we will be talking about and sharing some insights on in our chat. He is also my writing partner for a Transmedia play we are working on that will be completed this spring and go into production in Vancouver next fall. Stay tuned for that, it’s going to be killer.