Gail's Book Nook

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Looking in the Window: The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’d like to thank my friend, Lisa Lickel, for letting the thought that I might have the next big thing cross her mind and inviting me to join the blog hop. Lisa and I met at Clash of the Titles. Now we’re critique partners. I love her new mystery. It’s kept me guessing and turning pages plus it’s a heart-warming story with interesting small-town characters, including a sweet baby and a cat. Be sure to read about it here

My work-in-progress (WIP) takes place in a small mountain town in North Carolina. In the book the hero and heroine gaze out a restaurant window at a scene similar to the one here.

Below I’ve answered ten questions about my WIP and have tagged four other authors who could be writing the next big thing. Be sure to hop over to their blogs and check them out.

What is the working title of your book?  Hot Cash and Hair Calamities

Where did the idea come from for the book? For years I wrote non-fiction articles at work and as a freelance writer. Eight years ago I launched into fiction, something I’d always wanted to do. For a very long time I’d knocked around plots in my mind for a story about my mother’s beauty shop. I spent so much time there as a child her work and customers remain a part of my life. I decided on a mystery concerning the beauty supplies then added a handsome man who enters the heroine’s life and becomes the victim of a robbery. Since the products have changed over the years, I had my hair dresser read over my manuscript. The nature of a beauty shop hasn’t changed.

What genre does your book fall under? A Christian romance with comedy and mystery.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? For the heroine I’d choose Sandra Bullock; the hero, Hugh Grant.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Cultures collide when Philip Wells walks into Eve Castelberry’s beauty shop in Triville, North Carolina, then mystery, mayhem and suspense follow.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I’d love to have an agent, but currently I’m actively seeking a publisher on my own.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Hmm. The first draft. I was writing other stories as well as this one. I believe it took about a year.  However, I recall the latest re-write very well. It was after I attended James Scott Bell’s Next Level Writing Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, this past August. Many thanks to him and his wife, Cindy, for hosting the workshop. I arrived feeling blessed to have an opportunity to get some writing tips from Mr. Bell. Later I realized the experience went way beyond what I expected. He’s passionate about sharing. I learned more than I could have imagined. Not only that Mr. and Mrs. Bell made the two days so much fun. Then Mr. Bell critiqued the first chapter of Hot Cash and Hair Calamities.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Some of Nancy Mehl’s books.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? Memories of my mother and her beauty shop. The following story isn’t in the book, but I’ll take this opportunity to share it, because it shows both heartwarming and comical elements of my mother's professional experience.

Every year on Christmas Eve Mother’s customers brought tons of gifts. While she styled their hair, I cooked part of our festive dinner.

One year Mother told me she’d ask her clients to put their presents on the back porch, so I wouldn’t be interrupted.

I was at the sink cutting up oranges and pineapple for Heavenly hash. A lady from the beauty shop opened the door leading from the back porch to the kitchen and stuck her head inside.

“I brought your mother some turnip greens,” she called out.

The next one plopped down a ten-pound bag of potatoes. Then there were cakes, pies and candy.

“Thank you,” I said to each of them.

As I put the whipped cream dressing on the Heavenly hash and started mixing it someone called out, “I’m putting your mother’s gift out here,” and shut the door.

“Bawk. Bawk. Bawk.”

It couldn’t be. I cracked the door and peeked on the porch. A live chicken strutted around, clucking amid the fruits, nuts, vegetables and desserts.

I went straight to the beauty shop.

"Mother, there's a live chicken on the back porch."

“Shut the back door and the door to the kitchen and don’t open them for anyone. Your father will deal with the chicken when he gets home.” From the calm tone of her voice one would have thought we had barnyard animals on our porch every day.

I went to the kitchen and closed both doors.

Right before dinner I heard the back door slam, the chicken squawking in staccato. I peeped out as my father ran across the yard with the bird in hand, its wings flapping frantically. That was the last time I saw it.

 What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The characters who are a bit different in a fun way from people most of us see every day. Yet once the readers get to know them, they’ll be reminded of someone somewhere they know who’s similar to them.

Be sure to check out The Web sites of the following four authors on December 5th to read about their works-in-progress.
Here’s a little about them and some of the books they’ve written. I can’t wait to read about their WIPs.

Staci Stalling’s a versatile writer with books in many categories, including young adult, motivational, inspirational and Christian. She’s often at the top of Amazon’s readers’ list. Her book, Princess, shows that love can elevate people from a storybook fantasy to a more meaningful reality.

K. Dawn Byrd’s a prolific writer who puts lots of emotion into her work. She writes non-fiction and fiction with romance and suspense for adults and young adults.  Amazing Love, her latest book, is a modern-day version of Hosea and Gomer from the Bible. It tells of God’s unconditional love for us.

Christine Lindsay’s book, Shadowed in Silk, won first place in 2009 for a historical novel in the prestigious American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest and has received several awards since. Shadowed in Silk is filled with suspense and romance set in political unrest in India.

Judah Raine writes classic romance and runs the popular Classic Romance Revival Web site featuring books of romance the way it used to be. Her book, A Thick Black Line, is characterized by suspense, love and desire with restraint.


Lisa Lickel said...

Go, Gail! Nancy Mehl is one fun author; so glad she was one of your inspirations.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Lisa,
You're so dear. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Grace Elliot said...

I love the book title - a novel about 'hair calamities' is definately something I can relate to.
G x

Christine said...

Thanks Gail for having me as one of the next authors on this blog hop. Can't wait to read your WIP.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Grace,

I think the hair calamaties create some tense and at the same time, fun moments in the book.

I enjoyed writing them, and I appreciate your stopping by.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Christine,

Connecting with you for the blog hop was my pleasure. Thanks for your interest in Hot Cash and Hair Calamities.

I'm looking forward to another wonderful book from you.

Gina said...

Great post, and I totally relate to hair calamities! Gail, you blog is wonderful. Big hugs!!