featured as the next big thing—whose book is having a bizillion copy run... who sucks ALL the air off of the proverbial shelf space, leaving everyone else grasping for the randomly distributed oxygen masks.
[* It isn't always debut—I'd argue Suzanne Collins did this with Hunger Games, and she has a decent record with middle grade/young adult books prior, but Hunger Games really DID break her out—this is good news—we don't have only a single shot at this. However...]
HOW DO I GET TO BE KING KONG?
I thought maybe to see HOW to be King Kong, we'd check out the story on a few past gorillas... look at their pedigree and assess the hope...
Hunger Games and its ilk aside, I thought looking at bestselling or award winning debuts might give us some insight, so I Googled that and this is what I found....
(apparently in no particular order *grumbles* though for your ease in perusing, I've color coded: BOLD=after 1980 (currentish); BLUE-I've read)
Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles; (1916)
F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise; (1920)
Harper Lee's only novel To Kill a Mockingbird; (1960)Jay McInernay's Bright Lights, Big City; (1984)
Margaret Mitchell's only novel Gone with the Wind; (1936)
Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things; (1997)Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, (1987)
Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain, (1997)
David Guterson's Snow Fall on Cedars; (1994)
John Kennedy Toole's only novel A Confederacy of Dunces, (1980)
Melinda Hayes's Mother of Pearl; (1999)
Jhumpa Lahiri's The Interpreter of Maladies; (1999)
Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada; (2003)
Boris Pasternak's only novel Dr. Zhivago, (1957)
Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, (2002)Laurie Notaro's Idiot Girls Action Adventure Club, (2002)
Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees (4 million copies sold!), (2002)Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, (2003)
Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep, (2005)
Nicholas Sparks's The Notebook, (1996)Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, (1877)
Rebecca Well's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, (2002)Marjorie Kellogg's Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, (1968)
Janet Fitch's White Oleander, (1999)
Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, (1847)Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, (1963)
Brad Meltzer's The Tenth Justice, (1997)
Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, (1890)Ralph Ellison's only novel Invisible Man, (1953)
Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason's The Rule of Four, (2004)
Note how many of these also became movies... I've seen MANY of the movies for books I haven't read. And there is one fairly obvious trend. The '90s looks to be a VERY good time to have been a debut novelist. But never mind—unless you have a time machine you'd like to share.
The current ones seem to be that elusive 'mainstream borders on literary' thing that I wouldn't have a clue how to write. Which in the cases I KNOW anything is related to AWARDS. Easy peasy, eh? Write an award winning book and you get a bestseller? *rolls eyes* As if everybody and their dog wouldn't do this if they could...
No, King Kong's britches seem to maybe be too big to fill, and since I can't abide by britches ANYWAY I think I am just going to have to do the more moderate thing and sneak in the side door and start screaming 'GET NAKED NOW!' until somebody notices me...