The Next Big Thing
January 24, 2013 — 22:40

Author: Dorothy Johnston | Category: 7 Writers Anthologies Austraian literary history Canberra literary communities short stories | Tags: , , | Comments: 0

Irma Gold tagged me for the ‘Next Big Thing’. If you haven’t reached this post from her blog post about the next big thing then you can read it here.

What is ‘The Next Big Thing’? It’s like one of those old-fashioned chain letters where authors promote their own work and tag five of their colleagues to create a huge network of linked web and facebook pages about what everyone hopes will be ‘The Next Big Thing’.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Nine Pieces on Prostitution

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

The book will be a collection of my prostitution stories written over some thirty years, so obviously ideas for stories came from different places; but one, which is a very long story, almost novella length was inspired by a client dying ‘on the job’ as it were, and what the women did with the body.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Short stories

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Now that’s a curly one: I can’t somehow see a movie of a short story collection; but one, in particular, I think would make a great movie. It’s called ‘An Artist’s Story’ and is about an architect who’s hired to design a brothel, and her friend, ho becomes involved with the house, and the women who work there. The female lead I envisage being played by Cate Blanchett. The music score would include lots of Tracy Chapman.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A collection of stories on a theme that has intrigued me for my entire writing life.

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

I plan to self-publish the collection on Smashwords.

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

No single story took me very long, perhaps a couple of months for ‘Where The Ladders Start’, the longest in the collection.

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

John Clanchy’s ‘Her Father’s Daughter’ is a collection of stories on the theme of father/daughter relationships, and, since I admire Clanchy’s writing very much, I’ll be so bold as to cite it here. While there are obviously plenty of short story collections based around a theme, I really don’t think there is much of a precedent for my ‘Nine Pieces’.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My first novel, Tunnel Vision is set in a Melbourne massage parlour in the 1970s, and the oldest story in ‘Nine Pieces’ was written in the ‘70s as well. I think it was the extreme oddness of the sex industry in Melbourne at that time, the theatricality and subterfuge and madness! of it that got me in, and that has stayed with me.

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

Some – more than half – the stories are very Canberra. I think prostitution is a great way to write about the underside of our national capital. I would also like to mention that one of the stories, titled ‘Mrs B’ has been chosen for inclusion in Meanjin’s Canberra centenary issue. I’ll be writing about this special issue in a later post.
If you’d like to read more about Nine Pieces on Prostitution you can do so here.

I have tagged Lucy Sussex

Lucy Sussex is a writer, reviewer and editor, whose work ranges from children’s writing to the herstory of women crime writers. She has either written or edited over 20 books, published internationally. Her next big thing, deadline July, is VICTORIAN BLOCKBUSTER: FERGUS HUME AND THE MYSTERY OF A HANSOM CAB. It looks at the story behind the biggest-selling detective novel of the 1800s, one which created the market for Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. VB touches on much, from theatre history to a copycat murder, and how a small-press book from the colonies conquered the crime-reading world.

And Margaret Innes, who says,

I have one completed manuscript of contemporary fiction titled A Bracelet of Bright Hair requiring some redrafting. I’m also well into an historical novel City of Men where I examine the life of one of the earliest surgeons, William Redfern. Writing this has proved one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had as a writer.

Maureen Cashman writes

The flyleaf note of Maureen Cashman’s memoir, ‘Charlie and Me in
Val-Paradis’ published by Simon and Schuster in 2008, begins, ‘With a
poodle clutched in one arm and notes for an epic historical novel in
the other’. That epic historical novel is still simmering away, but
meanwhile, Maureen is working on a story that’s been on her backburner
much longer. We will soon be able to read twelve-year-old Francie
Keegan’s Secret Compositions, written in 1956, which tell the real
story of her life and of the bizarre events of her last year in
primary school at the mercy of a manipulative teacher.

 

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