Monday, October 15, 2012

The Next Big Thing

(In which I go a little TMI about my WIP)

Two weeks ago, my friend Katy Upperman tagged me in a post entitled The Next Big Thing—a WiP-focused questionnaire that came to her via Caroline Richmond and Miss Snark’s First Victim. So, once I got over my two-week anxiety about sharing, I thought I’d post too and play along.

Here goes…

What is the working title of your book?


(yes—Alison will win the award for most clichĂ© titles ever! But it works…trust me)

Where did the idea come from?

Three years ago, I wrote the first in what I hoped would be a series of paranormal companion novels on the seven deadly sins. The first one was on envy, this one was meant to center around lust. It morphed into something majorly different, something so much better. And although my mc definitely has some lust issues, it’s no longer a seven deadly sins story, but a somewhat inverted retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And I LOVE it.

Also, if you’ve been around my blog, you know I have a fierce love for anything football and the beach. This story combines those two loves.

What genre does your book fall under?

Upper YA Magical Realism

May we see an intro?

Here are the first few lines:

Getting with Susan Milton should be the last thing on my mind.

I should be thinking Northeast and their defensive line, the one that racks up eight QB sacks a game. I should be running through Coach’s five new plays—the ones the Panthers won’t see on the scouting tapes. I should think about how David and I are going to get a keg for the beach after the game. Or how if I don’t play the game of my life, we won’t even need one.

Maybe I should focus on my senior project.

Or the Pre-Calc test I have in thirty minutes.

But I just can’t get my mind off her.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

So, I’m a little afraid to post answers to this question, mainly because I like to give very vague details about my characters—leave a lot to the reader imagination, if that makes sense. So I won’t post pictures (although I did spend my weekend staring at pictures of Matt Dallas and Ian Somerhall—very close matches for my mc ). My mc does have some defining characteristics, and since I’m not sharing pictures to give you a visual, I’ll try to paint you a picture with words from the WIP…

“Do you always bring your bodyguards with you?” Susan Milton asks, a chuckle in her voice.

I smile, and my eyes take in Dave, Kurt, and Nate. They’re all well over 200 pounds, most of it muscle, and block for me every Friday night, protecting my 6’1”, 165-pound frame. Yeah. I guess they could be considered my body guards.

My boy has some stuff going on with his hair too. Here he is walking his wheelchair-bound sister to her bus…

She must know she’s struck a nerve because I suddenly feel the weight of her chair . I wince at the wheel sitting on my sneaker, then muss up her hair. She squeals and wheels away from me. “Quit or I’ll mess up your hair. Oh wait. It’s already messed up.”

Instinctively I run a hand through my hair. It’s not messed up. It’s short in some places. Long in others. And not that bed head shit every lame ass got after those werewolf movies Liz and all her friends “swooned” over. The guys all got mohawks last year, right after we won our second round playoff game, but I couldn’t do it. They gave me hell about it—said I was just trying to look like my hero, TQ Zedek. Maybe that’s true, but Liz wouldn’t hear of it anyway. She would’ve been so devastated if I shaved my head.

As for his love interest, he’s VERY detailed about her so I could almost post a picture (blonde Natalie Portman comes to mind), but I’ll give you a few words from the first page…

And not just because Susan Milton’s the hottest chick I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, she is: tight little body, sexy smile, shiny blonde hair that smells like the jasmine growing in my backyard. She has a habit of wearing these low cut tops, and if she bends over just right, I almost get a free show.

Hope you enjoyed the “visual.”

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I have one actually, but it gives a little too much more away than I’m capable of sharing right now so…I’ll just offer up the first two paragraphs of my query (for those of you who’ve already seen this…well, you get to see it AGAIN J )

JD Marshall has a power most guys would trade their left nut for. With one hypnotizing look, he can get a girl to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And for three years he’s racked up more scores than Brett Favre. But his power’s not a blessing. It’s just a curse.

And it is a curse. One he’s got three months to break or lose any chance of ever having a real relationship. The only way to break the curse—learn to love and be loved. Like that’s going to happen. JD needs to focus on quarterbacking his team to the state finals. He needs to pass freaking math. And he needs to quit thinking about Susan Milton. She’s taken. She’s forbidden. Worse—she seems to be the only one immune to his power.

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

If and when Alison is ever ready to query her beast, I will be searching for agency representation.

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

Which one? Haha – this is a third rewrite and each version took me roughly five months.

What other books would you compare this story to?

My story is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a Paradise Lost twist, but it also has elements comparable to The Blindside, Varsity Blues, The Program…pretty much any football movie. J

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Since I already talked about where my idea originated, I’ll tell you what continues to inspire me. Watching football games. My students and their shameless one-liners. The ocean. Saturday, on the way to my son’s soccer game, I passed an orange Dodge Charger (my mc drives one)…total SIGN.

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

Typical teen guys. Their pranks. Their naked exploits. Their angsty-ness. Romance. Phone banter. Steamy kisses in the most forbidden places. Aladdin. Disney princesses. Yellow roses.

I shared my love list for my WIP before, but I’ll share a few things that seemed to resonate with my fellow YA Highwayers—skee ball bets, Crisco, hummingbirds on crack. English classes that are hard to get through. I hope you all get to read it one day so you can see what’s really behind the last three.

Oh, and football. A little Vince Lombardi. A whole lot of heart.

So, that’s my NEXT BIG THING. I’m supposed to tag a few friends for their Next Big Thing, but I’m so Alison-come-lately to this, I think most everyone I know has been tagged! So, if you haven’t shared your NEXT BIG THING, go for it! And leave me a note about it in the comments so I can check it out!


  1. Sounds like a fantastic story Alison. Thanks for sharing about it.

  2. Everytime I read snippets of this story, I'm more and more hooked (which says a lot as I sometimes have a hard time connecting with male POV). Really, I'd love to be in his head for an entire book. The voice is amazing and the story sounds great.
    Thanks for sharing (and if you want to share more, you know my email address :D)

    1. You just made my day! Thanks, Elodie! Hopefully one day you'll get to read the whole thing. :)

  3. This sounds so good! A few years ago, football would not have been a selling point for me, but when you marry a guy from Buffalo, you learn to love football (for better or for worse.) Plus, we just watched all of Friday Night Lights, so now I'd kill for a good football story. And I could totally get some of my guy students hooked on this: "It's about a football player who can get girls to do whatever he wants." Hello! That would fly off my shelves :)

    1. Hehe - I love a good football story too. Hopefully one day it can fly off your shelves. :)

  4. Things I LOVE about this teaser for your book: the title, the humor, the teenage-boy voice, the promise of Disney princesses being part of the story. It sounds fabulous, and I love your pitch-perfect voice, Alison! Thank you so much for sharing :)

    1. Yay! Thanks, Rebecca! Those are all things I love too!

  5. I'm so not a football girl, but your boy voice is killer and it makes me want to read this right now :)

    1. Thank you so much! I hope you get to read it some day!

  6. Football and Beauty and the Beast? VERY interesting. I got this meme too and posted mine today.

  7. Just like I suspected: sounds fantastic! :D And from the snippets you shared here, I think you've nailed 'guy voice', which is no mean feat! Can't wait to read it one day. :)

    1. I can't wait for you to read it too! Thanks, Jaime!

  8. Yay, yay, YAY! I'm so proud of you for posting this! Obviously, I'm one of CM's biggest fans, and I can't wait for the rest of the world to meet JD and all of his awesome bookmates. I'm ready to read more anytime!

    1. Thanks, Katy. Your support keeps me going! And I can't wait for the world to meet JD and his friends too. Hopefully one day!

  9. Awesome, Alison! Can't wait to read this!

  10. I would read this book. I WILL read this book. ^_^

  11. This sounds great! I know I've read the first two paragraphs of your query somewhere, but I don't think it was here. Did you post them anywhere else?

    1. I did - a few weeks back for something else - a roadtrip perhaps? Thanks, Liz!

  12. Oh I *almost* did this--because I got tagged too! But, apparently I'm a lazy blogger, lol. And I never got to do it! :P
    Anyway, yay!! I'm glad you're pushing forward with this ms! Lemme know when you start querying so that I can cheer from the sidelines! :D

  13. Super intrigued at the inverted Beauty and the Beast factor! And then football and the beach? Your story sounds unique and fun--must read factors in my opinion!

  14. So I realise I'm not the first to say this, but I completely love JD's voice. And your description of it! Beauty and the Beast with a little Paradise Lost tossed in? Definitely sounds like a wizard read.

  15. Oh! I can't believe how late I am on commenting on this, Alison! Thank you so, so much for sharing! It is so awesome to get to hear about the project that you are working on, and I am so blown away by your voice! I think you nailed a voice that is so hard to get right. Such a great concept and so excited for you. I wish you the BEST with your MS. Yay, Alison!!

  16. Well, finish it already. I want to read it. It sounds great and it has lots of things of interest to this beach-living, football-widow gal. Can't wait to read it!!!


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