The Next Big Thing – Blog Hop

What’s The Next Big Thing?  According to Naomi Gruer, author of Cora Gets Carried Away, it might be me!  The Next Big Thing is a traveling blog that asks writers whom they consider the Next Big Thing.  Those writers answer ten questions about their work in progress, then pass the questions on to other writers.

The Rules: Answer ten questions about your current work-in-progress on your blog. Tag one to five writers and add links to their pages so we can hop along to them next.  Many thanks to Naomi  for tagging me! Read Naomi’s blog to learn more about Cora Gets Carried Away (and to see who tagged Naomi).

What is the working title of your book?

Forever Fall.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Kathy Temean offers “Free Fall Friday” on her blog, Writing and Illustrating. Each month, a prompt is given on Friday, and writers have a week to respond with a first page. Editor Susan O’Keefe, who critiqued that round, gave me such encouraging feedback, I turned my first page into a NaNoWriMo project.

What genre does your book fall under?

Middle-grade fantasy.

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

Hmm, that’s a tough one. Maybe casting against type? Quvenzhané Wallis or maybe Mackenzie Foy… Chloe Grace Moretz seems too mature to me. Ideally, the actor cast would portray my protagonist more from her personality and emotional makeup and less from her described appearance.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

It was hard enough creating a 300 word synopsis! 😉 Okay, here goes:

Winter hasn’t come, and Teresina, nymph and daughter of Fall, worries that she inadvertently caused the disruption by taking a crystal from Winter – life is hard enough when Mother is happy, but now she is impatient and weary, leading Teresina to decide that she fears punishment less than the never-ending fall – so she sets out through the ice forest to Winter’s castle, hoping to persuade Winter to return… but she loses her way, finding a runaway boy who convinces her that they can help each other regain what they want most, despite a wrenching discovery and Teresina’s self-doubt.

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

I would love for my book to be represented by an agency, and to that end, I am drafting my query and researching agents.

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

Short answer: About three months.

Long answer: About two years to fully conceive the story, from first page response to NaNoWriMo (only a partial draft) to a full draft. I finally sat myself down and committed to Forever Fall after receiving some great feedback to my pitch and the first chapters at last year’s NJ-SCBWI Summer Conference. Once I got cracking (and set other projects aside), it was only three months.

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

In no way do I presume that my talent and work equal theirs:

Cornelia Funke – The Thief Lord

Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book

Philip Pullman – the His Dark Materials trilogy

All of those stories create a wholly believable and wholly fantastical world in which the reader becomes immersed, wanting only to turn the page but yet never finish the story. Other authors who have influenced me are  Kate DiCamillo, Patricia Wrede, Madeline L’Engle, and of course, C.S. Lewis, among others.  Recent books I’ve read that I enjoyed are Forster’s City of a Thousand Dolls, Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, and Stead’s First Light.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See above. Adam Hunter-Peck‘s marvelous illustration was a writing prompt for Writing and Illustrating:

the_dark_glass_forest_by_adamhunterpeck

His image just resonated for me, and the words for my first page response flowed onto the page. Afterwards, I could not stop thinking about Teresina, her journey, and her world.

As a children’s librarian, I also see a real need for books for middle-grade readers whose reading skills outpace their emotional maturity. They can read young adult novels, but they’re often not interested nor ready for the themes and social/emotional content of those books. Yet a significant proportion of middle grade books don’t hold their interest, either. They need and love richer books, books that play with language, that use complex vocabulary and sentence structure, full of unusual ideas. So many popular middle-grade series and books are aimed at children who read at or just below grade level, not above. As grownups and authors, we’re guilty of underestimating our children’s intelligence and overestimating their appetite for violence, sex, and more adult relationships. I’m a card-carrying member of the “not all kid’s books are YA!” club.

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

I’ve been told I have an especially strong voice. I use mythology and legends from various cultures to inform my story. Beta readers have told me there is an undercurrent of environmental awareness they find intriguing.

I think the Next Big Thing is:

Stacey Wilk – Posted 3/11/13

Susan Banghart

Suzanne Cerreta

Romelle Broas Guittap

Lauri Meyers

Kavitha Punniyamurthi

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8 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing – Blog Hop

  1. I think I missed getting tagged on this post way back in march! I’m adding to my to do list now, but I will have to decide what story to post. Thanks Leslie!

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