Friday, October 05, 2012

I've been tagged: The Next Big Thing Challenge

Lisa Yarde has tagged me in the Next Big Thing Challenge! I'm a little hesitant, as I'm completely ridiculous and superstitious about talking about my WIPs, but here goes. I've got three on the go at the moment, but I think I'll go with the one that's most complete.

The rules are simple: Answer 10 questions about my current WIP (Work-In-Progress). Tag five writers and link their blogs so we can all hop over and read their answers.

What is the working title of your book?
Dido's Crown

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
The idea has been evolving, but it started with the relationship and interaction between the three main characters: Mary, Will, and Tom, in pre-WWI England. My brain presented me, practically fully written, with the image of two friends chatting together in a smoky pub about their frankly tragic love lives.

But it became clear fairly quickly that I needed to expand the scope of the story, and suddenly they were standing on a balcony in Tunisia 20 years later, looking out across the turquoise water, fanning themselves with their hats and preparing themselves for some rather nefarious business.

Why Tunisia? I keep a dream journal, scribbling them down in scratchy hand (nearly) every morning, and I particularly love the exhilarating flying dreams. I've had a couple of dreams about flying along the coast of Tunisia, and I knew it had to be incorporated somehow.

What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction

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

Eva Green would be a fabulous Mary. I think she could play the undercurrent of danger and recklessness very well, and she's got a unique look that's just about right.

Matt Smith would be perfect for Will. He's got fantastic range, and could play the quiet moments and angst beautifully with only a shift of his mouth or eyes. 

Benedict Cumberbatch would be wonderful as Tom. He's just a damn good actor, and I'd love to see him perform this more emotional, romantic role.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I've only recently finished the first draft, so this is probably premature, but what the heck.

Mary Wilson can't remember her childhood; but in her past lies the key to a mystery the Nazis are desperate to solve--and her friends are desperate to keep hidden.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Great question. Time will tell.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About 18 months. The time period and location was completely new to me, so there was a lot of research. I was also doing the final edits to Oleanna while writing this draft, and then launching and promoting that book, so my time (and brain) were a bit split.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It's hard to say, as the book is still in the midst of being formed. Provisionally, I would say it's a literary historical spy thriller. How's that for a mouthful?

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Honestly? I was at my day job, waiting in the tech center for my laptop to be repaired after a blue screen of death. I was sitting at one of the loaner computer stations, positively bored out of my mind, and literally out of thin air the conversation between Tom and Will in the pub appeared in my brain. So I opened my Gmail and started taking transcription.

It's a different kind of book than The Pilgrim Glass or Oleanna, in that there's more action and there's violence. But, at least at this point, the story has equal measures of adventure/espionage and angst--I can't seem to write a story that doesn't somehow investigate themes of death, grief, guilt, memory, and choice.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Tunisia, 1935. Mary Wilson has found herself in the middle of a dance floor, in the middle of a cover up, with the man she loves but knows she cannot have--and a gun she didn't know she knew how to use. 

I'm not going to tag anyone, but I will say I'd love to see posts from Maryanne O'Hara, Anna Scott Graham, Pat Bracewell, V.E. Ulett, and Gillian Bagwell!

Also, check out the answers to this meme by the brilliant Heather Domin!


  1. That is a kick-ass synopsis. You know I relate to the paranoia of sharing WIP info, but you did a great job! We can prop each other up. :D

  2. OMG I'm completely leaning on you on this one :D

  3. Wonderful!! And I love that title. Okay, I'll be pondering this over the weekend. :)))

    Go Giants!!

  4. Hi,

    Every one, it seems, has been stung by this challenge.

    Your WIP sounds Intriguing... That's the key to grabbing a reader: intrigue!

    Sharing WIP info is OK. Even if someone stole your idea the outcome would never be the same. That's not to say such underhanded behaviour would be less than despicable act. ;)


  5. Love the sound of Dido's Crown!

    1. Thanks!! Looking forward to getting back to it. Oy, day job. :(