The Next Big Thing Blog Hop: Stuffed Animals for Hire

Tag youre itThe Next Big Thing Blog Hop has been going on for a few weeks around the internet and I’ve been tagged a couple times, so I thought it was time to take the dive.

The Rules, as I understand it, are as follows: answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog. Tag five writers/bloggers and add links to their pages so we can hop along to them next.

I’m gonna go ahead and tag the following: Derrick Ferguson, Perry Constantine, Josh Reynolds, Joel Jenkins, and Van Allen Plexico.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?
STUFFED ANIMALS FOR HIRE: THE CHRISTMAS OPERATION.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is one of those ideas that just sort of happened. One day it wasn’t there and the next day it was. I like to write Christmas stories around Holiday time and I’ve been trying to get the sequel to ADVENTURES OF THE FIVE: THE COMING OF FROST finished for a few years now. That book is called THE CHRISTMAS ENGINE and it’s just one of those stories that needs lots and lots of time before it’s ready. I wanted to write something quicker that could see the light of day for this Christmas. I knew I wanted it to be a kid’s book and I’d had the idea for one stuffed animal character that I wanted to do something with rattling around my brain. I thought maybe I could do something with him – next thing I know, this whole idea for a “Winnie the Pooh joins the A-Team” idea was just there and all that was left was to work out the details. I grew up on those early ’80s action/detective shows: The A-Team, Magnum PI, Spenser: For Hire, The Dukes of Hazzard, Riptide, Hardcastle and McCormick … and I wanted to do something that was a playful ode to those shows.

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a kid’s book, but in a very odd, roundabout way, it’s most New Pulp thing I’ve written. Even books like HARPSICHORD and GUNFIGHTER GOTHIC, which would probably be best categorized as cosmic pulp and weird western, feel less like a New Pulp novel to me that STUFFED ANIMALS FOR HIRE, which is a pure, straight-ahead, action/espionage story. I know I mentioned up above that SAFH is like if Winnie the Pooh joined the A-Team, but that’s how it started. It’s ended up being: “If Winnie the Pooh joined the A-Team, as conceived by Jim Steranko.”

So, yes, it’s been fun to write.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Well … they’re stuffed animals so we’re talking vocal talents here. The main group of four members of the Squadron are:

Bronze the Golden Eagle, the team’s leader. While there’s not a one-to-one correlation between the Squadron and any one show, I’d have been pretty darn thrilled to have George Peppard do the voice work for Bronze. Given that can’t happen, Dennis Quaid would make an excellent choice.

Ray the Brown Bear, a field operative. I see Ray as a young Nick Fury or Winter Soldier type. Maybe even what would have happened to Steve Rogers if he never needed the Super Soldier serum to join the military. He’s got a sense of right and wrong and a sense of humor. I could see Matt Damon doing a great job voicing Ray.

Dev the Half-Lynx/Half-Woman, all Lynxwoman, a field operative. Dev is smart, agile, daring (Dev is short for Daredevil) and doesn’t talk. So … next!

3 the Triceratops, the group’s muscle. The youngest member of the group. For now. (Take that for what you will.) I’m picturing a younger, softer voice for 3. A Michael Cera type, maybe.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Four stuffed animals on the run from former associates try to save a kidnapped stuffed animal on Christmas Eve.

Here's a very bad piece of art that I created as a mock-up of a potential cover. As you can see, I am not an artist.

Here’s a very bad piece of art that I created as a mock-up of a potential cover. As you can see, I am a really great artist … (that was sarcasm, for those of you in Internet Land with your sarcasm filter shut off tonight.)

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

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Two weeks. It clocked in at a tight 25,000 words.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The SAFH aren’t heroes, but their hats are grey rather than black, so the Artemis Fowl books would be a good comparison. I think. I’ve never read them but I’ve gifted them a bunch of times and I like that idea of a story for a younger audience that walks a morally ambiguous line.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Have Idea. Will Write. That’s what I do.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think the idea that this is a New Pulp book aimed at a younger audience makes it a bit unique. It’s certainly unique for the circles I run in, and I’ll be interested to see if it works, too see if it works for both kids and New Pulp fans.

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