The Next Big Thing

Thoughts just coming through -- see Alison's art

For the first time I’ve been tagged in a blogging project. Writers are lifting up their Next Big Thing for all the world to see. . . most often right in the midst of writing it! Thanks to my dear friend and stunning poet, Kathleen Jesme, for tagging me. Please do yourself a big favor and visit Kath’s blog

I’ll be inviting a few other writers to participate and you will be able to find links to their blogs right here in the next couple of days.

Here’s the interview:

What is your working title of your book?
Right now I’m calling it The Yearning. That could change before I’m through. Not only do I tend to change titles as the writing becomes more focused, but publishers also change titles for marketing purposes.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Everywhere? I’m being only slightly facetious. My consciousness of the world and my part in it has fascinated and terrified me. Never have I been able to get my mind around it—not even the most imaginative part of my mind. I never could settle on one life, on my life. Having a more interior than exterior sort of personality, I explored the inner regions. I dreamed, contemplated, prayed, and studied the mystical, poetic, musical, artistic traditions. I’ve tried to capture the energy of the inner regions in novels and books of spirituality. But friends urged me: “Write your story.

What genre does your book fall under?
One author called a similar book his spiritual autobiography. As a genre, it probably comes closest. Memoir is too compact for what I have in mind. Mystic Journey is tempting, but probably is not a genre. Maybe I ought to turn it into another novel where I might be able to get closer to the truth.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I wouldn’t choose to have a movie rendition. But that isn’t really the question, is it? Unfortunately I pay little attention to actors so if I did need to choose I’d get people off the street of a small Midwestern town.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
This question reminds me of a soap opera that was on the radio when I was a child back in the 1940s. “Can a girl from a little mining town in the West find happiness as the wife of a wealthy, entitled Englishman?” It stayed with me over sixty years, so I guess one-sentence synopses do stand the test of time.  I suppose mine might be “Can a dreamy little girl from the Minnesota lakes and boggy wilds overcome her fear and find ground steady enough on which to build her one wild and unrepeatable life?”

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
Most likely I’ll send it to my agent first, just to test the waters. But to be bluntly truthful, turning a manuscript over to a publisher seems rarely a good idea anymore, especially if they have the electronic rights. That way the writer can never get the publishing rights back because the book is legally never out of publication. During the past few years I’ve been experimenting with e-publishing on Kindle, and print on demand with Amazon’s CreateSpace. Most writers have weighed the pros and cons. Sometimes it is the nature of the book itself that determines the form of publication. Sometimes it is the reader for whom the book searches.
There still exists, however, that glow, that rush, that pride of being published by a house that only takes the best authors, the finest works.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’ve been writing bits and pieces of it for thirty years – but the real work started in June, 2012. The first draft is about one-third complete.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Karen Armstrong’s The Spiral Staircase
Annie Dillard’s Holy the Firm
Justin O’Brien’s Walking with a Himalayan Master
Irina Tweedie’s Daughter of Fire
Petru Dumitriu, To The Unknown God
John of the Cross, Fire of Divine Love

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My husband, author John R. Sack was already in the process of researching his own book on the mystic way of the second half of life. We sat together reading the works of St. John of the Cross. It came to John to use the saint’s thoughts. It came to me to employ the saint’s structure…that of poetry giving way to the mystical experience of  oneness in love.


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