Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for December 11th, 2012

The Next Big Thing Starts . . . Now

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Have any of you heard of the Next Big Thing blog chain?

This Next Big Thing author chain has been going around for a while, but I only was tagged recently by Kate Paulk (hi, Kate!).   Kate has a number of excellent novels out from the Naked Reader that range from the deadly serious to the wildly funny including IMPALER, KNIGHT IN TARNISHED ARMOR, and ConSensual (the third book in her Vampire Con series) — so if you haven’t read her books yet, you’ve really missed out.**

(In other words, her books would make great Xmas and/or holiday presents, as would the works of the other authors on this list.)

Anyway, here are the rules:

  1. Give credit to the person who tagged you
  2. Post the rules for this blog hop
  3. Answer these 10 questions about your current work
  4. Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can go over and meet them.

But I’m going to tag six even though I don’t have a link for the last . . . but we’ll get to that.

The first, obviously, is Jason Cordova, whose full length novel is CORRUPTOR from Twilight Times Books.  Jason and I both write for Shiny Book Review (he runs it; I write) and are in the process of writing a steampunk fantasy together.  (Slowly, yes.  But we’re getting there.)  He also has a number of short stories available in a number of genres, which he has links to from his blog site.

The second is Christopher Nuttall.  Chris has a number of books that he’s self-published along with a book called THE ROYAL SORCERESS from Elsewhen Press.  He’s an extremely prolific writer with a wide range of stories available including a great deal of military science fiction, so do check him out.

The third is Jeffrey Getzin, whose full length novel is PRINCE OF BRYANAE.  Jeff does not have a blog site, but his author’s Web site is available here.  (I’ll let him know that I have tagged him.)

The fourth is Florence Byham Weinberg, whose forthcoming novel, ANSELM: A METAMORPHOSIS, is a literary fantasy set in the 1960s and will be available sometime in 2013 from Twilight Times Books.  She also has a number of books available (also from Twilight Times Books) that might best be described as “historical mysteries” and/or “historical literary fiction.”  Ms. Weinberg does not seem to have a blog site, but she does have an author’s Web site, which is available here.  (I’ll let Ms. Weinberg know I’ve tagged her.  It’s possible that both she and Jeff Getzin may wish to respond via my blog; if that happens, I’ll be glad to give both guest blog rights for the day so they can answer the questions any way they see fit.)

The fifth is author Rosemary Edghill, who has many books in print in just about any genre you’d care to name.  Her most recent books are VENGEANCE OF MASKS (which was reviewed at SBR), DEAD RECKONING (with Mercedes Lackey; reviewed at SBR) and ARCANUM 101 (also with Ms. Lackey; again, reviewed at SBR).

Note that Ms. Edghill is a busy working writer, so I have no idea if she’ll be able to take part in the Next Big Thing . . . but no one had tagged her as of yet, which is why I now have.  (Maybe I should grin, duck and run away now?  Though with the cane, it’s more like “grin, bend my head a bit and hobble away slowly,” if you want to know the truth.)

The sixth is my niece, author Jennifer Lunde.  Jenni does not have either a Web site or a blog to the best of my knowledge.  But she does have a book available, PULSE, and is working on another book in that same universe at the present time.  Providing Jenni wishes to answer these questions, I’ll be happy to have her “guest blog” for me.  (PULSE was reviewed by Jason Cordova over at SBR.)

Now, on to the ten questions!

What is the working title of your book?  ELFY.

Where did the idea come from for your book?  I had a very strange dream back in September of 2002 after reading a book about stereotypical Elves.  The dream went something like this: “No, it’s not like that!”

This is how my three-feet-tall character Bruno the Elfy showed up.  Within a few weeks, I’d written over ten thousand words — the most I’d ever written in such a short time — figured out that in Bruno’s worldview, the word “Elves” is a swear word (you never want to call the Elfs the wrong name, either, as they definitely will charcoal you).  And that his race, the Elfys, were mostly a bunch of rhyming fuddy-duddies, which is one reason why he wanted out . . . but of course he didn’t expect to be on Earth among mostly non-magic users.

I wrote it down as fast as I could, discussing it as much as possible with my husband Michael (his assistance was invaluable), and went from cliffhanger to cliffhanger to cliffhanger.

Most importantly, I had fun.

(Yes, I’m very proud of this book.)

What genre does your book fall under?  Urban fantasy.  Specifically, humorous urban fantasy/romance with more than a bit of mystery, some ghosts, some Shakespearean allusions and plenty of alternate universes.

(Yes, “urban fantasy” fits.  But it’s so . . . normal a description, and “humorous urban fantasy” barely scratches the surface, too.)

Should I call it cross-genre urban fantasy, then, and save steps?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version?  Well, as great as I think Peter Dinklage is as an actor, he’s too old to play Bruno and is also too tall.  (Probably the first time in his career he’ll have been told that, but there it is.)  And Bruno’s love interest Sarah, who’s taller than most Elfys but is certainly under 4’4″, would also be difficult to cast.  (Much less the ghost characters.  Much less . . . ah, Hell.)

There are a few characters, though, that I probably could cast.  Reverend Samuel Andrews would be very well played by Laurence Fishburne (that is, if Mr. Fishburne could handle wearing a bit of padding as Rev. Samuel isn’t exactly svelte.)  Rev. Samuel’s wife, Rebecca, certainly is a part that Kerry Washington would do well in despite her being relatively short as she projects as much taller than she is on her hit ABC show, Scandal.  But I’m unsure who’d do a good job with their daughter, Mikayla or with Mikayla’s basketball star boyfriend, Jason.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Bruno the Elfy has been lied to his whole life until he’s sent to our Earth, where he must first find love, then gather allies in order to defeat a Dark Elf and return to the Elfy Realm in triumph.  (Read one of my first blogs, “What Elfy is  About” to learn more, as a one-sentence synopsis is painfully inadequate for a 240,000 word novel.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  Neither.   ELFY is forthcoming from Twilight Times Books in 2013.

How long did it take you to write your book?  Originally, ELFY took a year, or thereabouts.  Then came the first edit.  Then came my husband’s untimely passing.  Then, much later, came the second edit, which actually inserted something into the story to account for text messaging.

Now, if you asked me how long the work on AN ELFY ABROAD, the direct sequel to ELFY, has been taking — um, try eight years and counting.  But some of that is because life has interfered for a while before I get back to the writing . . . and I always do end up going back, because I just have to write this story.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?  Um, none.  This is one of the problems I had in finding a publisher in the first place — ELFY is lengthy and funny, but it’s not much like anything else.  (No, not even much like Terry Pratchett.  Or Piers Anthony.  Or the late, great Douglas Adams.  Though all are great writers who’ve written a goodly amount of humorous SF&F.)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  Well, originally it was because of that strange dream I had, as I said before.  But without my late husband Michael’s help, editing, encouragement, and willingness to brainstorm at all hours of the day or night, ELFY would be a far different — and far lesser — book.

Also, without the fact that I finally, finally found the love of my life in my mid-30s, I doubt that I’d have been able to write an authentic love story, much less one quite like this.

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

Um, it’s funny.  Really, really funny.  A send-up of many big, fat fantasies while still being authentically itself, ELFY is a humorous fantasy/mystery/romance with Shakesperean allusions and alternate universes.

And Bruno’s character just might get to you, too.  He’s been abandoned on Earth, what he knows as “the Human Realm,” and he’s been told his whole life that he’s not worth anything.  His parents are dead.  He knows our language only because his mentor interceded for him (something we don’t find out for a few chapters), and he gets captured right away by some pretty bad people — the parents of his eventual love-interest (and nearly instantaneous friend), Sarah.

One of my friends, William Katzell, told me that ELFY is best summed up as:

ELFY is a coming of age story about Bruno, who’s been kept in the dark about who and what he is (and could be) for all his life.  Trials, tribulations, romance and adulation abound as the anti-hero becomes the hero – and gets the girl.”

I suppose if I were really feeling up to snuff, I could tell you a little bit about my sequel to ELFY, AN ELFY ABROAD (currently in progress), or the ELFY prequel KEISHA’S VOW that’s set in 1954 (ghost characters are alive, while still-living elderly folks are much younger as you might imagine), or my non-Elfyverse New Age Christian fantasy romance CHANGING FACES . . . but as this has already gone on for a while as it is, let’s not and save steps.

(Though you may be interested in Stephanie Osborn’s Next Big Thing blog post, where she discusses all of her current WIPs — all four of them.  She’s definitely an overachiever in more ways than one, which I mean with all due respect as she’s a very classy lady.)

So that’s it for the Next Big Thing . . . tune in tomorrow and we’ll see if any of the writers I’ve tagged wish to take part.  (I hope at least one will, otherwise my part in this blog-hop will be a bit of a miss.)


** Kate Paulk also tagged me from the Mad Genius blog siteThanks again, Kate!

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 11, 2012 at 1:12 am