Big Idea Category

The Big Idea: Patti Callahan

For Once Upon a Wardrobe, author Patti Callahan considers a story and a world most of us know, to tell a story that many of us may have not considered — but without it, that earlier beloved tale would not exist. PATTI CALLAHAN: Nearly every culture in the world has an origin story – but […]

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The Big Idea: Cassandra Khaw

In Nothing But Blackened Teeth, author Cassandra Khaw looks at the ties that bind us… and why we might not cut them even if we have the tools to do so. CASSANDRA KHAW: Nothing But Blackened Teeth is about zombie relationships. The shambling half-things we all find ourselves stitched to by circumstance, its body rotting, […]

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The Big Idea: Dave Ring

In The Hidden Ones, author Dave Ring is looking at a part of human relationships that sometimes gets short shrift in the world of fiction — but in many way is the part of human relationships most of us strive for. And just what part is that? Ring is here to explain. DAVE RING: In […]

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The Big Idea: Marjorie B. Kellogg

As anyone who has ever written a near-future novel will tell you, the problem with that sub-genre is that “the future” keeps catching up with you in unexpected ways. Marjorie B. Kellogg can attest to that; while writing Glimmer, the world kept reminding her that the story she was creating was all too close to […]

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The Big Idea: A.M. Muffaz

In her debut novella Finches, author A.M. Muffaz looks at marriage in a way many of us here in the United States might have never considered, and the damage that can be done when promises assumed and made are broken. A.M. MUFFAZ: There’s never a good way to find out your father is cheating on […]

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The Big Idea: Joshua S. Levy

For Eighth Grade Vs. The Machines, middle grade author Joshua Levy decided that there was a certain concept that he wanted to put at the core of his middle-school-in-space tale. Was it action? Adventure? Laser Hamsters? (Also, how cool would laser hamsters be?) No, something even more fundamental than that, from which those other concepts […]

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The Big Idea: Caitlin Starling

There’s a central, motivating emotion at the heart of The Death of Jane Lawrence, and despite what the title may imply, that emotion is not “fear.” No, it’s something that, under the correct set of conditions, can be much worse. Here’s author Caitlin Starling to reveal and explain. CAITLIN STARLING: The Death of Jane Lawrence […]

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The Big Idea: Stephanie Burgis

With a title like Scales and Sensibility, you might be forgiven if you thought that you knew the primary influence on Stephanie Burgis’ new novel. But, as it turns out, you’d only be scratching the surface. Burgis is here today to help you dig deeper. STEPHANIE BURGIS: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Regency […]

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The Big Idea: Steven Leonard

If you like your Big Idea pieces full of science fiction metaphors and similes, I’ve got some good news for you: Today, editor Steven Leonard has jammed this essay full of them. And for good reason: Science fiction, and its lessons for power, projection and conflict, are at the heart of his anthology, To Boldly […]

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The Big Idea: Charles Dellheim

For today’s Big Idea, Boston University history professor Charles Dellheim delves into Nazi stolen art — and from whom it was stolen — as an introduction to his book Belonging and Betrayal: How Jews Made the Art World Modern. CHARLES DELLHEIM: After more than two decades of intensive scrutiny, it would stand to reason that […]

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The Big Idea: J.D. Moyer

We remember our own lives, mostly… but what if we had access to memories beyond our own lives, and not just in the form known as “books” and “recorded media”? J.D. Moyer offers a vision of how that might work in The Last Crucible, and also touches on writing about memory in such memorable times. […]

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The Big Idea: Jason Sanford

Fantasy and science fiction are often considered two sides of the same coin, but Jason Sanford has another theory about both, and in today’s Big Idea, he shares that hypothesis with you, and why it’s important for his novel Plague Birds. JASON SANFORD: Is fantasy the end result of all science fiction? I’m not talking […]

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The Big Idea: TJ Klune

There are emotions we all experience, because we experience other emotions first. In the Big Idea for Under the Whispering Door, author TJ Klune talks about one of those follow-up emotions, and why it’s so important for the novel. TJ KLUNE: Under the Whispering Door is, at its heart, a book about the power of […]

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The Big Idea: Lavie Tidhar

When it comes to his new novel The Escapement, author Lavie Tidhar is definitely not clowning around. (is passed note) Oh, wait, that should be, is definitely clowning around. Well, sort of. Look, he’s here to explain it all, I’ll just let him do it, okay? LAVIE TIDHAR: I’m loathe these days to try and […]

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The Big Idea: Lee Matthew Goldberg

Sometimes, the killer hook for a thriller isn’t a plot point, or even the first line of the novel, but something else… something that comes even before that. Lee Matthew Goldberg explains in this Big Idea for his latest story, The Stalker Stalked. LEE MATTHEW GOLDBERG: The first germ of a Big Idea I had […]

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The Big Idea: Monica Byrne

Travel broadens the mind, or so they say, but for Monica Byrne, travel to a particular Central American country did much more than that — and the result was her novel The Actual Star, which (disclosure!) I liked so much I gave it a blurb, and participated into an author Q&A, which you can view […]

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The Big Idea: Amanda Jayatissa

Ideas come out of anywhere, and for Amanda Jayatissa, the motivating spark of the novel My Sweet Girl came out of being really, really, really annoyed. Hey, whatever works. Here’s Jayatissa to fill you in on the circumstances and what came out of that moment. AMANDA JAYATISSA: If there’s anything this blog has shown me, […]

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The Big Idea: Calder Szewczak

Want a kid? Okay, but it’s gonna cost you. And before you say, “Yes, I know, I’ve seen college tuition these days,” read Calder Szewczak’s big idea for The Offset. The cost is something else entirely, here. CALDER SZEWCZAK: Having children might be one of the most cruel things a human can do. No one […]

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The Big Idea: Cassandra Khaw

For the Big Idea for their novel The All-Consuming World, author Cassandra Khaw looks at life lessons, and how the reasons for them can be and frequently are different than we’ve been led to expect. CASSANDRA KHAW: There are lessons that you are lucky to learn if you have the right friends at the worst […]

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The Big Idea: Kelly Jennings

“Nature versus nurture” is a question that humans all through the years have weighed in on, and it seems likely in the future they will continue to do so. Or at least, in the future of Kelly Jennings’ new novel In the Deep, that question, or more accurately a unique spin on it, comes into […]

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