Jump to content, Jump to navigation.

Amber Paulen

My Big Thing

Apparently there’s this thing going around the writing web called “The Next Big Thing.” Since I was tagged last week by writer Alashiya Gordes, since I never take part in these things, and since I’ve been looking for an opportunity to write about what I’ve been writing lately, I decided I would take part. And anyway, why not? Sometimes this website feels as antisocial as I am on my worst days.

The idea, for those not in the know, is to answer the questions about your work in progress then tag five other writers whose work you like. I’ve extended the field from writers to include my talented friend who is a leather artist. Enough with the introduction, here are the questions and my answers.

What’s the working title of your next book?

I don’t have one. I’ve always liked titles taken from lines buried in the work and am waiting for that line to rise up. Then I’ll pin it into title form.

From where did the idea for this book arise?

About a year ago I began to write a short story that I never finished, that instead became chapter two of this manuscript. My ideas for the short story just kept growing, and I realized I had found the small seed of my new project.

What’s its genre?

Literary fiction.

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

I have no idea. I’m horrible with remembering the names of actors or actresses.

What’s a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A woman from smalltown, USA, visits Italy and can’t go home, her husband returns to thier children, and through her crumbling illusion of Italy she begins to discover herself.

Will you self publish or be represented by an agency?

I hope an agency.

How long did it take to finish the first draft?

I’m still working! Though I hope this first draft will be by this time next year, which only means I’ll start to work on draft two, then draft three . . . I’m not in a hurry.

Are there any other books you would compare this story to?

Though I can’t compare at all, the books that I am trying to draw inspiration from are Don Quixote by Cervantes and Madame Bovary by Flaubert. Also in this same category is Jenn Ashworth’s A Kind of Intimacy. In each of these the books the main character is so obsessed with their illusion, influenced by their readings, and pursues it to the usually bitter end.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

Beside the aforementioned sources of literary inspiration, there’s my love of Italy and the desire to somehow settle the score with all those ridiculous books about its romantic side. I also love to examine what characters do when set down in a place they don’t know—or in this case, know only through her illusion. I’m inspired by the challenge of finding a balance between dream and reality, and what happens to one while traveling is how I’ve most often conceptualize this dilemma. Lastly, I draw inspiration from my curiosity in my own childhood in a small town and what would have happened to me had I stuck around.

What else might interest the reader?

I don’t know. Most of this book isn’t even written yet.

And here are my nominations extended to include a nonwriter too, also the only one not in my writing group. Every other week I’m lucky enough to meet up with these lovely ladies to listen to and discuss what they’re (or I’m) writing.

Amanda Ruggeri: Amanda is a writer and Rome expat extraordinaire. You can always enjoy her knowledge about her adopted home, but she’s also working on some fiction.

Kimberly Sullivan: Since she’s already been tagged, here are her answers. Her short stories are amazing, and I’m secretly jealous of how expertly she turns them out.

Kimberly Trathen: The only nonwriter of this bunch, Kim sews up some excellent leather bags and wallets using repurposed leather. If I’m not mistaken, she has recently taken off with a new collection called Shape Shifters. She’s currently in Thomas, Virginia.

Rebekah Junkermeier: Rebekah is going to be the next big name in young adult fiction, I bet. Reading pieces of her work in progress makes me want to figure out how to include a talking chisel into my work too. She’s currently based in New York City.

Terianne Falcone: Terianne is working on a series of short creative nonfiction pieces about life and Italy. Her acting and improv background shed great humor on her pieces. I’m always eager to listen to and read what she has been working on. I know she’s already been tagged too, but sometimes it’s good to bend the rules.


·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·