A Blog Tour!

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

The Next Big Thing is an author blog tour. What’s a blog tour? A blog tour gives those on the tour a chance to meet different authors by way of their blogs. The Next Big Thing began in Australia. Each week a different author answers specific questions about his or her upcoming book. The answers are posted on author’s blogs. Then we get to tag another author. On and on it goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Next Big Thing went around the world a couple of times.

The tour came to me from Oregon.  I was tagged by my friend Eric Kimmel. He was tagged by his friend Pamela Smith. I’ll tell you whom I’m tagging at the end.

Now for the questions.

What is the working title of your next book?

Oh dear, I was afraid you’d ask that.  Until yesterday it was called: MY MOTHER’S WARS, Decoding A British Childhood.  But in March, a new memoir is coming out with that title, so I’m going to have to rethink.  All suggestions welcome.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When my mother’s memory started to fail, I realized that she’d had an amazing life, but one I knew little about. She was born in Gibraltar of all places, was evacuated to London during World War II, worked as a decoding agent for MI5, a division of the British Secret Intelligence Service, and married my father at the age of 18.  Six months after the wedding, she crossed the North Atlantic in a convoy, pregnant with my oldest brother.  It’s a wildly romantic story, but shot through with the dark undertones of war.

What genre does your book fall under?

Family history.  Memoir.  It’s actually part memoir and part reconstruction. What I couldn’t glean from my mother’s stories and my father’s letters home during the war, I discovered through travel, interviews with their surviving friends and masses of research. Unlike most of my other works, it’s not a children’s book and it’s not fiction although I use the tools of a fictionwriter to tell the story.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

My father looked very much like Robert de Niro, but he’s too old for the part.  Bradley Cooper would do it beautifully.  As for female actors to play my 18-year-old mother?  Anybody blonde, slim, smart and gorgeous. If she’s not English, she should do a good British accent.

Who is publishing your book?

Soon to be revealed. It will be going to my agent soon once it’s polished and “perfect”.

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

Four years to circle the idea and two to finish a full draft. I took time off to write a short memoir piece about my father, Stewart Alsop and his brother, Joseph. They were famous journalists in Washington and when a play (THE COLUMNIST by David Auburn) was produced about them last spring on Broadway, I decided to tell my version of their story.  It’s called DON’T KNOCK UNLESS YOU’RE BLEEDING, Growing Up in Cold War Washington and it’s published on all the ebook platforms under my other writing name, Elizabeth Winthrop Alsop.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My mother.  She hated losing her memory in old age and about five years ago, I realized that although my father’s story had been told often, both by him in a memoir called Stay of Execution and by others in biographies, nobody had told my mother’s story of growing up in wartime. As a ten-year-old she witnessed one of the first battles of the Spanish Civil. Her uncle was killed in World War I and her brother in World War II, and she survived the bombings in London.

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

The love story. My father was turned down by the American Army and so he enlisted in the British Army and joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.  He and my mother met in an enormous baronial castle in Yorkshire, England on the very day my uncle Ian, my mother’s only brother, was killed thousands of miles away in the western desert just before the second battle of El Alamein. Also, my father’s family is closely related to the Roosevelts, so I imagine it’s the kind of story that will engage the fans of Downton Abbey.  Imagine aristocracy from opposite sides of the Atlantic meeting during the war. Cue the swelling movie music.

Eric tells me I can tag more than one author. For now I’m tagging the amazing and talented Tanya Stone.  Her answers will be up soon.

Meanwhile, check out Eric’s blog from last week here.