The Next Big Thing…

Some novelist friends and I are sharing information with one another and our readers about our manuscripts in progress.  Here is what I’m working on now:


What is the working title of your book?

PLAGUED, the first in a trilogy…


Where did the idea come from for the book?

…inspired by The Michael of Rhodes Project at MIT, a series of studies about the historical Michael who joined the Venetian fleet as an oarsman.  Over the years, he rose in the ranks, leaving a manuscript detailing his voyages, shipbuilding, and mathematics.  Little is known of Michael’s personal life.  My books will explore that.


What genre does your book fall under?

Historical fiction/mystery/crime


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

For the young Michael, I’d relish an “unknown,” whose earnest intentions light up the big screen. Kenneth Branagh at some point, though he would need to play Michael in his maturity rather than at sixteen.  Roberto Benigni as a deliciously slippery fellow named Jacopo.  I’ll need a crew (literally!) of men for this trilogy. 


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“While Michael soon masters the heavy oar that defines him, he simultaneously struggles to reconcile his conscience and his actions as he unwittingly becomes complicit in the secret conspiracies and betrayals that transpire during the hours the oarsmen are at rest.”


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

My first book was published by wonderful Fireship Press ( ), where the editors offered me a contract for THIRST (available in paper and ebook).  I will certainly send this manuscriptto Fireship for consideration, as well.    Upon the manuscript’s completion, I also will query literary agents.    


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

For my first published novel, THIRST, it took two years, while teaching writing full time.  I’m hoping to accomplish PLAGUED in eight or nine months.


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

Books that use specific historical contexts as a backdrop to explore human aspirations, frailties, struggles, and accomplishments.  The late Michael Dibdin’s Zen works teach me plotting.  And although she sets her novels in present-day Venice, Donna Leon is one of my mentors for the interior monologue. 


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Venice and my interest in characters who seek a large life.  What does such a life cost?


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

How the impact of the devastating plagues from 1348 to approximately 1401 changed the course of Venetian history.  That the abuse of authority among Venice’s “vice squad,” aka The Council of Ten, ran rampant in a case of child-trafficking during the time of PLAGUED.


Link to:

Chantel Acevedo


Roy Stolworthy