Today's guest post will be a "Next Big Thing" meme post from fellow author Dennis Havens. A long-time critique partner/beta reader of mine, Dennis has moderated the Fido WRITING echo (which is much missed, re-created on a mailing list we now have, but not the same), played brass instruments in Vic Damone's Vegas band, and written a screenplay about Bobby Sherwood's big band and its unfortunate adventure touring the country as lounge lizards. He also writes marches (like John Philip Sousa, one of his heroes) and suspense novels. The first thing he does when he gets up in the morning is the Hanon exercises on the tuba. Then it's out to run and play in the park with his faithful hound, Nita! You can find his work on the XLibris publishing websire and on Amazon. Okay, enough about him. Let's let him answer The Ten Questions for himself!
What's the working title of your newest book?
The new work in progress is called GINGERS.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I wanted to show that prejudice is by nature a universal human condition that has always been with us and probably always will be.
What genre(s) does your book fall under?
Traditional murder mystery.
Cast your book! Which living actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie renditiorn? (I wish we could cast with dead actors. The technology must be almost there for us to cut Bogie out of Casablanca and use computer animation/CGI to make him do our roles!)
We've had the technology for quite a few years now. Remember that TV commercial, at least ten years old now, in which Paula Abdul danced with the late Groucho Marx? What stops the process is a combination of intellectual property laws and the daily erosion of the general public's memory. No point paying some greedy descendant of John Wayne or Bogart for the right to reproduce and repurpose his image, when fewer and fewer people know who the person was.
As for casting GINGERS with living actors, the only one I've used for inspiration is Jane Levy, who has influenced romantic lead "Janisse Clement" in my story.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Everyone needs to feel superior to someone, no matter how enlightened--or unenlightened--they believe they are.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It's under construction right now. My daily word count is never very high, but I do about 70 percent of the revision at the start of the next day's writing session.
(I always hassle you about your method of work because I never do it this way, but obviously, after many books, it works for you! "There are nine-and-sixty ways to construct tribal lays--and every single one of them is right!"--Kipling. You know how to Kipple, don't'cha? Just put your feet together and JUMP!)
Which other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
THE ABC MURDERS by Agatha Christie.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The desire to write about prejudice without automatically being accused of racism.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I've worked very hard to misdirect the reader by having two points of commonality for the many murders. Only one of them is logical from start to finish, though.
How would we purchase your original band march music?
MP3 recordings can be had for free for anyone who buys a Shalanna Collins/Denise Weeks book. (Buy one and e-mail for details.) And, sometime soon, my latest opus, GINGERS.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Compose and arrange music -- and not just band music.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
My late first wife made bathtub gin when she went to college. Oh, wait! That's not about me. Okay, I am attracted to women who made bathtub gin when they were in college.
(I forgot to say that HE'S SINGLE, GIRLS! Pursue him at your own risk!)
Thank you, Dennis. Now we know a lot more than we really needed to about both of us. *LOL*
If you have questions or comments for Dennis, or for me, please brave the "confirmation field" and leave a comment here. We know the verification word is crazy, but it's the only way to keep bots and spambots from leaving you lovely comments about how to get "gender enhancement products" or help that Nigerian prince.
Tune in again tomorrow for the further adventures of Rocky Raccoon, Magic Squirrel!