Oh hey guys. So, I’m back in Chicago, slowly and arduously unpacking all seven circles of cardboard box hell (only seven, you ask? No no, I’m just trying to be literary here. In reality, the circles are endless; they are circles upon circles upon circles. Circles all the way down.)

Anyway, I took a break from unpacking for this blog meme thingie that fellow writer and weirdie Caren Gussoff tasked me to do. You should read hers and then you should read her book when it comes out because it’s awesome.

But for now, hold on to your damn hats because this is going to be the thrill ride of a lifetime.

What is the working title of your book?

It’s called The Grand Adventure of Aught-Nine. Originally because I started the book in 2009, but luckily for me it ended up making sense with the actual story too!

Oh, I also just started writing a new book which is tentatively titled As Big as the West. It’s a weird western involving Jews and magical Teddy Roosevelt, and I just wanted to briefly mention it because I’m super-excited to be writing it, and seeing the title written down makes me even exciteder.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea for The Grand Adventure started out as an epistolary war story, told from the perspective of two tiny brothers who were stationed on the bodies of two regular-sized humans who were fighting on opposite sides of some war. Then I realized I hate war stories and epistolary novels, so.

I wrote it first as a short story for a terrible contest I used to have with my Clarion West ’08 buddies, where we would write as many stories as we possibly could for about a month and then end up hating each other at the end.

What genre does your book fall under?
I pitched it as literary fantasy. Whatever genre George Saunders is. Saunders-ary fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I love this game! Here’s what I’m thinking at the moment for a few of the characters:

Christoph Waltz as Teeny

William H Macy as Boston

Anjelica Huston as Fiona

Richard Jenkins as Walter

Julianne Moore or Meryl Streep as Penelope

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Teeny, who was once the world’s finest Gentleman Adventurer — and who, like the rest of his kinsmen, stands no taller than a cocktail fork — is given the opportunity to go one final adventure to save his good name, find his lost love, and discover the true nature of his people’s origins, but finds instead that in this new world, dangers lurk in places that he could have never anticipated, and proving his own relevance is the very least of his problems.

(I’ll admit I cobbled this together from a two paragraph synopsis. My apologies for its clunkiness and many commas.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m represented by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. And when I say that, it makes me feel like I’m introducing a British lord, which maybe I am. Trumpets and trilled R’s!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft? I want to say it took about 8 months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Indiana Jones meets Gulliver’s Travels? Can I do that?

George Saunders’ books. Kelly Link’s stuff.  Sherlock Holmes for sure, and some of the older adventure books like Around the World in 80 Days. I’m also going to say Kurt Vonnegut, though that might be wishful thinking.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I was in an awful rut at the time and was just dying to have some kind of wild adventure, so I figured I’d write one. Plus I wanted to learn how to write a novel without putting too much pressure on myself, and this story seemed as good a starting point as any.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I want to BE these characters.  I’m jealous of them. If you’ve ever wanted to go to Morocco or Cuba or Paris, ride in a hot air balloon over the Atlantic, outwit an assassin, or search for priceless artifacts with your very best friend, then this story is your jam.

Now, I tag these authors to answer these same questions next Wednesday:
Oh let’s see.  I know these guys are working on stuff and I want to know what it is:

Kira Walsh: Multidisciplinary genius and baker of elaborate matryoska desserts.

Shane Hoversten: Neuroscientist, cat lover, champion eater.

Pamela Rentz: Organizational whiz, grower of impressive vegetables, charmingly grumpy Karuk