Some indie authors (and not so indie) authors have been doing a blog-post-chain-letter thing called The Next Big Thing. It has finally reached me through my good friend and fellow author, Joseph D’Agnese. It’s an ongoing process where one writer answers a series of questions (see mine below!) about a current book or upcoming book, and then tags 5 others writers (see below the below!) who get to do it all again the following week.
Confused? That’s okay. So was I, but don’t worry. Main thing is to read over my latest “Next Big Thing” then meet a few of my fellow author friends by clicking on the links below the questions.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Amberlin: Divine Destiny

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Over my life of studying spirituality it occurred to me that most ‘enlightened beings’ have appeared on earth in a male form, like Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lao Tsu, Confucius, etc.  So I started to wonder what it would be like to have the next one appear in female form. After all, it seems way past due, right? So, book one is about the early years of such a being – Amberlin.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
I’d call is a Young Adult/Adult spiritual urban fantasy with paranormal overtones.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m not sure what child actor I’d have play Amberlin — maybe Dakota Fanning in her earlier days. I’d love to see a somewhat younger Hal Holbrook or maybe a slightly older Martin Sheen play Papa Herb, her protective grandfather. For her grandmother, Rose, I’d say Meryl Streep, like her role in Doubt. Missy Stover, Reverend Stover’s wife could be played by Kathy Bates, and if he was still alive, I could see Burt Lancaster recreate his Elmer Gantry role somewhat as Reverend Stover.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
While God’s previous trips to earth have been as male enlightened beings (Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Lao Tsu, Bahá’u’lláh), this go around God arrives as a female – Amberlin… and it’s about time.  And the slightly longer than one sentence addition would be:
Who says the Divine doesn’t have a sense of humor?  Why else would she place the first female enlightened being in a super conservative religious community like Golden Acres?  Thank God (literally) for Papa Herb – Amberlin’s grandfather and mentor whose life purpose is to protect and prepare Amberlin to fulfill her divine destiny.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’ve chosen to publish it independently. It’s now available as a Kindle ebook edition and a quality paperback edition here.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
That’s a tough one to answer because I started Amberlin back in 2005, then put it away for a while. Once I pulled it back out, it took about 9 months to finish the rough draft and another six months to revise and polish it.

8) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As it often the case, it was a combination of things. One was the idea itself, wondering how a female enlightened being could impact the world in which we live. Also, as the co-founder of Life On Purpose Institute, I’m a big believer in the notion that we all come to this life with a ‘divine destiny’ or life purpose, so I wanted to explore that concept in a fictional story. Last of all, the idea that often times the worst evil is cloaked in good and righteous people intrigues me.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Amberlin: Divine Destiny is the first book of a planned trilogy. This quote sets the tone:
Of all created beings the wickedest is one who originally stood in the immediate presence of God. ~ C. S. Lewis

And here’s the storyline:
Amberlin Gentry doesn’t feel all that special. After all, can’t everyone change the direction of a whirlpool with their mind, know the inner feelings of others by just touching them, and receive guidance from woodland creatures? Her grandfather claims she has a divine destiny to fulfill, but what do you expect him to say about the apple of his eye?
True, there’s so much work needed to bring the world back on course, but what can one small girl hope to do especially when she doesn’t have a clue what her destiny might be? Papa Herb vows not to make the same mistakes with his granddaughter that led to her mother dying in childbirth. But even with his help, following her destiny seems impossible in the radically conservative religious community where she lives, especially under the iron rule of grandmother Rose who does everything in her power to suppress Amberlin’s special gifts.
There are just so many rules you have to follow as a member of the Golden Acres of Christ Community — rules that seem contrary to her inner guidance and that make following one’s divine destiny just that much harder. Step out of line and either Reverend Stover or his wife, Missy, will read you the riot act…chapter and verse straight from the Bible, often with a stinging slap of a ruler across your knuckles.
And who is that strange woman with the angelic face that keeps visiting her dreams? Could she have a role to play in helping Amberlin follow her destiny?
Now, let me introduce you to a couple of my writer friends. Take a look at their web sites:
Georganne Spruce – Her book,  Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness is about a woman’s journey to become authentically who she is and find a life where she can follow her passions of dance and writing, find her soul mate, and integrate her spirituality into her everyday life.
Laurel Winter