The Next Big Thing Blog Hop


By Patricia Zick @PCZick

Author Lynn Thompson asked if I’d participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop! Since I launched my Next Big Thing Novel (Trails in the Sand) yesterday, January 30, it seemed quite appropriate to participate in my second blog hop. This blog hop requires me to answer ten questions about my new work and then tag other authors to do the same. Not only does it give me the opportunity to promote my new book, but I have the opportunity to support and promote my fellow authors as well. It’s a winning combination.

Ten Questions about Trails in the Sand

Was Trails in the Sand always the title of this book, even when it was a work in progress?

No, it was originally titled In the Garden. Even though the garden is a part of the book, it didn’t really address the whole concept. When I sent it out to my first readers during the first draft round, I kept thinking about the title and knew I had to change it. At first, I wanted Tracks in the Sand to be the title, but when I did a search on Amazon, I came up with dozens of other titles very similar to that one. Trails fit better, and I didn’t find any other books with that title.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was embroiled in the real-life drama as a public relations director for Florida’s fish and wildlife agency. I handled the media for the sea turtle nest relocation project that took place during the summer of 2010. At the same time, I was beginning a new relationship with a lost love from thirty-five years ago and was in the process of moving to Pittsburgh. Two weeks prior to the oil spill, twenty-nine miners were killed in a coal mine explosion in West Virginia, just a few hours from where I was moving. It all fell into place to write about the oil spill and coal mine disaster and our quest for profit and fossil fuels at any cost as the backdrop to the love story unfolding as the reunited couple face obstacles that threaten to topple their new marriage.

What genre is your book?

Trails in the Sand is contemporary literature. I want to create a new genre for environmental fiction, but so far, I’m not having success with that.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ashley Judd would be exceptional as main character Caroline Carlisle, with Woody Harrelson as Caroline’s husband Simon. Susan Sarandon would make a perfect Gladdy Stokley Carlisle, the damaged southern belle and mother to Caroline.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

As environmental writer Caroline Carlisle reports on endangered sea turtles during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, she uncovers secrets about the past threatening to destroy her family unless she can heal the hurts after a lifetime of lies.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I went the traditional route for my first three novels. I self-published for the first time in May 2012 (Live from the Road) with modest success, so Trails in the Sand is also self-published. However, both books have gone through several beta readers, a copy editor, and a professional editor before publication.

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

It took me six months or so; it’s hard to say because I do a great amount of research during the first draft stage, and I write scenes as they come to me, and then worry about placement later. With that said, it could have taken almost a year before I felt it was ready for first read by beta readers.

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

Before I began writing this book, I reread Pat Conroy’s Beach Music. While I do not put myself in his category of writing excellence (yet), my themes are similar. We both explore nature and crazy families who’ve done their share of damage to those who come later.

What inspired you to write this book?

As I learned more and more about the two tragedies that occurred in April 2010 – the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Upper Big Branch mine explosion – I became increasingly concerned with the lack of following safety procedures in both cases. Both disasters could have been prevented. In total, forty lives were lost. In addition, my personal life fluctuated between extreme highs and extreme lows during this time. And again most of that could have been prevented. In all of these cases, I kept wondering if restoration and peace would ever be possible after something is destroyed, so I decided to explore that concept both in the environment and in human relationships.

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

I hope readers will enjoy the story of one family as Caroline explores the past of her grandfather and mother. There’s touching moments as well as hilarious moments as one southern family fights to hide the past. As a reporter, Caroline can’t let it go. I also think readers will enjoy the race against time as wildlife officials fight to save hundreds of sea turtle nests from destruction as the oil heads for Florida’s Panhandle beaches.

Author Links

Here are five talented authors I’m tagging as the blog hop continues. Make sure you stop by their blogs and get to know these talented individuals.

Jerry Hatchett


Blog:  Storyfreak –

Pawnbroker Website:

Facebook Fan Page:


Inez Reilly





Author Central:
About Me page:

Elise K. Ackers





Harriet Cammock





Radio Blog:


Ferris Robinson


Amazon website:




I’d like to thank, Lynn Thompson, for tagging me and asking me to participate. Please take a moment to visit Lynn’s sites.

Lynn Thompson






3 responses to “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop”

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