The Next Big Thing

By now, you know who or what The Next Big Thing is. I’m here to sloppily assert that it’s me. Thanks to TJ Beitelman and Erika Meitner for tagging me. I would never break the chain.

  1. What is the working title of the book?  Uprising
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?  My mother, aunt and grandparents were refugees of the Hungarian uprising against the Soviets in 1956. My grandfather was freedom fighter. I grew up hearing stories of the old country in my grandparents kitchen. In 1994, in graduate school, I wrote a few of them down. Christopher Funkhouser, who was one of my classmates, told me I should drop out of school, go to Hungary, and write the book. 20 years later, fait accompli.
  3. What genre does your book fall under? Historical narrative. Documentary poetry. Both of which sound rather dry, but it’s a bit like a pulp historical novel. Think  lovechild of The Thorn Birds and your 10th grade history textbook.
  4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  Jutka, the mother: Hillary Clinton. She’s sort of harried and badass. Jóska, the father: John C. Reilly. More Gangs of New York than Step Brothers.  Erika, the daughter: Quvenzhané Wallis. Have you not seen Beasts of the Southern Wild?
  5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?  Apocrypha behind the Iron Curtain.
  6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  About six years. And another six to revise
  7. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  Published by the amazing Black Lawrence Press.
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? David Mason’s Ludlow. Diane Gilliam Fisher’s Kettle Bottom. Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology.
  9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?  When I started writing this book, I was an idiot. I went to Budapest so intent on verifying one version (the emigrant’s) of a country’s past that I completely ignored the current political environment. The second night I was there, a mob rioted outside the public radio station. It was the 50th anniversary of the revolution, when a mob rioted outside the public radio station and men died. History isn’t isolated to the past.
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  Infidelity. Drunkenness. Secret police. Domestic terrorism. Violence. Political intrigue. Lots of endnotes. Lots.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are April Pameticky and Craig Blais (WSU alums in the house) and Serena Chopra.

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