"What does this mean?!" I hear you cry.
The idea of 'The Next Big Thing' blog hop is that I write a blog post answering the questions below and mentioning the person who tagged me, the brilliant Philp Bell. At the end of it I tag other writers I love in the chain and they take the baton.
So who's Philip Bell?
Philip Bell, from the Isle of Wight, tagged me this month in this blog hop. He's a dad of two, which puts him in a great position to works for an award winning, family run, indie publisher of kids' books, Beachy Books. Philip's into 'life and humour' and his writing certainly reflects this. Take a look at his 'Next Big Thing' blog too, while you're online and catching up on your blog reads!
I'm instructed by Philip (and the makers of the blog hop) to tell you all about my next book by answering these ten set questions. Here I go...
What is the working title of your next book?
I'm calling it 'Scrabble Pieces' at the moment. I considered 'Two Sisters' and just 'Two' (that one was scrapped pretty quick though), but as you can probably tell, titles aren't my strong point! No doubt the title of this book will change again before it's published, but I am feeling good about this title at the moment. The reason for the scrabble reference is that the two joint protagonists in my book have the same tattoo, the "R" Scrabble tile drawn on their wrists as a mark of sisterly bonding.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I remember exactly where I was when I had the initial idea for the book. I was ferry hopping between Greek islands - this one was Naxos to Santorini, I believe. My boyfriend (at the time) and I were nearing the end of a wonderful two week holiday full of beaches and sun, and inspiration just hit me. I spent the long and claustrophobic trip bouncing ideas off him and excitement grew for my next book. Those 90 minutes or so became one of my favourite holiday memories - even if it was spent on a rocking, smelling ferry.
What genre does your book fall under?
This book is a story of a personal quest of two sisters - twins, in fact. It's a story of family, grief and personal discovery and development.
The sisters, in their early 20's, have recently lost their parents in an accident, and they embark on two contrasting paths to deal with their unexpected and tragic loss. One of the girls, Rachel, stays home (UK) with her new boyfriend to look after the book shop they've inherited, welcoming the familiar and comforts of home. Her other half, Roni, takes a different attitude. She heads off on a round-the-world trip to escape the horror home reminds her of and deals with her grief in a very different way. The two stories dovetail in portraying grief, and the characters grow as their develops and subsides in two separate but entwined stories. I imagine 'Scrabble Pieces' would sit nicely in the 'contemporary fiction' genre.
Now you have me stumped. I struggle to remember celebrities' names at the best of times (with a few exceptions: Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, mmm!)... Perhaps Emma Watson could work as Roni, but Rachel would need some further thought.
But wait! They're twins! Emma Watson would have a double gig! Ummm.... I need a cup of tea! Whoever it was who played R & R, they'd have to be British - I cannot abide fake British accents.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
'Scrabble Pieces' follows the story of two sisters who take the opposite stance in dealing with a family bereavement - a story of grief, personal and world discovery, family, and abuse. (Ok, I cheated a little there, adding the hyphen!)
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The best of us know that writing a novel is an epic undertaking, and that's only the beginning. Actually publishing a novel is a whole other ball game. I actually love self-publishing for the control it gives the author - I get final say on the cover artwork, I'm in on all the fun being a marketing whore has to give, and I have no middle man. All the decisions (and profits!) lie with me which give publishing a whole other angle and a steep learning curve.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm not done yet, but I'm nearing 20,000 words. I'm probably going to be hitting the 30,000 word mark by the end of it, I imagine, making it a novella. I don't think my book has the legs for a 100,000 word masterpiece... I'd hate for it to turn into a 60,000 word waffle-novel just for the sake of creating a doorstop. The worst thing I could do is to ruin the work I've done by stre-t-ch-ing it out over another 200%. Cut the crap, make it interesting, and keep the reader wanting more - that's what I'm aiming for. Oh, and I'd like to achieve a more successful proof-read before I publish this time - lesson learned there from my debut novel, online dating rom com 'Girl Meets Boys'! It wasn't horrendous, but I know my style and skill has come on leaps and bounds since then. This is a very different (and truly fictional) story compared to my memoirs of internet dating, so I hope it works out!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm not entirely sure... Library Thing suggests many books in grief and family contemporary fiction - take a look and see what you think. There are some beautifully worded titles there, if nothing else!
I'd enjoyed reading 'Her Fearful Symmetry' by Audrey Niffenegger, and when I finished it I felt inspired to make Roni and Rachel twins instead of mere sisters. My short stories often have a twist and I wanted to transpose this to a bigger level in the form of a novel. I think it's working so far - only my future readers will be able to tell me that for certain.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
I shan't say too much here as it might spoil the read, but 'Scrabble Pieces' excites me. I have days when I don't think of much else, even if I'm not working on the manuscript. I'm trying hard to make the characters complex and intriguing, and the structure is something I hope will interest from the reader. There's action, mild horror, romance, and (hopefully) a couple of tear-jerking moments. I would love to be able to make my reader cry. A mark of a good book, I think!
Here are the authors I've tagged who promise to tell you about their Next Big Thing...
- The coach surfing, poetic and journalistic genius of Steve Clarkson
- Rebeccah Giltrow - Lowestoft's best!
- The King of Geekhood, Andy Robb
- Three times best-selling and self-published author Adam Croft
- The awesome and inspiring Sarah Grace Logan - A (HUGE!) Slice of Imagination
I look forward to hearing from you guys! Readers, take a look, these are some of my favourite writers on the TwitSphere, my personal life, and random blog findings.
Thank you again for tagging me, Philip!
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Photos courtesy of this fantastic interactive education website, Glogster and Amazon