The Next Big Thing

Hello again, patient readers. This post is an installment of The Next Big Thing, a kind of round robin of writers answering the same (or variations on the same) questions about their next writing project, and tagging other writers to do the same.

I was tagged by Ruth Foley, one of the most talented wordsmiths I know. In her  Next Big Thing post, she discusses her forthcoming chapbook Dear Turquoise, which promises to be as rich and poignant a collection as any I’ve read. I can’t wait. You can read that post here: along with some funny lists of 5 things that don’t suck “almost every day.”

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book (or story)?

The name of the novel is Shadows Present taken from an passage in  Benito Cereno  by Herman Melville ~ which should give you some ideas about the general tenor of the novel.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
As cliche as it may sound, the seed of story was planted by a dream I had multiple times in my early twenties.

What genre does your book fall under?
That’s an excellent question ~ I’d say paranormal except that there are no vampires, weres, or fae characters, very little sex that you’d want to have, and none with extraordinarily gifted males (or females), with great hair, who remain tumescent and/or lubricated in life-threatening situations that, in any normal human, would be sure to result in performance anxiety, at the very least.
Hmmm . . . there is an evil ghost who was believed to have been a witch and a past life love relationship impinging on the present, both of which entangle the primary protagonist, to say nothing of her young son and infant daughter, and intersect in their resolutions….  Genre, yes. Which? If you know, I’d be grateful if you told me.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Well,  since the leading man’s second-generation-Irish heritage precludes Will Smith . . . (always my first choice for leading man ;-)), I guess the answer would be, normal looking people, like the actors you see in BBC productions.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? (it’s two sentences and longish ones at that, but I did try)
When Cori Ferrell inherits an old house in Kentucky, it seems like a chance for her and Lonny to make a new start together, with their little boy and newborn baby girl, but there’s something in the house that fulfills Lonny’s darkest urges, and all she wants is one tiny little thing in return. For Kiel Manning, the cottage on the property seems the perfect place for him and his cat, Shadow, to spend a quiet summer off before his first teaching gig in the fall, but when he meets his new landlady, Kiel is certain he has known, and loved, Cori before.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? [Updated August 2013] I’ll be publishing my novel initially as a P.O.D. and as an eBook, both through Amazon, with an audio version to follow.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About 18 months over a 3 year period. The revisions have taken much longer, broken up by bouts of ravening insecurity when the mss resided in a box in one closet or another.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’d place it somewhere on the gothic novel spectrum between Barbara Michaels and early Stephen King ~ but honestly, I think that it will fit into the gothic/horror genre about the same way that The Time Traveler’s Wife fit into the SciFi/fantasy genre ~ which is to say, not so much.

Like Niffenegger’s novel, Shadows Present is more about the interconnectedness, the entanglements, good and bad, and, of course, about the Love, with a capital “L” that, in the end, really is all that matters.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
That would be difficult to say ~ so many people that I care about, and some that I love, have inspired me along the way ~ but ultimately I think the original writing was just for me; just me telling myself a story and, in so doing, creating another magic doorway into another place and time. The most joyful thing about writing fiction, for me, is walking through that doorway–and imagining other readers doing the same.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
[Updated August 2013] One of the reasons its so hard to categorize is that the characters aren’t ultra heroic or pure evil or lavishly beautiful (or continually tumescent or lubricating and ready to “go” no matter what else is going on in their lives),  they don’t radiate confidence 24/7, and they don’t always make the best choices … and I think that’s also what makes them real people who will appeal to other real people reading their story. Also, I’ve discovered that what I want from my writing is for people to read it and take as much pleasure in the experience as I do. So, when it is published on Amazon, if I can arrange it, the e-version will be offered for free download for the first two or three days, and we’ll see if that happens. 


Well, that’s my story, as they say. The writers that I’ve tagged so far have all passed, and for that I’m sorry ~ they’re fabulous writers all, much more prolific and well published than I, and I would have been so proud to introduce you to them. I have a couple more I’m thinking of asking, and if they accept, I’ll post their names and links to their blog posts here.

In the meantime, let me add my recommendation to Ruth’s and direct you back to the other writers tagged on her Next Big Thing post: Mary Harwood, Jessica Bane Robert, and Kathleen Clancy. Thanks for the tag, Ruth ~ it was fun.

About Rebecca

Rebecca Longster is a writer, reader, and lover of words. She once was a teacher of words, and how to use 'em, at Purdue University but now she just plays with 'em instead. She lives “across the river” in Lafayette, Indiana, with 3 crazy cats ~ one of whom is her husband, James ~ artist, photographer, and renaissance man.

You can get in touch by leaving a comment below or by looking for her on Facebook or Twitter (hey ~ it could happen :-P)


  1. Becca! Can’t wait to read it. love your descriptions. And thanks for the plug!

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