The Next Big Thing

Hi friends! I’ve got my new computer so I’m back online.

My good friend Eva Pohler, author of  The Gate Keeper’s Sons, The Gate Keeper’s Challenge, and The Mystery Box, invited me to participate in the world-wide movement known as The Next Big Thing. Participating authors answer interview questions and then pass the baton on to the next writer. Eva was kind enough to pass the baton on to me. I think these questions will help readers understand what my book is like. So here goes!

What is the title of your book?

My book is called Gilt Ridden. I will be up front and say that I’m NOT good at coming up with titles. I hated my working title so much that I asked my Facebook followers for suggestions. I got a lot of really good ones, but Gilt Ridden captured the essence of my story. (Thank you, Jan O’Hara for the suggestion!)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

We lived on a ranch in west Texas that had an old dugout where a man lived during the Great Depression because he had no where else to go. I couldn’t get that out of my mind, so this story is his story. I also wanted to show everyone what life was like for us on the ranch. Whenever  I tell people about the things that happened, they always say, “You HAVE to write a book about that!” So I’ve incorporated the two things. Of course, I’ve added a lot of danger and mystery to make it more exciting.

What genre is your book?

That’s a good question and I seem to keep changing my mind! It has elements of mystery and historical fiction, but the main character that encompasses the whole story is Kay Stuart. She changes little by little and becomes stronger by the end of the story, so I’d say it’s Women’s Literature. I also think it could be a modern western, but I guess I’ll stick with Women’s Lit. (I’ll add a little side note here to say that I think  it’s gritty enough for guys to enjoy too.)

What actors would you hire to play your characters?

This is my favorite question! My story covers two different eras so I would  have two different types of characters. The man who wrote the journal is Josef Mueller.  Josef is a scholar-turned-rancher who becomes obsessed with finding his mother’s killer and guarding his gold. He is young and intense with bright blue eyes, so I think James McAvoy is a good match.


He marries a beautiful young woman named Adelaide Longworth. I clearly see her as Michelle Dockery (Downtown Abbey).


The era of this part of the story is 1909-1930, so she has the perfect look. I also saw Addie as having dark hair, pale skin, a lot of poise, and she comes from a well-to-do family. She’s perfect for Addie. Her mother is domineering so it was no contest that I saw Maggie Smith as her mother, Violet Longworth.

violet dowager countess of grantham downton abbey maggie smith-thumb

Yes, I know that Ms. Smith plays Violet Crawley and my character’s name is Violet Longworth. I came up with her name three years ago and just now (I mean, this very minute) realized they are both named Violet! I know that Ms. Smith is a little along in years to play Addie’s mother, but come on, there is only one Maggie Smith. She is the personification of Violet Longworth.

I’m a bit stuck as to who would play the characters in the modern era of the story. My main character, Kay Stuart, is a Texas debutante who is adjusting to ranch-life  She’s very short and has brown hair and brown eyes, so that limited some of my choices.  I chose Anna Paquin. She’s a little young (32?), but she has the look I’m thinking of. Kay can be classy yet she’s down to earth and has to be tough for some of the scenes. Her son, Jake, has black hair and large black eyes, so I think Anna is perfect.


Kay’s husband is Tom Stuart, a tough guy who grew up on a Texas farm. He can be a bit abrupt, not very talkative, but he’s still a nice guy. I kept coming back to Sam Worthington.

Sam Worthington

He’s shorter than Tom, but what a great actor! Together with Kay, they can face anything.

Can you give us a one sentence synopsis of you book?

Kay Stuart finds a journal in the old dugout and becomes captivated by Josef Mueller’s story that involves a treasure of gold that may still be on her ranch.  (Of course there is a lot more to the story which you can see on the “My Books” page here on my site.)

Will your book be self-published or through an agency?

At this point, I have no idea. I hope to go through an agency, but who knows. I’m glad that authors now have the option to self-publish and it’s not considered taboo anymore. Yay for progress!

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

Well, since I’m still working on it, I don’t know. I’ve been working on the current version (the 4th incarnation of the story) for a little over a year. I hope to finish this year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

The only book that comes to mind is The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen. I know that she writes medical suspense, but the format and style of the book is similar. *Fun side note* (I just pulled the book from my shelf, which I haven’t done for a couple of years, and found that Dr. Maura Isles (Rizzoli and Isles) is a character in the book! I love R and I!) In The Bone Garden,  a modern era character finds some bones in her yard and looks through old documents to find the dead woman’s identity. Over time she really gets caught up in the search and an old murder mystery. I like the style of how the stories are presented, going back and forth between the eras. The historical portions are told in a limited third person narrative , which is what I’ve also done.

What else about your book might peak your readers’ interest? 

I’ve done a lot of research to make it as historically accurate as possible because I wanted to capture what life was like in Texas at the beginning of the 20th century. And like I said before, I also wanted to show what life was like on our ranch. It’s going to make a lot of people laugh and squirm and of course, everyone will want to know-who is the killer and where is the gold?

Which writer would you like to tag to tell us about their Next Big Thing? 

I would like to tell everyone about my friend and fantasy writer, Tonia Marie Harris. Her website is:  and she is also a contributor at She’s nice and funny so go check out her blog. Thanks for reading!


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