The Next Big Thing Blog HopNovember 28, 2012 - Author: emily.timbol - 1 Comment
Well this is an honor. I’ve been tagged for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, by fellow Burnside Writer Stephanie Nikolopoulos. Her latest book on Jack Kerouac looks like a fascinating read, one that this non-Kerouac fan is excited to pickup. Stephanie’s voice is one that stands out, as she sees artistry and beauty in things most would overlook. She’s got a great, unique style.
This Blog Hop comes at a good time for me, as I’m in the midst of a torrential downpour of rejections from agents and publishers. Hearing that someone actually wants to hear more about my book gave me a much needed smile. I’m more than happy to oblige.
What is the working title of your book? Leaving the Religious Lifestyle. The title plays off an expression I heard often from Christians, who encouraged me to help my gay friends, “flee the homosexual lifestyle.”
Where did the idea come from for the book? Over the past four years that I lived the experiences the book recounts, I looked for a resource that could help me understand or cope with the feelings and doubts I was having. There was little that I could relate to, anywhere. After every heartbreaking conversation with a gay or lesbian friend whose parents or friends had disowned them, I kept asking myself, “why is no one talking more about this?” There needed to be a resource for the Christian parents asking questions, as well as one for the gays and lesbians wondering if what they were experiencing was unique.
Eventually, I took that age old advice to hand – I wrote the book I wanted to read, but could not find.
What genre does your book fall under? Narrative non-fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Well, I’ve never honestly pictured this book being turned into a movie. But hey, if it can happen for Don Miller… Since a lot of the book talks about what it’s like to be the fat funny chick, I’d have to cast a funny, plus size actress to play me. Not sure how Rebel Wilson would look in curly brown wig and American accent, but she’d probably be great.
Ryan, my now husband, who I also wrote about in the book, is a tall, beardy, cuddly guy. So for him, Seth Rogen would make a nice fit. For the role of Chris, my best friend who came out to me and spurred the whole book, that’s a bit harder to cast. The actor would need to have the same sweet, enduring, but slightly awkward personality that made me fall in love with Chris in the first place. Maybe someone like the criminally under rated Jay Baruchel, or the lesser known actor (who physically resembles Chris) Sterling Knight. For Chris’s two love interests, I’d probably pick Logan Lerman for Craig, and Emilie Hirsch for Tyler.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Leaving the Religious Lifestyle is a re-telling of the author’s journey from religious fundamentalism to loving and faith centered encouragement for gay rights.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Ouch. There’s the salt poured into my (fresh, still bleeding) wound. I don’t know yet. As of writing this post, the book’s been recommended and sent to nearly a dozen agents/publishers, and so far I’ve gotten one solid rejection and a whole lot of silence. My goal is still to have it represented by an agency, or published by a small publisher. I’m giving myself a year to make that happen. If it doesn’t I’ll most likely self-publish. Or take on a new career as a failed writer alcoholic.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I started the first draft almost three years ago, wrote about 10,000 words, then got overwhelmed. I left it alone for almost a year. In the meantime I started writing more for websites and blogs, and that creative spark re-lit. Once the fire was blazing I was able to complete the remaining 50,000+ words in about four months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? There’s a few. The closest to mine would probably be Justin Lee’s recently released book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, or Andrew Marin’s now famous, Love is an Orientation. And while I’ve gone on record saying I disagreed with his methods, Timothy Kurek’s book Cross in the Closet has a similar theme to mine. All male perspectives though, none from a female narrator.
Who or What inspired you to write this book? That’s an easy one. This book was almost 100% inspired by my best friend Chris, whose coming out sparked my whole transition. His honesty about his struggle to ignore his sexuality, and how that caused his difficulty with God and religion, changed my world. If not for his courage to come out to me, someone immersed in the world of religious intolerance, I’d never have experienced the life changing transformation I’m so thankful for today. He’s an inspiration in every way.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The style that it’s written, and the narrator’s voice. I’m a lover of fiction and great dialogue, and that comes across in my book. I worked hard to “show”, not “tell” how I was changed by my conversations and experiences within the gay community. Through the multiple writers workshops I endured, I learned to write in a way that compels the reader and makes them care about the narrator. It’s engaging, and not at all preachy. Also, if I may say so myself, it’s pretty damn funny at times. There’s a story in there about how I almost got detained by airport security post 9/11 over a souvenir spoon. You have to laugh at that.
Now to pass the torch. I tag: