Next Best Thing—The Stars that Tremble

My writers group buddy Maria Granovsky tagged me to do another Next Best Thing post. (If you like thrillers, she wrote a good one.)

Without further ado, let’s talk about my WIP:

What is the working title of your next book?
My current WIP is currently titled The Stars that Tremble. The title comes from a line in Puccini’s opera Turandot.

usa_nyc_metropolitanopera_6Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’d been toying around with ideas for an opposites-attract romance. I’m not sure exactly where I got the idea, but I thought it would be interesting to pair together an opera singer and a construction worker. I liked the contrast of an art form mostly associated with the upper classes and a blue-collar working man.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary gay romance.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm. Well, in my head, Mike (the construction worker) kinda looks like Thomas Roberts. Gio (the opera singer) is, I think, maybe an older Zachary Quinto but, like, with Pavarotti sensibilities? If that even makes sense?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Retired opera singer finds his next protege… and her father. *dramatic music*

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
To be determined. I’m putting off making that decision until the manuscript is done.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Still writing, but it’s almost done. According to my records, I started this on December 17. I’ll probably finish the first draft within the next couple of weeks.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I hate to compare! I’m not sure that there are any other m/m romances about opera singers (although please correct me if I’m wrong). The first book that popped into my head was Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan, which I think is really different in tone and sensibility, but has a similar opposites-attract dynamic between high art and lower brow athleticism. But this is kind of a trick question, because I’m also trying to write a book you haven’t quite seen before.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Well, the opera singer came first. My mother is a classically trained singer who was in a small opera company for a while when I was a teenager. She’s always loved opera and played it all the time at home (and when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my hands over my ears all, “Aw, mom, again?” but as an adult I gained a real appreciation for it). I mention a bunch of arias on the manuscript, some of which are my favorites and some of which my mother played all the time when I was growing up. (She’s partial to Mozart. I love Puccini.)

I go to the Metropolitan Opera once a year or so, and sometimes we manage to score orchestra seats and sit with the classy uppercrust people in tuxes and ballgowns, and more often we sit in the Dress Circle with the hoi polloi (that’s the mezzanine that’s up around Jupiter, in terms of distance from the stage). Actually, the last time I went, I saw La Boheme and, sweartagod, the twenty-something girls sitting in front of us actually said at some point, “Wow, the plot is just like Rent!” (My eyeballs were in danger of falling out of my head, I rolled them so hard. And I love Rent as someone who loves musicals and came of age in the 90s is required to do, but come on now.)

So, yeah. Somehow I decided that the perfect man for my opera singer was a man who can’t tell a credenza from an aria and loves Lady Gaga.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The book is partly about loss, but it’s not sad.

Gio has lost his voice due to a vocal injury. Mike has lost his partner. Both are a few years removed from their loss, so it doesn’t dominate the narrative, but that experience is an important part of both characters. It’s also their common ground. So that’s kind of the gimmick, for what it’s worth.

If I sell this one, details will be forthcoming.