Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Next Big Thing - Work in Progress

I was tagged in a chain blog called "The Next Big Thing - Work in Progress." It gives blog readers a bit of a glimpse into the writer's world and the upcoming novel/collection/book that writer is working on.

I'm delighted that speculative fiction writer Morgen Rich tagged me.

She was tagged by TS Gwilliams.

I've linked their blogs, and at the end of the post I'll link the blogs of the two writers I've tagged. So, here we go:

1. What is the working title of your next book? Walking Spanish

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? Midway through writing my first novel, INK, I took a break and wrote a novella that centered on a young Mexican-American woman in Philadelphia who was grappling with two horrifying things at once: one, that her brother — an undocumented immigrant — disappeared off a train platform as he was on his way to work. The other, that a childhood monster from Mexican tradition was alive and preying on people in the protagonist's city.... The narrative got me thinking about the way those of us who immigrate from elsewhere bring our monsters over the borders with us. What happens to them?  Do they prey only on those who know their stories? Do they want to slip their stories as they slip the border?  Do they *gasp* become acculturated? So I decided to write a series of linked stories exploring just that.

3. What genre does your book fall under? I write across genres, but I think dark fantasy or magical realism are probably the easiest fit for most of my work.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  Since it is a collection of linked stories it is tough to say. But I write Latino protagonists and characters in a fairly wide range of ages .... I quite like Rachel Ticotin for the sexy older protagonist of “The Emporium of Crossings;” Elpidia Carrillo for the artist-witch in “Bad Blood;” and Tyler Posey as the young lead in “With Syringe and Four Reales.” Edgar Ramirez and Gina Rodriguez would be a pretty terrific pairing as Elvis and Kat in "69th Street" (the novella that started it all). There's more, of course. Like, who would I cast as El Cucuy? Or, La Siguanaba? Lots of fun to be had casting monsters. ;)

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Do monsters cross borders with the immigrants who believe in them?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’ll probably shop it around when it’s a little closer to finished. Story collections are a tough sell, I’m told. But there are some amazing small presses out there, so maybe one of them will be interested.

7. How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m a slow writer, so if I finish a first draft by this winter I’ll be really pleased.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? That’s the thing about genre-hopping, it doesn’t really give you an easy basis for comparison. Maybe if you took the stories of Augusto Monterroso, Angela Carter, Geoff Ryman, Ana Castillo and Demetria Martinez and put them in a blender together ....

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? The folktales of Guatemala and Mexico are, of course, my first inspiration for these stories. But it’s also a book of stories about immigrants. So the experiences of my parents, my family, my friends and some of the people I’ve interviewed in my newspaper work all inform the narratives in both big and small ways.

10.What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? There's creepy, grotesque, sexy and bittersweet in this book. And lots and lots of teeth.

Time for tag.

I'm tagging Shay Darrach to post on May 2. I think Shay's a wonderful storyteller with a distinctive voice and beautifully textured prose. Also just a really fine human being. (Fun to hang out with at Arisia, too.) I have it on good authority that one of Shay's upcoming publications is a truly award-worthy piece of short fiction. I can't wait to read about it and his other writing projects.

I'm tagging Kay Holt to post on May 9. I fell in love with Kay's characters in the short story "Parent Hack" in Crossed Genres' anthology Subversion, and later found out it was part of a novel in progress. Like Shay, Kay is a sweetheart. But she's also a terrific editor and publisher and writer. When I was studying fiction with Allan Gurganus, one of the pieces of advice he gave us was: honor everyone in your story. It turns out to be a horribly difficult thing to do, and some writers don't even try. But that is one of the salient features in Kay's work — she honors every character and so produces some of the most nuanced and deeply compassionate SFF I've read.

Be sure to check out their "Next Big Thing" blog postings, and Morgen Rich's, and come check back here and tell me what you think of all the upcoming book projects (yes, mine too)!


  1. "Do monsters cross borders with the immigrants who believe in them?"

    Yes! Oh, please say that they do! ;-)

    I love the whole idea behind this. Good luck with it.

    1. Your enthusiasm for it means more than you can imagine. <3

  2. Using linked stories sounds absolutely perfect for it, as far as I'm concerned. Whether by your choice or because the stories and characters insist, hearing the many voices' individual monsters just . . . fits. I'm eager to read this!


    1. Thank you, Morgen! Your WIP sounds really interesting to me too. Identity and how "home" is visualized — rich fields to mine. :D

  3. I really *really* want to read these stories. I love how you intertwine myth and reality and question the boundaries between them.


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