Taking Tea in the Kasbah

I was recently tagged by the delightful author, Liv Rancourt in The Next Big Thing, an interview in which writers are to answer ten questions about their current work in progress (WIP). (Be sure to pop over to Liv’s to read her answers to The Next Big Thing here.)

The Next Big Thing has been hopping around the blogosphere for a while and I’ll admit I was hesitant to jump in and share the details on my WIP. It wasn’t until I sat down to answer the questions that I discovered why I had been so reluctant. Beyond feeling shy and nervous about sharing my story idea, I’m not entirely sure if this is going to be the first story I’ll publish in some way. The idea for it has been dancing around the fringes of my mind for a while and when it finally came together in a somewhat coherent form, I knew I had to write it down regardless of its publishing potential. It may not be The One, but it’s what I’ve been working on in the depths of writing cave for the past two months.


image credit ~ Petr Kratochvil

image credit ~ Petr Kratochvil

With that out of the way, let’s get on with the grilling interview:

What is your working title of your book?

I’ve been struggling with this for some time. For now, the not-so-great working title is ‘Let Us Go’. It is from ‘A Love Song by J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot. I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something because I can’t seem to come up with anything else.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

For the past couple of years, I have been fascinated by what it must be like to live the life of someone who rose quickly to fame – the endless press junkets, the interviews, the things you lose or have to give up, and the things we non-famous people take for granted as we go about our daily lives. For nearly as long, I’ve also been itching to write a story from two different first person narrators. I also like to write and receive letters. (Shocking, I know. But I’m a bit of a foolish romantic when it comes them.) About three months ago, these three ideas mingled in my funny little brain, then quickly became BFF’s and are now pushing me to write the story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction that dips its toes in the waters of Suspense.

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

This is a tough one. The two characters who tell the story are nineteen year-old Oliver and seventeen year-old Athena. I can picture them in my head when I write, but I haven’t associated them with specific celebrities.

Alex Pettyfer could pass for Oliver, though he doesn’t exactly capture him. The closest I could come up with for Athena is Emma Stone. You can check out my Pinterest Story Board (here) to see their photos.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Two lonely teenagers – Athena, who survives her life by hiding from her dangerous past, and Oliver, who struggles with what fame has taken from him – find friendship in what began as an uncommon fan letter sent in a book. But when Oliver’s fame accidentally shines a light on Athena’s dark past and threatens her safety, they both must decide if it’s a relationship worth risking everything for.

Yes, I know it’s two sentences. It’s not great, but it’s getting there. Like every other aspect of this novel this, too, is a work in progress.

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

Not sure. I have to see what I think of the novel when I’m done. As I mentioned above, this novel might not be The One I choose to put out into the world regardless of publishing options.

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

I’m still slinging words into the crappy first draft. I’m pushing to reach The End in January 2013.

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

Since I’m being pressed to give an answer, I will bend the rules a bit and compare it to a movie and a book: The Shop Around the Corner (the movie You’ve Got Mail is based on) meets Will Grayson, Will Grayson (by John Green and David Levithan). (For fans of the book: While music will feature in my novel, I regret to say there will not be a musical as awesome as “Hold Me Closer, Tiny Cooper” in it.)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See above answer to question #2. Also, I plead the 5th. That’s allowed, right?

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

There will be humorous, snarky banter, and those awkward, yet funny moments when two friends realize they’ve fallen for each other. Also, there will be some sad parts and some scary parts and some angry parts. Lots of feelings going on in there. Kind of like a lot of other novels you may have read or seen. Really, it’s like every other book out there except this one will have my name on it and maybe the order in which the feelings appear will be different. Actually, that’s probably not true because the feelings will appear in a logical order because who wants to read a story in which the characters totally hate each other at the end? Not me, that’s who. Let’s just say my characters have SOME feelings at the end but I don’t want to spoil it for you so I’m not going to say what they are. IF I publish this story, and IF after all of this you decide to read it, then you’ll find out how it ends. Does that answer the question?


Since many of my writer friends have already been tagged, I am going to break the rules once again and tag just one writer: my friend and critique partner, Ben Grieger. Be sure to stop by his insightful blog and say hello.


21 thoughts on “From the Depths of the Writing Cave

  1. Love it! Sounds amazing, Tami. What a huge surprise to hear it has letter exchanges in it. (not – hehe) I really like your working title, by the way. You must be the judge of whether or not it fits, but as a stand alone title it has pulling power.
    I haven’t got a one-sentence premise yet either. I like your solution and may have to adopt it 🙂
    I haven’t got a working title either. (I’ve been tagged but haven’t got around to the post yet.)
    Good luck with getting it done by end-January. I’m plunging back in during January too.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Thanks, Ellen! I was so nervous about putting this post out there and almost didn’t. But then I was reminded of some sage advice about doing things that scare you and get you out of your comfort zone (in this case, hiding my writing in the writing cave). Thanks for the feedback on the title as well. Everytime I try to name my WIP something else, that title creeps its way back in. Good luck to you, too, with your WIP! 🙂

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Thanks, Liv! I get a lot of practice in the snarky banter dept. with the 12 year-old and the teenager. 😉

  2. I read a fabulous book, a recommendation from a friend, years ago, and so wish I could remember the title. The book was completely made up of letters, and chronicled the life of the letter-writer from her childhood in the Victorian era to her death. That idea stuck with me, and while A Woman’s Place (my ‘next big thing’ http://bit.ly/T5Gy2m) is not all letters, letters are the only way one influential character communicates with the heroine.
    So, Tami, you had me at letters.

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      If you ever remember the title of the book, I’d love to know. I really hope letter writing doesn’t become a lost art form, what with texting and IM’ing and such. So far in my WIP, there are only snippets of the letters between Oliver and Athena. I’ve purposefully kept much of the letters out of the text and instead have the characters reacting to the letter they just received. During revision, I’ll see if that holds up or if I need to insert more of their letters.

  3. I have great swaths of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” memorized from high school literature, so your choice of working title really intrigues me. (I always pull out the “Do I dare to eat a peach?” line whenever I hold the mentioned fruit).

    I don’t read much contemporary fiction but I would read this one! Because it sounds bittersweet, with a bit of heart breaking and lots of heart melting, and friendship turning to love (am a sucker for that!). And because your answer to the last question was hilarious.

    Thanks for playing, Tami!

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Thanks for the feedback and lovely comments, Rabia. Prufrock has an abundance of great lines, doesn’t it? Now that you pointed it out, whenever I eat a peach I’ll think of that line, too. 🙂

  4. This sounds super awesome, Tami! Can’t wait until it’s in readable form! And P.S. your new blog look is positively drool-inducing 🙂

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Thank you, Alina! I hope it is something others will want to read. 🙂

  5. I too love your concept and characters. I’m sure it will reach publication when it’s ready. I’d love to read it~

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Thanks, Elizabeth! We’ll see where the story takes me when it’s finished. The characters are bossy enough in my mind that anything’s possible. 😉

  6. I’m loving this ‘next big thing’, uh.. thing! It’s interesting to see what everyone is working on. I think the premise of the story is great and if you decide to publish, I’ll look forward to the funny moments when they discover they’ve fallen in love. Those kind of moments make me smile 🙂
    Good luck with your Jan goal!

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Thank you, Kim! I’ve loved reading about what others are working on, too. I love those funny moments and have had a smile on my face as I write them. 🙂

  7. I am hopeless behind on my blog reading.

    This is the most exciting post I’ve read today. Shh…don’t tell anyone else. I love the sound of your MS. You know I am like a super-fan of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I’ve seen the movie You’ve Got Mail but not read the book version.

    Carry on, Tami. Have confidence in yourself if only that you should write what you’d like to read. If you’d read it, I would as well. So there. You already have a built-in fan base. 🙂

    • on ,
      Tami Clayton said:

      Your comment totally and completely made my day, Brinda. Your support means a lot to me!

      I’ve come to really embrace the idea of writing what I’d like to read, especially when you think about the tremendous amount of time that writers spend with one manuscript. I’d better like reading it because it will become fused with my DNA after the 500th read-through.

  8. Pingback: The Next Big Thing ~ My Turn | Kim Griffin's Blog

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