Monday, March 18, 2013

Here's Melissa Fraterrigo's take on "The Next Best Thing."

I was tagged by the amazing and prolific Barbara Shoup, the centrifugal force behind the Writer’s Center of Indiana, the author of seven books, a teacher and mentor to many writers in Indiana and beyond.

Meanwhile, here goes with the questions:

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

Teensy’s Daughter

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wrote a story, “Teensy’s Daughter,” which storySouth published in 2011, but I found that unlike other stories I had written, these characters were still trolling around in my brain. Gardner is an alcoholic under house arrest for causing the death of his girlfriend, Luann, and when the story opens, Gardner is certain Luann has been visiting him.

Gardner’s girlfriend also happens to be the daughter of his childhood enemy, Teensy. Once I started writing about these characters and their interconnected histories, I couldn’t stop, and my novel-in-stories was born.

What genre does your book fall under?

Literary fiction, unless some other genre would like to claim it.

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

The book encompasses four decades, so I’d need a youthful and strung-out Jeff Bridges for Gardner, Gary Oldman could probably play both a young and older Teensy, and a rough-looking Michelle Williams would electrify Luann.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Teensy’s Daughter follows the inhabitants of Ingleside, Indiana, for four decades as their livelihood shifts from farming to tourism when an amusement park, Glory Days, is erected, amidst change and malice.

Do you have a publisher for your book yet?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I am still working on the manuscript but I am close.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The town of Ingleside is an agrarian community, but hard times come a knocking, and an amusement park is erected in the middle of town.

The Quickening by Michelle Hoover offered insight into the mindset of farmers, and if I can somehow strike even a close approximation to the carnival life depicted in Cathy Day’s A Circus in Winter, I will be beyond pleased.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’m one of those folks who has great intentions of writing a novel. I love to read novels—shouldn’t I be able to write one? Alas, I’ve tried, and time and again I have discovered that stories are my thing. The novel-in-stories has provided a framework to explore character and immerse myself in small-town life.

If the book is read in the order that it is arranged, in reverse chronology, readers will have the opportunity to understand how each occurrence in a character’s life has ramifications for other characters so that all of the stories in Teensy’s Daughter ultimately build on each other and at the end, offer resolution similar to that of a novel.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Teensy’s Daughter follows a group of characters whose lives intersect, beginning in 2000, but then the book rewinds backward in subsequent stories to an earlier time to reveal a moment of crisis to explain why these same characters make the choices that they do.

Teensy’s Daughter explores what happens to a small community and its residents when its agrarian livelihood is replaced by the prosperous pageantry of an amusement park.

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