Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Next Big Thing: One Shade of Red

Photo by Paloetic. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Autumn Birt, traveler, travel writer and blogger, has tagged me for The Next Big Thing blog hop. She, herself, was tagged by fantasy author Bruce Blake, whom regular readers of Written Words will remember for his guest post on style.

The idea behind the Next Big Thing is to answer a set list of questions about your work in progress, then tag five more authors to do the same thing.

So, here are my answers about my Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?
One Shade of Red.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
As you probably guessed, it’s a parody of the best-seller, Fifty Shades of Gray.
I first heard about the book last spring, when it was causing a stir in the mainstream media. I bought a copy for my wife, who read it and declared it terrible. She read it during our summer vacation by the coast, and repeatedly shook her head or moaned in literary disgust (at least, that’s why she told me she was moaning). 

A lady on the sun chair next to her one day noticed her reading the book. “What did you think of it?” she asked. 
“I think it’s terrible. Bad writing, and the characters are ridiculous,” my wife replied. “Did you read it?”

“It was the worst book I ever read!” said our new friend.

I read and heard several other reviews, as well. Obviously, millions of fans all around the world love the story. But most of the professional reviews I read or heard were very negative. They criticized the author’s writing abilities, the style of the book and the characterization. 

I had to read it, myself, just to see how I fell on the reaction spectrum. To me, it’s ridiculous, too. Christian Grey, a 27-year-old self-made billionaire? It doesn’t happen very often. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, a couple of others. But they’re never super-hunks at the same time.

And Anastasia Steele, the 22-year-old virgin? Come on.

The names are preposterous, too. 

And of course, those ideas eventually led to the conclusion: I could write a much better erotic romance.

What genre does your book fall under?
You could call it a satirical, humorous erotic romance. Or a romantic, erotic parody. Or pseudo-romantic, satirical erotica.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Do I have to tell you this is Beyoncé?

Beyoncé Knowles as Alexis Rosse; for the male protagonist, Damian Serr, maybe Angus T. Young — Jake from Two and a Half Men. Alternatives: Aarti Mann (Pria from The Big Bang Theory), or Eva Green for Alexis; Abhi Sinha from The Social Network would be good, too, for Damian. A younger, goofy kind of guy would be perfect.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Where Fifty Shades of Grey is a woman’s ultimate sexual fantasy — domination by a fabulously wealthy,beautiful and sexually powerful young man with a dark flaw she can fix — One Shade of Red is every young heterosexual man’s ultimate sexual fantasy: a rich, gorgeous and sexually always available woman without any inhibitions or baggage, or anything at all to fix!

Aarti Mann
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will publish this book myself, as I have all my other fiction.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’m now working on it as my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoMo) project for 2012, so while I got the idea for it a few months ago, I started actually writing on November 1. I plan to finish no later than November 30.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Fifty Shades, first. After that, I don’t know — I don’t read much erotica. Maybe I should start — purely for research purposes, of course!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Angus T. Jones
As I explained above: I thought I could do much better at erotica than EL James. As far as I can tell, her premise is that women love sex, and a little bit of BDSM is fun; and the sexiest imaginable man is a handsome, thin, in-shape and immeasurably wealthy man with a deep, dark secret flaw that only she can fix. Women love to fix men, it seems.

I flipped that premise upside down: what qualities would a young virginal man find ideal in an older lover? She (if the man in question is heterosexual) would be:
  • beautiful
  • continuously eager for sex
  • Eva Green
    completely uninhibited about any sexual practice, position or conversation
  • wealthy, so she can provide lots of toys and activities without affecting his bank account
  • and having absolutely no hang-ups or deep-down secrets — in other words, nothing to fix!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If I may be so bold (this is my blog, after all), I think that I am a much better writer than EL James. So my characters will be much more believable, their circumstances more plausible, and their motivations clearer. Also, I promise not to give my male protagonist, Damian Serr, an “inner god.”
However, I will give them names as preposterous as EL James gave her characters.

What else? Sex. Lots and lots and lots of sex in this book. When you read it, keep a glass of ice water handy.

Autumn Birt’s first novel is called Born of Water, and her Next Big Thing is Rule of Fire. Read about them on blog, Weifarer’s Wanderings. Click around her blog a bit, too, and you’ll find lots of great reading and adventure!

Now, the five authors I have tagged are:

Check their blogs next Wednesday, November 21.

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