Next Big Thing? (Ulp!)

This meme has been floating around the Internets in the last few months, and my VP classmate Blair tagged me to play! Huzzah! Here’s her post, talking all about her release, Sword and Chant. Check out the post, the gal, and the book!

Now, on to the questions. (Um, eep?)

What is the working title of your book?

The Blood of Wolves. (I usually call it BLOOD here on the blog, or BoW, which makes me think of bow-wow, and dogs, which is giggle-inducing, so I stopped. Anyways.) If I am so lucky, the second and third novels are The Blood of Men and The Blood of Gods respectively, but they are a ways off.

Where did the idea come from?

The initial idea came from a noodling session for an anime RPG campaign too many years ago. I’d creating three cultural regions* and one was vaguely nordic, densely wooded, mountainous. I had this vibrant image of a woman racing through the dark forest alone, looking for shelter. She finds it — a stone chapel fitted with dark, stained glass windows — and gets inside just as the wolf slams against the barred door. Of course, it’s not just a wolf …

That’s all I had. Ages later, that one-liner got added to a list of story sparks I’d made to help me decide on my ‘don’t care’ NaNoWriMo project for 2009. I choose novel ideas by my gut, whatever churns the engine in the back, and I kept looking at that line even though it was a piss-poor starting point. Still, bit of brainstorming, bit of play, and I had the bare bones to begin. I ended up caring so much that when I realized the original draft was just too broken to revise, I decided to give the novel one more try. Scrapped the whole thing, kept the characters and setting, and started over. And the initial image? Didn’t make it into either version.

What genre does your book fall under?

Dark fantasy in an alternate world with strong Renaissance elements.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I don’t even have to think about this as this is part of my process. The primary actors I have in mind for my main characters are:

  • Malin Ackerman as Ilona, daughter of the Baron, child of the Renaissance (think of her with darker hair, like in the movie WATCHMEN), a budding but frustrated scholar.
  • Stephen Moyer as Marius, the unwilling heir to the last werewolf pack in hiding, who is captured by Ilona in wolf-form.
  • Jonathon Rhys Meyers as Bron, the second-born wolf who breaks pack law,  kills the Alpha and is gunning for his wayward brother — and then the humans that crippled their pack.
  • Timothy Olyphant as Arturas, the best hunter and tracker the North has ever known, and Ilona’s torch-carrying confidant and conscience.
  • Anthony Steward Head as the Baron, the favored surgeon and philosopher ostensibly ruling the northern Barony but is secretly tasked with capturing the wolves and deliver them, or their blood, to the King.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

In this gothic werewolf novel, Beauty captures the Beast and then must come together to stop their kin from destroying each other. (Yes, needs work. I know.)

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

I want to make a go of the traditional model. Agent, publisher, etc. If that fails, depending on the strength of the final result, I may or may not go self-published. We’ll see. I’d have to get a bunch of rejections that said something along the lines of, “I love it, but we can’t sell it,” or “We don’t have room for it in our line,” before I’d pull that trigger.

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

First draft took about a year for several wobbly reasons. Real life kicked me in the ass, hard, and then I decided to take part in Script Frenzy and worked on a different project altogether. I got to the end of that one, a werewolf horror flick (see a pattern here?) but getting back into BLOOD was difficult for me. Cost me months of time.

However, that draft, after a preliminary edit, was chucked. I am halfway through a complete rewrite and loving it, and hope to get it to Beta readers in the spring. This draft should be completed in 4 months, October through January.

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

Blarg. Hrm. The question I like least. Here goes: a dash of Jacqueline Carrey’s Kushiel series (less ornate in style and a bit more reserved in tone), a dash of Gail Carrigers’s Parasol Protectorate series (with the humor tilted towards the darker end of the spectrum), added to the mix of bleak northern wilderness, werewolves pushed the limits of their natural range, and a Barony on the cusp of collapse.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Honestly, when I get that image and I get those characters and their first struggles, it reaches critical mass in my brain and I can’t help but write it down. With this particular book, I realized during the original draft that what I loved most about the novel is that it touched on elements of authority and isolation, running the gamut from personal to political, cultural, religious and geographical, all set against a winter that will steal the breath from you and turn it to ice.

But who keeps me inspired to keep writing? My writing group and my VP classmates. I love you guys. You have no idea how much you encourage me, impress me, drive me. I want to make you all proud.

What else about this book might pique the reader’s interest?

The setting is moody, claustrophobic, cold. The characters are frustrated at every turn and have no choice but lie to loved ones while clutching each other tight. Dungeons converted to laboratories, winter coming on swift winds, and wolves howling at the gate. Both sides feel wronged so extermination feels justified and if they have their way it all ends in blood for everyone. The characters will have to fight tooth and nail, literally, for every inch of ground.

That’s the sort of book I like reading. Hopefully, others do, too. Have I pulled it off? I hope so, but ask me again in 6 months.

Who did you tag?

I’m a bad tag-bunny! I have not yet approached anyone, but will.

When I first saw the meme hitting the blogs I followed, I remember hoping to be tapped, wanting to contribute but then thinking who am I to say I have a Next Big Thing? Do I even know which of my projects is actually the Thing that will be my first Thing? ‘Cause I have this contemporary fantasy sitting over here about to go to Betas soon. *grin*

I don’t talk up my stuff. I talk about it, or I talk about writing in general, but I feel weird talking about my novels. Which, yeah, I know: get over that.

Workin’ on it.

* Which reminds me, I should dig up those notes, because the other two were intriguing settings. I wonder where I left those …

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