The Next, “Next Big Thing” Post

Remember a few weeks ago I took part in a writers’ chain about new publications? Well, here’s the first of the marvellous writers: J Robert Lennon. I’ve been a big fan of Lennon’s since I read Mailman several years ago and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all his other books, short stories and also music. His latest book, Familiar is  really unusual, clever and gripping. Check out his website here:

And here is his questionnaire:

• What is the working title of your next book?
It just came out–it’s a novel called FAMILIAR.
• Where did the idea come from for the book?
There’s a longish essay about this in the back of the book, but basically, it was inspired by a road trip I had to take in the wake of the September 11th attacks here in the US. It felt almost like a parallel universe–that was the initial inspiration.
• What genre does your book fall under?
Literary fiction, I suppose, though I’ve been half-seriously calling it Parenting Horror.
• What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh lord, who knows? A movie would be a completely different thing. I’d like to see such a thing happen, but it wouldn’t be the book.
• What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
“A woman is transported to a parallel world where her dead adult child is still alive, and the experience makes her call her entire life into question.”
• Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published by Graywolf Press in the US, and will be published in the UK by Serpent’s Tail.
• How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About eight months. Revision took twice that!
• What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Perhaps Tom McCarthy’s REMAINDER. That was an influence, anyway.
• Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See above!
• What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It has a lot of wonky science in it, and ten pages of somebody playing a videogame. That stuff was great fun to write.

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