The Next Big Thing is a blog chain for writers and artists linking together and talking about their current projects. It gives you, the reader, a chance to discover great writers and their work you may not have heard of before. This year I have been pursuing post-graduate studies in writing and have been inspired to start writing again. I was delighted when Alison Stegert (author of Summer of the Silk Dragon: An American Teen in Beijing) invited me to participate. Thanks Ali! The concept is simple: each creator gets a chance to share a bit about their latest project (new release, completed book or works in progress). The opportunity is paid forward to another blogger or group of bloggers who likewise post about their next best thing in exactly one week’s time (9 January 2013).
Check out Alison’s upcoming book where a young exchange student in China investigates a scam and gets more than she bargains for. http://oneyearinink.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/the-next-big-thing/
My Next Best Thing:
1. What is the working title of your next book?
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Akrad’s Children is a prequel of my first (unpublished) manuscript Adelphi – so the ideas really came as I explored the back story for my characters of Adelphi. The characters took on a life of their own and insisted that their stories be told too. Eventually a storyline began to unfold that develops over 100 years and several books.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
It is YA or New Adult fantasy with the stories entirely set in another world, Nardva.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
It’s a bit hard to say but maybe Aaron Tveit (Les Mis) or Ethan Hawk or Jeremy Sumpter (though his nose is too straight) for Mannok, a teen version of Gwyneth Paltrow for Ista and perhaps Chen Chang or Dev Patel (Slum Dog Millionaire) for Dinnis.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
“Three young lives are bound together in friendship, love, rivalry and tragedy: two orphaned refugees seeking a new life, a privileged prince striving to earn the approval of his father.”
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
At this stage I am pursuing publishing through the traditional route. I submitted Adelphi in the recent HarperVoyager publication window and will try pitching Akrad’s Children to various publishers.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I started writing the first chapters of Akrad’s Children in August/September this year but really got the bulk of it done in November as part of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge, writing over 50820 words. I have 4-5 chapters left to finish and then will continue writing the sequel Rasel’s Song.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Akrad’s Children and the other books in the series has similarities to Ursuala Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon of Pern series. It includes some adventure and romance and also focuses on the character development in a developed imaginative world.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was seven when my parents began reading the Narnia series to me and my brothers. Shortly after this time I spent much of my time daydreaming about my own imagined world with characters and events of what would eventually become the world of Nardva. A vivid dream with the image of a young girl holding a lantern beside a fountain at night inspired the story of Jared and Elene in Adelphi and as I explored their story, other connected stories began take on a life of their own. Eventually this new place, the Five Lands, became part of the wider world of Nardva. I began writing Jared and Elene’s story in Adelphi and then felt the need to tell the earlier stories of Rasel, Dinnis, Ista and Mannok which became Akrad’s Children and Rasel’s Song.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Each book has a story which stands on its own as the protagonists have both external and internal conflicts to resolve. Yet each one will contribute to a larger story that spans across at least a century – the young sorcerer Akrad’s ejection from the Isle of the Valdane and his arrival in the Five Lands, the impact he has on the lands of Tamra and Silisea and what happens to his legacy after his death. The stories contain romance, adventure, humour, suspense and mystery in a complex world with two moons, strange and ordinary beings, creatures and environments. I enjoy the characters – their vitality and quirky senses of humour – and their stories and I certainly hope you, the reader, will too.
For me 2012 has had two major highlights. At the beginning of the year I enrolled in a post-graduate writing course at Swinburne University and have linked up with some fellow aspiring writers. Towards the end of the year in October I participated in the Word Writers Camp on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland and have met so many aspiring and successful writers. It has been wonderful to meet such lovely, welcoming, creative people and it gives me great pleasure to link you to their Next Big Thing (uploaded next week on 9 Jan 2013):
Paula Vince has eight published works including two which have won awards and one, Greenfield Legacy, written in conjunction with three other Australian writers. She is preparing her ninth book Along for the Ride for publication mid 2013. While her preferred genre is Romance Adventure, I recently enjoyed reading the first book of Paula’s YA fantasy trilogy – the Quenarden series – and can’t wait to read the second one. Check out Paula at www.justoccurred.blogspot.com
Lynne Stringer is soon to publish her first YA Sci-Fi Romance novel The Heir and has two or three other books in the pipeline. Check out Lynne at https://www.facebook.com/lynnestringer.author?fref=ts
Skye Wieland has recently published Sarah’s Gift – an Adult Christian Romance set in Australia and South Africa and the first of her Dare to Follow Series. Check out Skye at www.skyewieland-author.blogspot.com)
Kayleen West is an illustrator and writer of children’s books. She has recently published Adoptive Father and has several other children’s books in the pipeline. Her illustrations are truly delightful. Check out Kayleen at http://kayleenwest.blogspot.com.au/