The Next Big Thing Q&A

Posted & filed under Writing Life, Books.

I was tagged by Cindy Spencer Pape, author of the fantastic Gaslight Chronicles, and Vivien Jackson, author of epic fantasy quest erotica (you know you want to see what that is). Because I love questions like these, I’m answering for books in three different stages of progress–something most working authors have going at all times!

WIP=book I’m currently drafting
SUB=my  latest complete work that’s currently on submission
REL=my new release coming Feb. 11 from Carina Press

What is your working title of your book?

WIP: Tales of the Underlight 4, Untitled Rapunzel Manuscript (creative, eh?)

SUB: Angel of Air and Earth (subject to change should a publisher acquire it)

REL: How Beauty Saved the Beast (final title)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

WIP: This takes two secondary characters from the Beauty and the Beast books and brings them to the forefront. The hero is Brayden, Hauk’s best friend. The heroine will be introduced in How Beauty Saved the Beast. They are about as oil and water as you can get, which has been a ton of fun to write. Rapunzel might be my favorite fairy tale. The idea of breaking out of your “tower” and facing the world is such an exciting thing.

SUB: Though this book has come a wild and far distance from it, the initial inspiration came from Kim Harrison‘s awesome Trent Kalamack. I love the way he’s a bad guy… but he’s got a pretty solid reason for the evil he does. This got me thinking about perspective, and while I do believe there are common standards of good and evil (i.e. shooting strangers on the street because it sounded like fun–always evil) most of the time, perspective plays a major role in how we define moral actions. Angel of Air and Earth is set centuries after a vicious war between dragons and angels which the angels decisively won. It starts with a ballsy theft out of a vault in Heaven that could reignite the war. The book is told from the perspective of an angel who was who was hurt during the robbery and then takes it upon herself to follow the thief to Earth and retrieve the stolen items. As a battle of wits and wills ensues between her and the thief, she starts to question the righteousness of her quest, putting her own life at risk from not just magic-kin (dragons and fairies) but angels and demons as well.

REL: This is book 2 in the Beauty and the Beast trilogy, so the idea came from the first book! (I wrote more about the inspiration for the series here.)

What genre does your book fall under?

WIP: Paranormal or sci-fi romance. I almost want to call it magical realism–mostly it’s got a contemporary feel, but every now and then there’s something… else.

SUB: Urban fantasy with romantic elements. (Possibly New Adult.)


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

Ooh! I love doing this. Sorry for the links instead of photos. I’m leery of copyright infringement, but I linked each actor to a particular photo that inspired me.

 Brayden GideonCharles Michael Davis. He’s handsome, mixed race and appears to have a great sense of humor

Ashley— Amanda Seyfried. Big eyes, gorgeous hair, can do the innocent thing… and can do the not-so-innocent thing


Ariel (the angel)–Nora-Jane Noone, in her spiky black hair incarnation. She’s so cute!

Seth RuaSimon Woods. Love those eyes. He’s got a wonderfully malleable look–he can go from silly to sad to joking, and looks so natural in each one. Seth’s like that.

Wesley “Hauk” Haukon–I have a picture of Robert Hoffman that’s almost exactly the way he looks in my head (pre-fire). The characters see a video of him from before the fire and are surprised that despite his height and badass appearance, he didn’t have an imposing visage before the fire. In fact Tally, who can pretty much get away with murder as far as Hauk is concerned, calls him, “Baby-cheeks.”

Jolie Benoit–I purposefully never cast her in my head. I guess if I had to, I might pick Deborah Ann Woll (from True Blood). She doesn’t have Jolie’s green eyes, but I like how she can go from sweet to vixen-y.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

WIP: Uh…. A charismatic hacker and a Type-A lawyer *mumble mumble* romance, action, Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair!

SUB: When a magical artifact is stolen from Heaven’s vaults, a headstrong angel battles a wily dragon battle to retrieve it and stop the return of an ages old war .

REL: A burlesque dancer and a scarred soldier defend a colony of anarchists as friends and fellow agents, but when a new weapon threatens to rip them apart, sparks fly as the dancer must take the lead in a fight for the soldier’s life.

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

ALL BOOKS: Neither. I don’t have an agent, but REL is being published through Carina Press, and I will submit the other two to CP sans agent. I have a great relationship with my editor and currently don’t feel the need for an agent, but in the future if I decide to start pursuing print-first publishers I’ll try to get one then.

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

WIP: Still working on it… 🙂

SUB: Just over a year.

REL: Three-four months? It’s hard to say because I wrote the first few chapters, worked on something else for several months, then came back and finished it.

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

Oh, I can never come up with an intelligent answer to this question. My favorite writers are Joss Whedon, Kresley Cole, Kim Harrison and Patricia Briggs. I wouldn’t COMPARE myself to them, but I do owe them (and so many other fantastic authors) so much for what they have taught me about writing and how they have inspired me.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

WIP: I had so much fun writing Hauk and Jolie’s story, I decided to keep playing in the world of the Underlight. For this series I have been inspired by news articles, documentaries like Food, Inc. and the Occupy Movement.

SUB: As I said, the initial idea came from Trent Kalamack. But I realized halfway through writing that I was talking about a philosophical upheaval in my own life and fictionalizing it. The book is about the difficulty of challenging your own beliefs and prejudices.

REL: Beauty and the Beast was partially inspired by the beautification (or cuddle-ification) of Beast characters in Beauty and the Beast retellings. I wanted the looks part of the story to be a serious issue and I wanted to deal with the topic of negative transformation in a (mostly) real-world sort of way.  I got more than I bargained for; the more research I did into burn scarring, the more I realized if I was going to have any authenticity at all, this was going to be a slower story than I’d set out to write. Each book is longer than the one before and delves deeper into the challenge of healing. I had fun writing these, but wow were they hard. Book three left me emotionally drained on more than one occasion!

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

WIP: Brayden is my favorite kind of hero to read–the consummate playboy. I’m looking forward to taking classes in  both hacking and lock-picking to write his scenes!

SUB: This book has my favorite finale I’ve ever written, and the character who transforms the most from beginning to end. If you’d like to see a good but naive character get her shit together and succeed, this is your book.

REL: While I tried to do a good sum-up of previous books in each one, these books are meant to be read in order. If you liked How Beauty Met the Beast, then I hope you’ll like this one as well! If you haven’t read Met, you might want to do that first. It’s shorter and costs a buck less, so you can get a taste of what’s happening with less time and money invested and then decide if you want to stick with the characters!

2 Responses to “The Next Big Thing Q&A”

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