Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

An Award!

But first, apropos of Friday’s post, here’s a little musical bit from Counting Crows, their first big hit, Mr. Jones. I remember hearing a story at one point that the Crows had decided to stop performing this song in concert, partly because it was about the desire for fame and, having achieved said fame, their desires and motivations had changed. That was a second-hand story reported at the time, I don’t know how true it is. Anyway, I always liked this song, and still do. Given our discussion about the changing nature of blogs, it seemed like a good fit for today.

And now, the award! 
Nancy Thompson conferred on me not one, but two awards, the Fabulous Blog Ribbon and the Be Inspired Bloghop Meme!  Thanks, Nancy, I do appreciate it. I will focus on the Be Inspired one for today, perhaps I’ll get to the other somewhere down the line. This requires answering five questions and tagging five people. So, here goes.
1. What is the name of your book?
Oh, boy, which book? I’ll go with the WiP, not the previously-completed one that’s in queryland now. So, it is tentatively-titled Barton’s Women.
2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
Hurricane Irene. We lost power. The Magpie had spent the night at a friend’s house, Catbird had one of her friends at OUR house. I had to try to get everyone home through a brutal storm, with no way to communicate with anyone. Afterwards, I thought, what if I couldn’t get my daughter home? That ultimately morphed into the situation in my book, where a family has an extra kid in the house when a World-Changing Event occurs.
3. In what genre would you classify your book?
Technically, it’s probably dystopian. I would characterize it as Commercial fiction. With literary overtones.
4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

 Don’t ask me that question. I won’t. I can’t. 

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

Ick, I’m really bad at this, but here goes: 

In a world where (Holy crap, did I really just say that? Shoot me now!) our sustaining technology is suddenly stripped away, Kevin Barton risks his life and his marriage to protect his daughter’s best friend from the predatory town boss.
Like I said, I’m really bad at this. It needs refinement. 
6. Is your book already published?
Six? Why did I think this was a Fab 5 thing? Oh, well. No. 
7. How long did it take you to write your book?
About five months for first draft, still working on revisions.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?

Tough question. It’s dystopic, but if focuses more on the dynamics within the family than the survival and brave new, miserable world stuff. The closest title I’ve seen to this recently is William R. Forstchen’s One Second After, though, as I mentioned, the focus is quite a bit different.
I’ll also add a couple of months ago I was dismayed to see advertisements for a new show on NBC this fall, called Revolution, which strikes a similar device. I suppose the good news is, IF I can get Barton’s Women wrapped up really quickly, IF Barton’s Women is actually any good, and IF Revolution turns out to be a hit….well, you get the idea. 
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
None, really. Every author is my inspiration in some way. Though I might add, there’s a bit of Stephen King in here. Not the horror stuff, but where he says he looks at his characters and asks, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” 
10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.
There’s a real ‘yuck factor’ in this book; it makes me very uncomfortable. On the other hand, I’m also trying to look at the definition of family and how far we’re willing to extend it for others.
11. Tag five people!
Okay, that’s not actually a question; this one doesn’t go to eleven. But I’ll do it, anyway. If you do not wish to participate, that’s fine, I won’t be insulted. If you do, have fun!
That was tiring. I’m off to collapse now.
Oh, and one other note, I may or may not be here on Friday. If I can get my act together and get a post done ahead of time, I will. If not, I won’t. Off to the beach for a short time. Enjoy the week!

11 Responses

  1. Thanks Jeff! I'll have to think on a few of these! 🙂

    Sounds like a really interesting and powerful premise for your story! I bet it'll be great!!

  2. Hahahah, totally laughed out loud at the "In a world where" comment.
    Thanks for sharing about your WiP! I love hearing about what everyone's working on. Sounds like an intense story 🙂 And thanks for the tag!

  3. Ooh, your new WIP sounds fascinating! Isn't it funny how find inspiration? To be honest, when you were describing it, I was thinking about that new TV show. Sounds similar. Could work to your advantage! You never know.

  4. I'm totally hooked. I can't wait to read it. I think you think you haven't put a new spin on this loss-of-all-sustaining-technology premise but it seems to me that you have. I mean you're looking at one very specific aspect: the family unit. This sounds fascinating and thought-provoking and since I already know you're an incredible writer, I am salivating wondering how it's all come out in execution! Well done!

  5. 1. Funny you should mention this! I went to a Counting Crows concert back in 2006 and left completely bummed that they didn't play Mr. Jones. I love that song!

    (The rest of the concert was great, though.)

    2. Barton's Women sounds like a great read! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  6. Congratulations on the award, and thanks for the tag! I'll have to give these some thought. And good luck on your revisions! It sounds like an interesting premise.

  7. Thanks for the tag, and it's always really interesting to read other people's answers to these sorts of questions. I need to read some Stephen King stuff… 🙂

  8. Congratulations on the award!

    Your book sounds quite interesting. Commercial and literary is hard to combine, but when it's done successfully it can really make a story shine.

  9. Thanks for the comments, all. I appreciate it, as always, and glad you think the 'next book' sounds interesting. I'm trying to make it so!

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