A while back I was honored to be “tagged” by Barbara Denvil Gaskell (www.bgdenvil.com)in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop.  Barbara is the author of medieval romance and mystery novels, Satin Cinnabar, Fair Weather and Summerford’s Autumn.

This blog hop is basically a cyber version of the good old-fashioned “You’re it!” or “Tag” we played in our yards with siblings and neighbor friends when children.

Now I’ve been tagged, I answer a set of questions about my own current historical fiction novel I am working on:

What is the working title of your next book?

My Name is Harriet.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I haunted used book stores in every little village, town or city I visited this summer.  My husband recently retired and we lived a semi-nomad lifestyle in our recreation trailer.

I’d been particularly searching for 18th and 19th Century English material.

On impulse, I grabbed a copy of Classic Slave Narratives with the idea it might be interesting to read someday.  What the heck?  It was only $4.00

This fall I decided to enter the America’s Next Author contest.  I remembered the Classic Slave Narratives included Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.  The ANA contest had a word limit of 5,000.  Incidents to me meant specific time-limited events.

I started reading Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and, about 70 pages in, realized what I had in my hands wasn’t a short story, it was a novel.

A Google search convinced me the narrative was genuine, based on scholarly evaluation.  Interestingly, the validity of the document was questioned until the 1980’s, 120 years after first publication.

Research books I’ve purchased since then have, unfortunately, cost much more than $4.00.

What genre does your book fall under?

Easy one.  Historical fiction.

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

I’m one of those rare oddities who never watches TV and rarely sees a movie.  Can’t even begin to answer this.  Pass.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

The incredible strength of one black enslaved woman to retain her dignity, live by her principles and faith, protect and emancipate her children, gain freedom and help fellow slaves against seemingly insurmountable adversities and adversaries, based on the single extant US female slave narrative.

Whew.  No rules on how long the sentence can be.

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

Most probably self-published.

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

Uhm.  Still writing.  Hoping for the end of 2013 or as long as it takes to make it the best possible piece of writing I can.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

Actually, this is quite out of my personal genre.  I have read hundreds of historical fiction novels and reviewed over 50 this year, none of which are in this category.  I typically read English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and European historical fiction of all eras.  So, this is new ground.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Harriet Jacobs.

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

Her narrative was not considered authentic until the 1980’s because earlier scholars did not believe a slave woman survived life as written by Harriet.  It was too fantastical.  Further, disbelief arose due to the sophisticated style of the narrative and the common acceptance a slave woman could not have had the literacy Harriet possessed.

Any more would be giving away secrets.

The following authors have generously consented to be “tagged” and will be posting their versions of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop on January 2, 2013:

Veronica Knox (www.blog.secondlisa.org).  Actually, I just discovered Veronica is a keener and has already posted her The Next Big Thing.  So, head on over and find out what Veronica is up to.  Perhaps she’s hoping for extra goodies from Santa for diligence.

Stephanie Renee Dos Santos (www.stephaniereneedossantos.com).  Who wouldn’t love to have a name like that?  A historical fiction author, Stephanie is passionate about writing and yoga, so enthusiastic she combines the two with a tempting invitation on her website.  Now, you have to go look.

Margaret Skea (http://margaretskea.com/).  Margaret Skea is a multiple award winning historical fiction author who resides in Scotland.  Margaret’s specialty is 16th Century Scotland.  She takes her research seriously, possessing a PhD.  It seems Margaret has a lot planned for 2013, so it’ll be interesting to see if she’s figured out how to manage it all.

Karen Clark (http://nevillfeast.wordpress.com/).  Karen’s special interest is the War of the Roses and, in particular, the Nevill family.  She is the author of Dissolution (Tales of the Firstlands) and The Daisy and The Bear.  Karen moderates a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NevillGuide/) the Nevill Guide to the War of the Roses, which has lively discussions amongst various authors and interesting articles.  It will be quite interesting to see what Karen has up her sleeve, as her last post regarding her WIP was June, 2012.