The Next Big Thing: Interview with Theric Jepson


"The Next Big Thing" is a network of self-interviews.

I was tagged last week by Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle.

When tagged, an artist posts the following questions (adjusted as necessary)---and their answers---then tags other artists, who post a week later. Thus, an evergrowing series of folk all writing about projects currently engaged in. Because the people want to know! Because they care about the future! So so much!

I've been in touch with a few potentials and the following have accepted my taggery: Sarah Dunster and Kohl Glass and Denise Gasser. I'll include more precise links in the comments below when I have more precise links. Anyway, they should all be posting next week somewhere.

TNBT: What is the working title of your project?
I've codenamed it JTh, in part because the title's in flux. It began life about eight years ago as a sort-of sequel to my just-now-finally-released novel Byuck and, until recently, was titled Byuck: A Sophomore Effort. But I'm abandoning that title. I might stick with "A Sophomore Effort" or I might not---such a title might be too clever for its own good.
TNBT: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I don't remember the precise genesis, but at one point I was thinking of a trio of books about the Them siblings, using their respective times at BYU as the focal point. For Dave (oldest) and Julie (youngest), that's their bachelors degrees. For Tom (middle) it's his MBA. No wonder Tom's is the one I've never really worked on.
TNBT: What genre does your book fall under?
It's an antiromance, methinks. Or maybe you mean the other sense of genre. Throw me that question again.
TNBT: What genre does your book fall under?
It's a novella. It's a short-story collection. It's complicated.

One reason I spent so long getting JTh started was because, when I first started on it in 2004 (the year before it takes place), it was grossly humorless sluggery. But the release of Byuck has energized me in unexpected ways. Running across old notes for other imagined projects while thinking about Julie's story changed the form of JTh immensely. So what we have now is a novella-length work made of ten short stories and an introduction. Each of which features Julie but, except for the introduction and final story, she is never the p-o-v character---sometimes she's pretty tertiary, in fact. So the reader's forced to triangulate her story from other character's stories. The bad news is, lots of information about the Them family and important elements from Julie's world (her visits to her cousins! Curses in town for the Byuck revival!) never make appearances in the novella because the people telling their stories don't care about those details of Julie's life. It's irrelevant to them.

That said, some of the individual stories are pretty great. I just hope the whole holds together.
TNBT: What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Is Myrna Loy available? Because if not, I ain't playing this game.
TNBT: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Girl, on inevitable quest for love, does the evitable.
TNBT: How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
A little over a month. But that doesn't include the eight-plus years of off-and-on thinking about it.
TNTB: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Um. Feminism? That's a good answer.
TNTB: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The most beautiful woman in the world might go out with you in this fictional universe. And that goes for everyone! Not just sad boys!
TNTB: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
One reason I wrote JTh as a novella was to experiment with self-publishing. I'm planning on releasing it in October 2013, but in the meantime, I want to try and sell some of the individual stories to reputable lit rags. If that works out, I may push back my publication date.
TNTB: Tell us about your imaginings for the cover?
Oh, I already have that all figured out. Let's just say Matt Page will be involved.
TNTB: Before you go, why a codename? Why not just a working title?
Because my other big project right now has a codename too? It's a novel and I'm calling it YW because if I call it by its real title, I'll feel too committed to it. Or look creepy. But not as creepy as the original codenamed work in my ouevre. When people learn PENny's real title, I may lose friends. I just hope the future's on my side.

Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle

Sarah DunsterKohl GlassDenise Gasser

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