The Next Big Thing: Paradox in Morocco

Moroccan flatbread
Moroccan flatbread

This post is inspired by the Next Big Thing blog hop started by Marilyn Brant and kindled by Malena Lott.  Take a look at what they’re working on as well.  (Links at the end.)  

Q. What is your working title of your book?

PARADOX.  When something unexpected happens, it takes us out of the everyday humdrum of life; but when something impossible happens, we sit up and take notice.  In art and science, the impossible happens all the time–both as a result of a contradiction and not–and when it does, they call it “paradox.”   Can paradox solve crimes?


“Paradox” by Emil Alzamora (Lanoue Fine Art)

Q. Where did the idea come from for the book?

My artist character, Adele Proust is a strong, intelligent woman, but one aspect of her personality makes no logical sense, only emotional. She happens to be a true “bombshell.”  I chose that trait for her unique ability to walk into a scene and turn it upside down without saying a word.

Physicist Niels Bohr

In researching her art methods for the second book, I chose paradox for the same reason.  When something impossible happens, the investigation radically changes.  An assumption, a “truth” is proven to be wrong.   Novel prize winning physicist Niels Bohr once said:

“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.”

Paradox can drive forth science, and in the same way an investigation.  The greatest barrier to progress is our sense of knowledge.  The presence of the “impossible” draws our suspicions into areas we thought we understood.  Paradox drives us to look at the facts with a more open mind.  NOW we can see something new–and it doesn’t always mean that what we thought before was incorrect.  Bohr also believed:

“The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.”

Q. What genre does your book fall under?
Mystery/crime novel.
Q. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?Jessica_Alba_2011
I find it difficult to put movie actors in the roles. I prefer for the reader to put themselves in the role of Addie Proust.  Perhaps Jessica Alba could play Adele … because she looks normal, not too Hollywood.  She’s beautiful but in a girl-next-door sort of way.
Q. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?ive.
An artist, recently recruited by the FBI, uses her artistic techniques in paradox to go after the killer in an impossible crime. “
Q. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don’t know yet.  My first book was with a small publisher, Buzz Books USA. They have gone inactive.
Q. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took about a year for the first book, but part of that time was spent finding first my voice and style and then finding my protagonists’s voice.  This one is different.  I have written some scenes while writing the first book in the series and plotted out sub-plots to span through four books so this one should be finished in under four months. Update 6/10/15: 3 years with a brain tumor and stroke in the middle.
Q. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Others have compared my books to Sophie Littlefield’s “Bad Day” series, but I think my protagonist is quite different from hers.  Perhaps they are referring to an underlying attitude.
Q. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It’s truly an  extension of the first book which I envisioned to be the opener in a series.  Many of the scenes were written while I was penning the first book. 6/10/15: Time has changed this.  I see Distortion now as a prequel.  The mood of PARADOX is different.  It will open a new series.
  Q. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

In investigating a crime, especially as it crosses borders, cultures, the “truth” can be redefined in new ways.  It can change and bend with location.  What happens when you take an American underworld and submerge it into the backstreets of Tangier?

escher relativity
“Relativity” by MC Escher


In the same way that Hitchcock found inspiration in the paradox of an MC Escher staircase for “Vertigo,” I’m finding my answers in an impossible, illogical Moroccan cityscape.  I’m throwing my characters off-balance with everything from language to food to getting pick-pocketed at the airport.

Update 6/09/15: I’ve noticed a lot of people checking out this page lately so thought I would update it. Shortly after this post, my vertigo became just awful. Months later, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
But I kept dreaming about this book. Two years and one minor stroke later, I’m thrilled to have finally finished the first draft. Much about the book has changed, but most everything in this writeup is the same. My publisher has gone “dormant” so I will have to shop it.


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Marilyn Brant’s Next Big Thing