I was tagged by three wonderful women to participate in The Next Big Thing, a way to let readers know about our projects in the works:
--Laura L. Mays Hoopes, who is preparing to launch Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling: An American Woman Becomes a DNA Scientist, the first memoir to explore how a woman has been able to balance a successful career in science with motherhood,
--Cati Porter, whose new poetry chapbook, The Way Things Move the Dark, is fresh off the dancing girl press' presses,
--and Jacqui Morton, whose collection of motherhood-inspired poems, Turning Cozy Dark, will be available from Finishing Line Press in June.
I hope you'll support all three of these brave and amazing mama writers by (pre)ordering their books.
I am working on two projects and wasn't sure which one to write about. The memoir about my mom is truly the "big thing" in my heart, but it's still in its early stages, so I thought I should write about my new YA novel, which is (I hope, I hope) almost ready to lob out into the world. And now, on to the Next Big Thing questions...
What is your working title of your book or work in progress?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
A few years ago, there were a couple of bills in the House that would have outlawed organic farming and backyard gardening. My friend Nancy and I were considering putting together some sort of street theater to protest this, but never quite got our act together (I think one of us was going to dress up like a farmer, the other like a cow). Thank goodness the bills didn't pass, but I started to think about what our world would be like if all home gardening was outlawed and one Monsanto-like company controlled the entire food supply. I started to think about a group of kids who wanted to bring food production back into the hands of the people.
What genre does your book fall under?
YA. For a while my agent and I thought it was a Middle Grade novel, but an enlightening talk by (and later with) the wonderful Lin Oliver helped me realize that it is actually a Young Adult novel (young YA, perhaps, but YA for sure.)
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ooh, that's a tough one. I'm really not up on young actors these days. I'll have to let a young person read it and let me know. I could picture John Hodgman as the main character's dad, though.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is represented by the brilliant Ellen Geiger at the Francis Goldin Literary Agency. She has been a real advocate of this book, and has been very patient as I've gone through draft after draft that hasn't quite hit the mark. I'm hoping this draft will get her nod.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I started the novel in the second half of 2009, but didn't make much progress--I gave birth on November 22 of that year, and my mom took her own life on November 29; I was derailed creatively for quite some time after this. In 2011, I started Seed Bombs from scratch and wrote a draft during National Novel Writing Month; I have been trying to shape that raw material into something meaningful ever since.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can't think of any other books for young people that directly parallel Seed Bombs, but it does have a group of young activists like Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, and it explores environmental issues like The Carbon Diaries by Saci Lloyd.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See my second answer. :) I suppose the other main inspirations for this book are my love of food and my desire for a green and sustainable future.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It has a life-changing strawberry, just like (but also very different from) my book Fruitflesh. :)
Thanks again to the three fabulous women who tagged me; I'll tag three fabulous women, in turn: Laraine Herring, Alma Luz Villanueva and Rebecca O'Connor. Can't wait to read about your next big things!