The Next Big Thing
My author friend Rick Reed tagged me as the next author to post in a series in which each of us shares answers to a a set of questions about our current writing project. So here are mine… hope you find the ideas intriguing!
What is the working title of your book?
What genre does your book fall under?
I wish I knew. It’s a metaphysical gay mystery about death and love. What shelf does that belong on? New Age? Romance? Mystery? I have no idea. Here’s the story idea—you decide:
Shepherd Bucknam inherited more money than he’ll ever spend, so he doesn’t need a job. He’s handsome, smart, educated and polished. He’s also a sex worker. He takes his profession seriously, as a kind of mystical performing art, coaching repressed men into a more profound experience of their sexual selves. Violence terrifies him, and he’s haunted by dreams of violent death he’s afraid might one day be his.
When his protégé is murdered, Shepherd becomes a person of interest in the investigation. Marco Fidanza is the detective assigned to the case. He’s gay and out and tough—he’s had to fight hard for everything he’s ever had. Shepherd’s metaphysical journey and the evolving relationship between Shepherd and Marco form the twin arcs of my story, but the murder investigation is what catalyzes both.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve heard enough stories — and had enough experience myself — about how past life patterns can reappear in one’s current life to make me take the idea seriously. Think of the issue as Imago Theory in counseling, or how we keep seeking the same kind of romantic experience until we finally figure out what’s going on and “graduate” from future repetition. Now stretch that concept over span of a couple of lifetimes or more instead of just one. That’s what’s at the heart of this story.
I should quickly add that not every character in my story needs to do this kind of work. Marco doesn’t. Just like in real life, some people absolutely MUST address metaphysical issues in their lives. Others don’t have the slightest interest and don’t need any of that woo-woo BS at all. Just that discrepancy in itself I find fascinating, in addition to how a man’s metaphysical journey might unfold, if he is led to embark on it.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m not a movie person, but this was easy. I think Shepherd should be played by Josh Holloway.
Marco absolutely must be played by an actor who reduces me to a quivering mess of need, Alessandro Calza.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Courage leads to self-understanding and love.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m not sure. I may self-publish. As scary as it is, I’m attracted to the business model, risks and all.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I can’t say, because the first draft isn’t finished yet. The story has been gestating inside me for about four years, which is how I am when I’ve got an idea that’s bigger than the story I first imagined. It takes a long time for that idea to start taking shape inside the story. I’m getting down now. I expect to have a first draft finished in the next few months. I feel like the hardest work is now behind me.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Once I find my genre, I’ll let you know!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wondered how it might be that a man who seems to have everything in this life could still be tormented by unresolved past life trauma—which prevents him from living fully now, and really enjoying what he’s got.
The next question was, how does his current life then force him to look deeper and take care of unfinished business in order to go forward? That felt full of possibilities.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If I do my job properly, there will be a number of themes explored in the book that could be of interest to a reader: tradition and how we fit in the world; the subtle damage from sexual abuse that inhibits real intimacy; parental love, even if it’s deformed and dysfunctional; physical beauty as a weapon, as a commercial currency, or as a means of healing; ditto with sex; wealth and what it can and can’t buy; ageism. All that, within the overarching context of exploring the courage it takes to know oneself, and therefore to be able to love and be loved.