The Next Big Thing Blog Tour!

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Originally posted January 23, 2013

The Next Big Thing is here!

What is it?  It's a terrific blog event that shines a spotlight on authors' upcoming book releases.  The event was originally launched in Australia and is now spreading around the world.  I received my tag from children's author, Judy Cox, and at the end of my interview, I'll tag another writer who'll share his Next Big Thing when he blogs next week.

Here's my interview about my Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your next book?
The title for my next book is complicated, but here goes:  Laura Ingalls Wilder's Pioneer Girl: An Annotated Edition


Where did the idea come from for the book?
Pioneer Girl is Laura Ingalls Wilder's unpublished autobiography, written in 1930 before any of the Little House novels were published.   I quoted extensively from Wilder's original, handwritten version of the autobiography in my book, Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life, and readers began asking me, "Why hasn't Pioneer Girl ever been published?"  It suddenly seemed like the time was right for Pioneer Girl, and the Little House Heritage Trust, the executors of Wilder's literary estate, agreed.   But there are five different versions of her autobiography.  Which one should be published?  An annotated version, explaining the differences between the many versions of Pioneer Girl, as well as the Little House books, seemed like the best approach.

What genre does your book fall under?
This book falls under the category of academic nonfiction, but don't let the category put you off.  I've written this for anyone who wants to know more about Wilder's life and her development as a writer.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Rumors began circulating last fall that Sony Pictures was planning a film version of Little House On The Prairie.  Personally, I'd prefer to see a series of films based on the final Little House books, from By The Shores Of Silver Lake on to These Happy Golden Years.  Wilder's novels and the sections of Pioneer Girl that deal with this part of her life are especially gripping and dramatic.  Wouldn't Jennifer Lawrence of Winter's Bone and Hunger Games make a terrific Laura?

Who is publishing your book?
The South Dakota State Historical Society Press.  They also published Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I'm in the home stretch with this project right now, after over two years of work.  Tracking down the people, places, and things Wilder mentions in Pioneer Girl as well as examining the literary connections between the various manuscripts and the Little House books themselves has required even more research than I originally imagined.  But I love research and continue to find the process fascinating.  The book will be published later this year.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As I mentioned earlier, readers of my biography Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life encouraged me to pursue this project.  But I grew up about forty miles from Wilder's home in the Missouri Ozarks, where she wrote Pioneer Girl and all the Little House books.  Her novels inspired me to launch my own writing career.  It's such a privilege now to be able to share her previously unpublished autobiography with readers who respect and admire her work as much as I do.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Pioneer Girl reveals aspects of Wilder's life that she chose not to write about in the Little House novels-- her baby brother Freddie, for example, and the Ingalls family's experiences in Burr Oak, Iowa, where Ma and Pa managed a hotel.   This book represents the first time Wilder's life story will be available in print, and as my publisher says, "it will finally bring Wilder's hidden writing to the public."

Next week, check out:

Eric Kimmel's blog at www.ericakimmel.com.

 

You can also check out:

Judy Cox's blog at www.judycox.net

The Next Big Thing at nextbigthing.blogspot.com 

Holly Atkinson