Friday, October 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Week 16

My lovely friend Adrianne Russell tagged me in The Next Big Thing blog series. I regretted the decision the moment I agreed to participate. I thought first of all, I'm not the "next big thing", and sharing my story info with "real" writers would somehow cheapen their "real" status.

Then I removed my self doubt hat and took a second look at the questions. Okay, it doesn't look too bad. I could give it a shot... Warning: one-sentence synopses are EVIL.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?
Oh crap. Really? We're starting with a title question? Let me preface this by saying I LOATHE titles, so this has been referred to as "My 2010 NaNo" since, well, 2010. I'd like to think the title somehow reflects the idea of David Fitzgerald (my MC), the Guardian, Fragments, and Year 1. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I knew I wanted to write a book set in Ireland. For MG boys. Without magic. That incorporated multiple continents. And a puzzle or riddle. I also wanted to try and break the Curse of the Missing Parents you see so often in MG stories. That has been the hardest part so far, creating a story with an independent MC, but who also has a good relationship with his parents. Much easier said than done.

What genre does your book fall under?
Middle grade. Boom. Easiest question I've answered all day.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
My MC is 12 and I'm not familiar with any 12yo actors, so I really can't answer this. But I would LOVE to see Tim Curry as the gardener.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
12 year old David Fitzgerald is trying to survive boarding school in another country, but when he learns he is the next Guardian, responsible for collecting Fragments scattered across the globe, he realizes there is more at stake than school--like navigating overgrown mazes, fighting Mudruks, and saving his dad.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This is hypothetically speaking, right? Repped by an agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took about 4-5 months to really round out the first draft, but the ending was garbage. I was okay with it at the time because I knew I had to redo plot lines earlier in the story that would change the ending.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I really enjoyed Rick Riordan's PERCY JACKSON books. Not only were they set in "real time", but he also crafted a real relationship between Percy and his mom. THE 39 CLUES books did a great job of introducing a large cast of characters and weaving in riddles and puzzles.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Two things. One, my nephews. I wanted to write a fun adventure story for them. Whenever I get stuck or question if the reactions are real, I think about what they'd do. They are two total opposite personalities, so if one would cry in danger, the other would probably run toward it. I try to balance both of those.

Second, if you ever saw the 2nd Pirates of the Caribbean movie, at the end, you see Jack Sparrow looking at a circular map with opposite moving panels. I saw that and knew I needed to work something similar into my story. I'm not sure if it's going to stay (Kill your darlings and all that nonsense), but it lit the creative spark.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I've heard feedback from readers/friends that the idea of having to solve riddles and puzzles is great. I stumped my writing group, and they're a pretty savvy bunch of readers! Also, while the book stands alone, I have the outline for 2 other books. Since the plot deals with different continents and there are 7 to choose from, I have an abundance of source material to create stories with amazing, rich settings!

Paying it forward:
This is the part where my hard work pays off. I chose to tag two writers who have some serious writing chops AND who have super interesting stories. I'm nosey like that. I want to know their answers!

Sarah Ahiers at Falen Formulates Fiction
Sommer Leigh at Tell Great Stories

How about you? Have you been tagged in The Next Big Thing? Do you hate one-sentence synopses as much as me?


  1. Ambitious! Hope your nephews enjoy the book when it's done. And I suck at titles as well.

  2. You already know how much I love this story, but now it's even richer for me. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Always like to see a little more about David! I'll have to let you know if I come up with any fun titles for ya. ;)

  4. Tim Curry as the gardener? Now I want to read about this gardener. :)

  5. I totally can't wait to read your story!!! :-)

  6. WTF? I KNOW i commented on this a few days ago, and yet, where has my comment gone? Stoopd blogger.
    I can't believe you don't even have working titles. I would go cray cray

  7. Oh I know what you mean about that moving map in Pirates of the Caribbean! As a map lover that intrigued me to know end. But it never went beyond that. I have, however, played with the idea of a map as a character.

    I really like this story idea but I know I want to know what Fragments are! And agree with you, I'm tired of missing parents, too. My first two books had missing parents. My current book at one missing parent, and then I changed it so the dad came back to life :)


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