There’s a meme going around for writers where they discuss what’s on the table now, what their next book is, an opportunity to pimp yourself before hand. I was kind of surprised when Dan O’Shea, whose book Penance is coming out from Exhibit A Press next year, tagged me. I write, but I’ve never had the last big thing, but I do have projects on the burner. One project has pushed itself to the front in the last few months thanks to Naomi Johnson and a story I started for her WGI, the story turned out to be bigger than I wanted it to be.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
The title changes all the time. As I work through it certain lines pop, but the current title is When the Night Falls.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
My grandfather lived a long and independent life, but in the last couple year he needed help with the day to day, such as cooking, cleaning and just needed company. So he and I spent plenty of time together those last couple years and he started sharing his early years, which was new because he was always a quiet and reserved man. And those stories have become the foundation for several ideas.
When the Night Falls is loosely based on the death of my great grandfather, my grandfather’s father-in-law, who was a local police officer and shot in the line of duty. As my grandfather told, it sounded like it was out of a novel or a movie. A last heroic effort by a mortally wounded man.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
You got me. I guess that will be up to the publisher. It has elements of crime fiction, and it’s set right after WWII, but at the core it’s a story about family.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Looking ahead, I’d pick either Timothy Olyphant or Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Lester Muncy, the father. I really haven’t given it much thought. Maybe when it gets out there, the readers can envision their own cast.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After the death of his eldest son during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lester Muncy will do anything protect his rebelling younger son RJ, even face corrupt officials, bootleggers and his own mortality.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
When it’s done we’ll see where the market is. I’d love to have this go the traditional route.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m only about three months in, so I figure another six or nine before I can start looking for an agent.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I haven’t read a lot of historical crime fiction, most books I’ve read set in the post WWII era were actually written at the time. Closest I can think of is The Given Day by Dennis Lehane, the way the story was built and unfolded until all the threads tied together.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My grandfather, Richard Lester Theibert. He was an avid reader of mysteries, and though he knew of my aspirations, we never really shared that dream. He wasn’t a fan of violence, he preferred the acts to happen off page and solve the crime. My writing has always been more visceral, foul and violent. I think When the Night Falls is a story that will find a balance we both would have enjoyed.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I don’t know how to answer that? Maybe when the story is done and ready for print, I will have an answer. Of course, I’m sure this isn’t a book for everyone, some will be turned off because I don’t hide the ending. Like with any good story, it’s not about the ending, but how you got there.
Oh, Dan, thanks for jinxing this book.