The Next Big Thing | Justin Lawrence Daugherty

There this thing I was asked to do by Robert Kloss, he of the great novel, The Alligators of Abraham. It’s a chain blog thing, an unrelenting, runaway train thing. I don’t know. We’ll see how this goes. I hope you love it. Or, read it and tolerate it. I don’t know what I’m talking about half the time.

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

WHATEVER DON’T DROWN WILL ALWAYS RISE. Or, BREAK APART THE WHOLE DAMNED EARTH. Not sure which one I like more. Reader poll time! Go. Which one do you vote for?

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Collections, I suppose, arise out of a need to have your stuff together. So, hopefully the stories in here all share something. Hopefully, they’re all about the nature of myth and storytelling, about lives on the verge of utter collapse. These are things I work with frequently. Esp. almost-collapsing lives. I don’t write about breakups or divorces or whatever it is people write about. Or, I try not to. Anyhow, this collection is all a hopefully-cohesive manuscript of stories that seemed to fit well together.

What genre does your book fall under?

Um. Literature? Gritty realism? I don’t know. I hope it falls under “holy shit this is awesome!”

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

As it’s a collection, there’s probably far too much to attribute roles to. In MERMAIDS, I think I’d like to see Jessica Chastain playing the lead character. Kind of in love with her. And, she’s awesome. So. There’s a broken-down boxer in one story. I’d love to have Ryan Gosling or Idris Elba play him, and have Emilia Clarke (the Khaleesi in Game of Thrones on HBO) play his lady love. These probably aren’t really informed choices more than just me picking actors I love.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

People, lives in turmoil and on the edge is disaster, push against their better instincts and try to find redemption in desperate acts. That’s terrible. Ha. Um. Though, I’m too lazy right now to re-write it.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s already being worked on with an editor/publisher. Ryan Werner of Passenger Side Books. Ryan’s rad and has great ideas for the design and production of this thing, so I’m pretty excited. We’re putting it together as we speak. I’m not a big supporter of self-publishing. So. That won’t happen.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Oh, wow. I don’t know. It came together over the course of writing all these stories. So, there was never really a “draft,” really. It’s just there. All these stories came about in the last year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Oh, dear. Hm. I hate when authors are compared to other authors on book covers. THE NEXT CORMAC MCCARTHY! I hate that. But, I guess it’s a marketing thing. I guess I’d like to have McCarthy comparisons. I suppose there are elements of the lovely Lindsay Hunter in these, maybe some Charles D’Ambrosio. Influences more than comparisons. I’m really bad at this question, you see.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Again, since this is a collection, I’m not sure. I think all the stories were inspired by a desire to write about people on the fringes who were in great danger of losing everything. Reading. That inspired me to write this. Reading great stuff.

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

Well, you can read a few of the stories in the collection in print or on the Internets. MERMAIDS is coming from Gigantic Sequins in January. It won their Flash Fiction Contest judged by Jennifer duBois. So, that’s a thing, right? It’s going to have a sweet cover. You might get to hear me read it in your town someday and I have a cool beard, so that might be a draw.


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