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I’ve been tagged by my friend and a very talented writer Ashley Heckman http://ashleyheckman.com for The Next Big Thing.  Thanks Ashley!!!  I think we’re supposed to nominate more people than just one, but she only nominated me so I’m going to follow suit in that and pass it onto one person, Adam at http://righttobitch.com/

The point of this is to answer some questions about your current work in progress.  I’ve selected my novel, which I recently submitted to one publisher and will soon be preparing to submit to other publishers and agents.

What’s the title of your book?

The Opera

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came from a character from a previous novel I wrote.  He was my favorite character and I was just envisioning him in different scenarios.  Gradually his background changed as did his personality, and Sable was born, as was the story around him.

What genre does your book fall under?

Hard to say, perhaps mainstream fiction, adult, drama, some LBGT elements.

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

I love this question.  Though I didn’t write the characters with these actors in mind, once I started revisions, I began to imagine the book as a film, so here goes:

Jack Mariano – Leonardo Dicaprio, mostly because he’s intense, and he is as classy as I envision Jack to be.  He’s also never done a poor acting job, that I know of.  Maybe the role of Jack Mariano will finally get him that Academy Award, which is long overdue.

Sable – no clue whatsoever, some unknown would be best

Corey Loch – still struggling with this one, at this point I’m thinking either Johnny Depp or Tobey Maguire but I once thought of Casey Affleck for this role, Jim Sturgess, James Franco…

The Esquire – Alec Baldwin

Zola – Emma Stone

The Buggar – I don’t know, some Scottish guy, Gerard Butler?  Would be great to see him portray an antagonist.

Irene – Kathy Bates

Sidney – Nathan Lane

No casting yet for the supporting characters, but how can I fit Gary Oldman in this?  Or Robert DeNiro?

Director:  Marin Scorsese, you know, it’s a Leo film and all, but regardless, I love his films and I think he could capture my vision.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Damn, I can’t even write a one page synopsis of my book, this is a joke right?  Actually, I can only say something vague, because I don’t want to say too much.  Here is a long sentence:

Jack Mariano is an A-list actor, embodying the ideal Hollywood image, who has never had to worry about controversy, but now the most severe of circumstances may leave him with no choice but to face the consequences of scandal.

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

I absolutely want my book in print, sorry environment, but I love books.  If it makes enough money I will plant enough trees to compensate for its production.  So I would love an agent, or any traditional publisher, not self published.  I’m ok with e-published, but as long as it is also in print.

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

Midway through I had the opportunity to write a screenplay, which interrupted the process for about a year, so from beginning to end, the first draft took roughly 2 years.

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

It’s not like any book I’ve read, but maybe along the lines of the film L.I.E.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

As I said above, I was inspired by my previous character who is not based on any real person.  He was a drug addict though, and I’ve been exposed to that world, yet I won’t get into detail about that.

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

Well it’s a hard core reality, offset with some humor, and I think Jack’s a great character.  He’s probably the most stable main character I’ve ever created.  I also think it’s interesting to show that celebrities are real people with real lives and it’s a constant struggle to have a remote amount of privacy.

Excerpt:

I’m choosing the following excerpt from around the middle of the novel because if I’m required to make the novel shorter, it may be a scene that gets cut.  It states Jack is high, but he doesn’t really get high in the story, this is old stuff he found that he had hid away in his parents’ house before he went off to college.  He was being a little nostalgic, and Sable caught him.  Sable has an accent, incidentally.  This excerpt requires a little more of an explanation, but I’m leaving that out, so you can just read it:

Jack looked at his hands because they were shaking from the adrenalin, their focus blurred as he looked past them at the vomit, “I’m going to clean this up.” It was all he could think to do while he was busy hating himself, which was atypical for Jack. He brought himself to his feet and gazed over at Sable who was switching the music from The Doors to Nirvana’s In Utero. Sable appeared unscathed by the incident, yet Jack felt traumatized. Moving slowly, Jack leaned against the wall at the bottom of the stairs, head tilted, eyes staring at Sable. Serve the Servants began as Sable seated himself again, in the Grecian boy fashion that the Esquire described and Jack felt at that moment like he was going to lose his mind. Sable stared back at him, eyes meeting but never connecting. Jack endeavored to dig into them since he was stoned and assumed maybe he had keener perception, but he saw nothing, nothing at all. It was as if Sable wasn’t human. Not a drop of emotions existed in his eyes. Not a hint of how he thought. And Jack, because he was stoned, thought that Sable was capable of destroying him completely. He broke down Jack’s walls. Now it was time to break down Jack, leave him as a pile of rubble waiting to be scattered by the wind and washed out by the rain, bringing out the worst of Jack in the process. It seemed like forever that they stared at each other without a word, but then Sable spoke.

“Ye loch insane fowk.”

Jack smashed his way out of his encasement of numb trauma, “What?”

“Thes bloke,” he pointed at the tape player, “he’s insane tay.”

“Well, he committed suicide.”

“Whit a stupid thing tae dae.”

“Yeah, it is.” Jack nodded, relieved by Sable’s strong hold on reality and that Sable was not another coming of the Lord Lizard King capable of tripping Jack out with surreal commentary. Rather, Sable reliably remained point-of-fact, and just when Jack was losing himself in his high, Sable grounded him. “I’ll be right back, man.” Jack went upstairs and returned with the cleaning supplies; a shirt clean of mucus; and another pair of pajama bottoms for Sable who pissed himself as a result of Jack’s assault, an involuntary physiological response. Sable stumbled out of the old pants and into the new, then sat back down by the end of Heart Shaped Box. As Jack commenced the dreaded task of cleaning the piss and the pecan pie mush reeking of sharp whiskey, Rape Me began, and he cringed inside. Jack closed his eyes moved upright on his knees and turned to look at Sable who was staring at the tape player. His eyes moved up toward Jack.

“Sorry Sable, that’s actually an anti-rape song.”

“Dornt soond loch it.”

“I know… …You ok, man?”

“Yoo’re th’ ane nae ok, yoo’re feckin’ high.”

Jack resumed cleaning. Cleaning the vomit was a temporary escape. Jack found Zen in the vomit. Until the end of the song when Kurt Cobain began screaming rape me over and over again and Sable kicked over the radio. He stomped on it three times quick before he stood a moment like a king at the end of a victorious battle. Sable peered dominantly down at the radio as if it were the corpse of his nemesis, appearing rather Shakespearean and royal, proud and unconquerable. He turned toward the table, reached for Jack’s bottle of wine, and finished it off.

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