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what's cooking: my Next Big Thing

Thanks to the incomparably supportive Katherine Barrett (whose Next Big Thing is actually something I can’t wait to read, having read some of her earlier writing on the topic), I’m answering the Next Big Thing writers’ blog-hop list of questions.  I’ve actually got two projects which keep vying for the front burner, so I’m including them both.

1. What is the working title of your current/next book?

    Life is Messy: lessons from the school garden

    What Love Looks Like: putting our bodies on the line


2. Where did you get the idea for that book?

    Life is Messy (LIM): from how digging myself into our school garden program helped me recover from my divorce and get off my antidepressants

    What Love Looks Like (WLLL): from my first act of civil disobedience and the inspiring activists fighting the pipeline in Texas right now (and the title comes from Tim de Christopher’s speech at his sentencing hearing—if you don’t know about him, you should)


3. What's the genre of the book?

    LIM: straight-up memoir

    WLLL: interviews and portraits (photos)


4. If you could pick actors to play the lead characters in your story, who would you pick?

    This question presupposes that I have enough involvement with non-print media to have some idea of what actors are currently working.   Hmmm.   Laura Linney?  Jodie Foster?  Claire Danes?   (Can you tell I’m a lesbian?  I mean, have you ever seen a more obvious list of actresses a lesbian would want to play her, just so she could meet them?)


5. How would you describe your book in one sentence (10 words or less)?

    I’m going with 10 words “or so,” only a minor editorial change, right?

    LIM: depressed divorcee forced to revise bleak worldview by feral, dirty children

    WWWL: inspiring stories of women taking personal risks to make a better world


6. How will your book be published, submitted through the traditional route to a traditional publisher or will you be handling it yourself through Indie Publishing methods?

    I’m so very done with self-publishing.  Have your agent call me.


7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?

    In progress, who knows (unless you are an agent or editor, in which case it’s almost finished).


8. What other books within your genre are similar to yours?

    LIM: I’m going to say it’s Eat, Pray, Love without the travel budget, without the kid-free independence, and without the fairytale ending.  (Then again, maybe that doesn’t leave much.)  And snarkier, so you have to cross it with Heartburn (because there are recipes, too) and then dip it in the mud. Or perhaps a lower-budget Split, with less war-between-the-sexes (the lesbian thing again).

    WLLL: Something like Refuse to Stand Silently By or Working, only filled with beautiful photos of super-cool women.


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

    Refer to #2 and click the links.  I hate redundancy.  Or else I’m lazy.


10. What about your book will pique the reader's interest?

    LIM: the humor, mixed with a real portrayal of the hard parts of post-divorce life, tempered by almost-impossible-to-reproduce recipes (one starts with: “Double dig a small section of a field.”)

    WLLL: the inspiration! 


Okay, now on to the fun part: tagging the people whose Next Big Thing I want to know more about.  Here goes. I give you all permission to alter the list of questions to meet your needs.

Holly Hester, I want to know where this is all going, what look you will take on next, and whether your rock-n-roll wardrobe will be for sale in the school auction. 

Rian Kerfoot: your blog rocks, so when and what will be the next step?

Jenny Forrester, I know you are probably totally exhausted from The People’s Apocalypse.  Yet I feel you might have something up your sleeve.  Oh, and I owe you $15, which I will send soon.

And b.d. swain, are you willing to interrupt the chain of smut to fess up to your full writerly ambitions?  (Warning to readers, don’t click that link unless you like lesbian erotica.  I’m serious.  Very well-written porn.)

Tags: activism, book, garden, inspiration, kids, love, Next Big Thing, recipes, school garden, writing

Reader Comments


Eat, Pray, Love crossed with Heartburn and Split. I think you've got a bestseller on your hands, Kenna! I love this little q&a and wish I could do it justice. I started a book in the fall of 2011, did a bunch of research, wrote some of the chapters and then started rethinking some of the themes/content. I'd still very much like to write that particular book, but since I started blogging, I've found my brain wandering into new territory. I trust that something good and booklength will come out of it all, I'm just not sure what...yet! In the meantime, I'm working on some personal essays for potential publication. I'll keep you posted! Thanks for tagging me, and for sharing all of this cool info about your books. I'm excited to read them!

— Rian

can't wait

Thanks for the laugh -- and the inspiration. Where do you find the time?! I look forward to both books!

— Katherine

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