The Next Big Thing (Besides the Apocalypse)

My friend and Writing in the Works colleague Susan Calder invited me to participate in this blog tag. Over at Susan’s blog, you can read her take on her current work-in-progress. Here is mine:

Q. What is the working title of your book?

My new novel is called After You’ve Gone, which is also the name of a jazz standard first recorded in 1918. Set in Regina and Seattle, it’s the story of two generations of musicians, a jazz grandmother and a punk granddaughter, who each struggle with balancing life, love and art in their respective eras, and discover how much they have in common.  The two women’s stories are told concurrently, until they converge at the end.
Q. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Partly it was just my love of jazz. I knew I’d want to write about a jazz musician at some point. Partly it was inspired by my grandparents, who lived in Regina and were both musically inclined, although neither of them ever played music professionally. My grandmother had a steel-bodied resonator-type guitar – I don’t think it could have been a National, but I’m not sure — which she played in the 30’s and I which remember seeing in her basement when I was little. Sadly, it was sold at a garage sale after she died. I’ve kind of been haunted by that guitar for a long time, and thinking about it got me writing this novel.
Q. What genre does your book fall under?

Literary fiction.
Q. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

With a lot of interruptions, about three years. I had many more interruptions while my first two books,  Love Minus Zero (Oberon 2008) and Nothing Sacred (Thistledown 2009) were being published, but managed to rewrite and polish it into finished form last year. It’s currently under consideration and I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

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