Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Next Big Thing

This has been going around the writing world for a while. A fellow writer tags you to blog the answers to a series of ten  standard questions about your current work and you, in turn, tag others. I've been very remiss in getting to my post - Laura E. Goodin tagged me some time ago - but real life got very much in my way and I'm just starting to lift my head after dealing with everything connected to a family member with a terminal illness and their subsequent death.

But, following the "better late than never" principle, here are my answers:

What is the working title of your book?

Xanita's Children

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I was doing a writing marathon at my writers' group. I can't even remember the trigger now but I found myself writing a description of a horned creature walking across a forest clearing towards a girl of about thirteen and kneeling front of her while her terrified older sister looked on unable to intervene. I had no idea where it was going but every trigger in the session added to the story. By the end of the day I had an almost complete short story which eventually became a chapter in the novel.

What genre does your book fall under?

It's speculative fiction, specifically fantasy, but there's no magic or mediaeval trappings and I did try not have anything that violates the laws of science when using natural laws. A belief in telepathy is desirable, however.

Which actors would you choose to play your character in a movie rendition?

Not being much of a movie goer I have no idea for most of them except I think Denzel Washington would be ideal to play Zareth. I do have a very clear image of the two sisters in my mind. Although the inhabitants of the world are ethnically very mixed, these girls are unusually fair-skinned with very pale silvery blonde hair and pale blue eyes but I don't know who in the current crop of talented young actors would fit that description.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Even on a planet subject to world wide natural disasters that decimate generation after generation, escaping from slavery should change everything but when two sisters find shelter with the leader of a telepathic herd the past still haunts them and each has some difficult lessons to learn before they overcome its legacy and can be truly free.

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

Tricky question! I'd love to be represented by an agent and published traditionally but with the publishing industry in its present state of flux I would not rule out anything.

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

Hmm, that's a hard one because originally (eight to ten years ago) I wrote a series of short stories about this world and the same characters having no thought of them being the part of something else. I eventually realised they were all part of a bigger story and they were incorporated in slightly different form into what is now the novel over about two years.

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

That's hard too but I suppose Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series or Robin Hobb's Rainwild novels because they also involve relationships with a non-human "other" and look at the difficulties inherent in such a situation.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The ethnic cleansing in Rwanda and the murderous rule of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where much of a generation was wiped out, and the effects this has on a society, were very much in my mind when I started writing this story. Some of my family had visited Cambodia not long after the fall of the Khmer Rouge and noticed how few children there were from the time of their rule. Then Calli, Terris and Corion arrived in the writing session and I realised their story was about the other effects that might flow from such a disaster as well.

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

I've had great fun in creating my world - and it seems to be one others enjoy too to judge from the  response of my beta readers. I love playing with ideas and I'm a sucker for the lure of "what if". It draws me in and the next thing I know my characters have yet another calamity to work their way through. Let's face it, though, what else can you expect on a world that is as deadly as it is beautiful.

Although Xanita's Children can stand alone it's also part one of a planned trilogy, Xanita's Tears. Currently I'm working on Swordmaidens (working title only), the sequel to Xanita's Children.

This where I should tag some other writers but I'm short on link information at the moment so they will have to come later.

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