Upcoming Novel from Julie Williams

I’m reposting a blog originally posted by Diane Kendig: “Today, as part of “The Next Big Thing” project, I am hosting my friend Julie Williams, who is a poet, visual artist, and author of a Young Adult novel in verse, Escaping Tornado Season, as well as an upcoming novel. I’ll let our interview tell you all about it. Julie says:”

“The Next Big Thing” or Blog-o-sphere Project is a fun way for writers all over the world to connect and share information about their current writing project or upcoming book. One writer tags another writer who answers a set of interview questions who tags five more writers and so on and so on. I was tagged by my fabulous poet friend, Diane Kendig, who has graciously invited me to post my answers on her blog. Thanks, Diane!

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So, here goes . . .

What is your working title of your book?

All the World’s a Jumble

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always wanted to write about a crazy theatrical family plagued by relatives who are certain the world is going to end. Originally, I thought it would be set in 1975, but lo! and behold — 2012 came along and the Mayan predictions and the new version evolved accordingly.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young adult fiction

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

The truth is, I’d love to see the whole thing cast with new or previously unknown actors. Probably because the characters are so vivid in my mind and like my friend, Linda says, she’d rather the readers formed their own pictures. That said, it’s also kind of fun to imagine who might be right for the part. So, how about this? When Quvenzhané Wallis, the young woman from BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, turns 16, she’s a possibility for Jessie. My daughter suggested Krisin Kruek and I really do like her, too. Abigail Breslin or one of the Fanning girls could play Jessie’s cousin and best friend, Bits. Maybe Brian White or Anthony Mackie for Jessie’s dad, Mark. And I’m thinking Jessica Chastain for her mom, Una. Although she’s a little young for the role, I can see Viola Davis as Grandmama. And I think Alphonso McAuley would be perfect for the wild and wacky Bartle. Now, ask me in a year when the book comes out. I may have an entirely different list.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

More than anything, Jessie wants to find her place in the Jumble Players — the award-winning theatre company her parents co-direct — but when family drama threatens both the family and the theatre, Jessie has to use her big brain and her huge heart to help keep it all together.

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

I’m represented by Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency and the book is coming out in March 2014 from Roaring Brook/Macmillan. My editor there is Nancy Mercado.

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

Depends on which “first draft” we’re talking about! The book has had several different incarnations. The slightly fudged, averaged-out answer is about six months. That said, Nancy and I have been working on it together for nearly two years. I just completed a revision based on her line edits and the book has just been sent to the copy editor.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My own, wildly diverse family, especially my beautiful daughter, inspired me. My early years in the theatre here in Minnesota and many years teaching performance classes inspired me. What I’ve come to believe about the incredibly strong and resilient nature of family made me want to write this book. And then, having my main character Jessie take off with a mind of her own made we want to follow along and find out what was going to happen to her next!

Next Week

Julie tagged me for the “Next Big Thing” Blog-o-Sphere project so next week I’ll post about my book, Focused on Murder—A Spirit Lake Mystery, and tag five amazing authors I know you’d love to hear about. Thanks for stopping by!

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