for writers and readers….

THE NEXT BIG THING and should I tell you about it?

THE NEXT BIG THING is an author’s Work In Progress project  from SheWrites. I didn’t know about either the event or the online community for women writers until AKAndrew dropped me a line and asked me to take part.

I was delighted  by her invitation and excited by the list of mandatory questions.
Then daunted by them.
Then disturbed by them.

The creative process is fragile. If I wrote about the book I’m working on 12 months ago it would have sounded and felt very different to the same book under discussion today. I might have been helped by the exercise a year ago when I needed to think more, analyse the plot I had created and recognise its failures.

Will it help me now when I have been through a grinding mill – used the tolerance and expertise of fellow writers to explore what was working and what wasn’t?
Will it help me do it in the semi-public arena of a newish website? In the last year I’ve written and re-written and re-written.  I’ve discovered new elements in my story and chucked out others that I have clung to for too long. Do I want to expose all that when I’m at a point when maybe, perhaps I might just be nearing the end of editing and refining? I’m not sure…

Ok, so what I am going to do about THE NEXT BIG THING  invitation?

First of all, it’s a privilege to take part in a rolling international blogfest of women writing.
Thank you Kathy for your invitation and sharing what you are working on. Like you, I’m fascinated by the 1950’s anti-Communist era in America – perfect material for a novelist where large characters walked the stage and moral panic seized the public consciousness.
I’m intrigued by your novel and what you hope to do with your theme. That in itself justifies THE NEXT BIG THING and proves that it is a good thing.

Apologies Kathy for perhaps not obeying all the rules but I’ve done the best I can at the moment….

Here’s the questions….

What is the working title of your book?

Like ABC….  It comes from the nickname three Irish women friends gained while at school. Now approaching their 40s and living in London, it is how they still think of themselves. They have stayed together and supported each other through the crises that life throws at them, marriage, children, death and divorce.

I envisage a sequel called Like 123. In the London Irish community of the 1990s there’s a new optimism in the air. It’s the time of the Peace Process, Riverdance and Ireland playing in the World Cup, but a rapist is stalking the dance halls and clubs, the church halls and pubs. Three cases have been reported to the police, but everyone knows that many victims refuse to speak out. Everyone knows one of their own is preying on the most vulnerable in the community.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Ah, who knows. I was writing a totally different novel to begin with but with some of the same characters. There is a mother/daughter relationship that intrigues me and an attractive psychopath/sociopath who just won’t go away. He is a very dangerous man but  the heart of the story is the friendship of the three women

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary women’s fiction (unless I’m told otherwise)

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

I love this game – remember playing it with my agent when my first novel was published – and sometimes it can help you through the tricky times, the dark night of the novel, when you think every word is rubbish and every idea pedestrian.



Bernie (Bernadette) – TINA KELLEGHER

See them both in this short extract from Ballykissangel

Concepta – Oscar winning BRENDA FRICKER

This is fantasy and actually Brenda is a little too old for the role, but hey! a great actress can do anything. And with that in mind I’d cast Gabriel Byrne as Finn Doyle only 25 years ago…

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A good exercise. A great exercise and one I recommend. Ah, but can I do it myself…

A bomb goes off in a London pub and the ripples of  pain reach out across England and Ireland: the maimed aren’t just the ones with shrapnel in their wounds or those  have to live with the agony of loss, it also extends to the man accused of the outrage and the friends who have to decide whether to stand by him or walk away.

Not sure…this will change….and I need to break some (more) rules of grammar to fit in all I want to say…I shall attempt this again tonight. On my own…

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

I hope my agent will have me back!

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

Don’t ask. Too long.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

A lot of writers have explored contemporary or near-contemporary issues in fiction and I am traveling along a well worn path, made easier by the writers who have gone before. (Did I say easier….that’s not how it feels but I owe a debt to all the writers who have interested and moved me)

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I suppose all those news reports which have become the background sound of our daily lives: a bomb has gone off in Gaza/Iran/Afghanistan/Newry/Warrington…when the death toll is given only a small part of the story is told.  For everyone who dies at least another 20 must have to live with a life changing injury, sometimes physical, sometimes mental, a child growing up without a father, a rescue worker seared by what he or she is forced to witness, and then there is the family and friends…the ripples of pain that don’t make the headlines.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The story belong to three women who have no direct connection with the bombing but whose lives are turned upside down because a relative is charged with the crime. What do you do? Walk away or stand by them? And at what cost?

I have to nominate other blogging writers to carry on the THE NEXT BIG THING torch next week.

Here they are – I haven’t been able to contact all of them directly so there may be some drops outs and the fault will be mine, all mine.




6 comments on “THE NEXT BIG THING and should I tell you about it?

  1. ann perrin
    October 17, 2012

    it will be a winner! I so envy you being Irish… but whoa ..can I really mean that, with all the ‘troubles’ loyalties and dis loyalities? But yes your sense of who you are.. history, survival, unitity, voices… lilts …the music. (Alan plays the fiddle!)
    Your process here are brilliant for the potential novelist. I’m not one!
    One of my daughter in laws is Irish and her roots, sense of connection…umm words fail me. ..STOP NOW x

    • bridget whelan
      October 17, 2012

      Thanks for all the kind words…although not sure about the envy bit. Every culture has a history and a way of looking at the world that is theirs alone and we are richer for it…but we do some things well, I grant you and music is one. Pete Seegar said music only came out of two places – Africa and Ireland. While that might be a bit of an exaggeration you can see where he was coming from…

  2. A.K.Andrew (@artyyah)
    October 17, 2012

    Thank you SO much for taking part in the Next Big Thing Bridget, AND for all the mentions. Much appreciated. I loved this blog – your humor at your own process cracked me up I have to say. I can hear the blood,sweat and tears that’s gone into writing ‘Like ABC’ loud and clear.
    It’s strange how we have become accustomed to ‘the background sound’ as you put it, of bombings across the world – it takes something extraordinary to make us consider the wave of misery that comes along with it.The novel sounds incredibly interesting Bridget – you’ve taken on some real weighty issues here. Can’t wait to read it:-)

    • bridget whelan
      October 17, 2012

      Can’t wait to finish it! Thank you for the invite and letting me loose on these tough & thought provoking questions.

  3. Vikki (The View Outside)
    October 17, 2012

    Wow! I soooo want to read it! 🙂

    Ahhhhh, yes, how people deal with the aftermath of a devastating event is what interests me too 🙂

    I love the ABC then 123 🙂



  4. bridget whelan
    October 18, 2012

    Fingers crossed I get that kind of WOW reaction when it is ready to be sent into the world. Glad you like the impression I’ve given here…

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This entry was posted on October 17, 2012 by in Views and tagged , .


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