Saturday, December 1, 2012

What's Next?

Scott D. Parker

This week here at Do Some Damage, we’re participating in a meme about What’s Next. Today, being Saturday, it’s my turn. While I have a really good idea of my story and all the players, I haven’t given much thought to the answers to these questions. Mainly, I think, because I’m not finished with it. And, while I think I know where it’s going—planner that I am—you never know if it might take a turn that I didn’t foresee.

What is the working title of your next book?
I don’t have one. In Scrivener, it’s “Mrs. Keene.”

Where did the idea come from?
My mother. She claims not to remember telling me the inkling of the idea, but she did. So, if this thing gets published, you know who gets the dedication. One afternoon, she mentioned how much fun it would be to have an amateur PI, an older woman, who gets a bionic eye. Now, I know she was thinking Murder, She Wrote with a Bionic Eye or the Six Million Dollar Miss Marple, but I’ve changed it some. I’ve youthed up the main character, Mrs. Helen Keene, to be, in her words, “a woman of a certain age.” Well, that’s what she told me when I asked her how old she was. She added, “Young enough to be your mother but not old enough to be your grandmother.” Point taken.

Hang on a second. Mrs. Keene is nudging me. I think she wants to speak. 

“I was trying to tell Mr. Parker here about the story, but he wasn’t listening properly, so let me tell it. One of the fun questions people sometimes ask each other is ‘If you could have any superpower, what would it be?’ Flying almost always wins. Probably from the folks who can never seem to get to work on time. Invisibility is another popular one—and I think we all know why…. Bionic eye never seems to be in the Top 10. It wasn’t for me, to be sure, but I ended up with one anyway.

Now, you might think that having a bionic eye would be fun, especially for a woman of my years. And, no, I’m still not going to tell you how old I am so stop asking. You might also think that being a part-time private investigator and being able to see things far away might come in handy. Yes, it does, and I can certainly see further than I ever could. Eventually, I learned how to toggle the night vision—and not a moment too soon. Having a bionic eye is, all things considered, pretty nifty.
The only problem was that some pretty bad people wanted the eye that was in my head. And they were willing to do anything to get it, too…”

Me: Well, there you go.

What genre does your book fall under?
Mystery. In my head, it’s a classic mystery that could land on network television and, if the mapping holds, will have some exciting bits as well.

Mrs. Keene: Exciting bits? You call what happened to me ‘exciting’? What about the time that guy…

Me: Shhh! Don’t tell them now. Let them find out later.

Mrs. Keene [eyeing me warily, the comprehension dawns on her] Oh, right. Let them be surprised.

Me: Exactly. [wink]

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
[Mrs. Keene is looking at me, eyebrow arched, arms folded, finger tapping.]
Since the story came from my mom, I know she had a certain type of character in mind. I’ve altered it slightly. Mrs. Keene, widowed and divorced (he cheated on her and he was caught, um, with his pants down) is the main character. She’s a woman who has latched onto a part-time investigating gig with a local PI firm as a way of finding some direction in her life. I’ve had strong, confident, beautiful women in mind, something along the lines of Christine Baranski or Jean Smart, maybe even Candace Bergen from Boston Legal.

[Mrs. Keene smiles at me, beaming.]

Other than her, I haven’t given many of the other characters a “face.” The PI firm is owned by a younger man, Peter Angel, who is a bit brainy, casually granola in his dress, and prefers to help people that need helping even if it doesn’t always pay well. He and Keene tend to bicker sometimes about proper procedure and expenditures. If I had to put an actor to it (which I haven’t yet but am doing do now), I’m thinking Zach Braff in Garden State or Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Mrs. Helen Keene, part-time private investigator, inadvertently finds herself implanted with a bionic eye, she can see a whole lot of things more clearly, including the men who want the eye back, and are willing to murder to get it.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
We’ll see. Would like to go the agency route.

How long did it take you to write the first draft?
NaNoWriMo kicked this thing in to high gear. My aim is to complete it by New Year’s Eve so that I can fulfill my one and only 2012 resolution.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I am a huge fan of Castle and like the dynamic between the two leads. The relationship between Kathy Bates and Nate Corddry from Harry’s Law is also part of the mix. The interplay between my characters (Keene and Peter Angel) keep reminding me of Cool and Lam. Even though I’ve planned it out, I’m seeing how it ends up before I make any more comparisons.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My mom gave me the idea, but I changed it to my liking. 

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
I’m hopeful that the humorous parts are funny, the thrilling parts thrilling, and the mystery interesting enough. I’ve enjoyed coming up with it, and I’m hopeful that it might be unique enough to earn some readers.

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