Had a bit of a blog hiatus, due to being incredibly busy in the day job, but now I'm finally getting around to this thing. The "Next Big Thing" blog hop has been going around for quite a while now, and I was tagged in it nearly two months ago, so it's about time I answered some questions about my current novel.
What is the working title of your book?
The Gathering of Silver. It's been through a couple of different titles, but that's what I'm sticking with right now.
Where did the idea come from for your book?
A number of different places, really. I have a folder full of random photographs that I've nicked off the internet that I use as writing prompts, many of which have vague plot or premise ideas scribbled beneath them, and I had an idea about some sort of GM or alien plant that gave off a scent that produced a completely safe high. I hadn't thought about the idea in ages, but then I was sitting in a workshop listening to Gary Gibson speak and suddenly thought, "Yeah, I'll write that one next!" After that, I just kind of left the idea to simmer - I find that things only really come to me if I don't think about them directly. My subconscious needs a lot of time to play! I can't miss out the help I got from my bestie Hannah, however, who can always be relied upon for slightly twisted thoughts: I sent her a text along the lines of "Why would someone kidnap teenagers?" and within 30 seconds received the response "Body parts". See, every writer needs a Hannah.
What genre does your book fall under?
Science fiction, for young adults.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Rowena's little brother Alfie goes missing, she must contend with corrupt Wardens, mysterious symbols and gangs of maimed, amnesiac teens in order to find him and bring him home.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don't have an agent but I'll be submitting my work as soon as I've finished this round of edits. I intend to pursue traditional publishing and have no plans to self-publish, but never say never.
How long did it take for you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well, I wrote the majority of it in four weeks, but the ending dragged, so it was two months from start to finish. I take a few weeks to plot a novel, then bash the first draft out pretty quickly.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Urgh, that's a really tricky one. I find it hard to compare my writing to other novels. I have so many influences, classic sci-fi writers like Vonnegut and Wells and modern YA authors like Lauren DeStefano and Maureen Johnson. The story itself I have jokingly been calling Nancy Drew meets X-Men.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ooh, this is fun! Rowena would be someone like Ellen Page as a teenager. Anyone who knows me knows I'd love Benedict Cumberbatch to play Heath Wilson - a talented actor for a complex character. Other than that, I'm not really sure - I would just be thrilled if it ever happened!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I can't put my finger on one particular inspiration, but all of the writers and people in the publishing industry that I've met or interacted with over the last year have, in a way, contributed to its existence. I have begun to see the major flaws in my previous novels and knew what I had to improve in this one, so I really feel that I've taken my writing forward with this novel. I wanted to write a YA sci-fi novel that was exciting and had an element of mystery to it, without falling into the chasm of argh-not-another-dystopian-novel. One piece of advice I've been given (can't remember the source, sorry!) is to avoid making sci-fi novels too different from the world people know, so I built this up from a premise that people could identify with, the bond between siblings and the terror of a family member going missing.
Right, I think that's enough to be going on with! I haven't tagged anyone else in it, because most writers/bloggers I know have already done this, but if anyone I know wants to be tagged, please let me know!