Welcome to the latest stop on The Next Big Thing Blog Hop for Wednesday, January 23, 2013. This blog tour invites writers to answer ten questions about their current Work in Progress or an upcoming project. Each tagged author answers the questions and tags more writers to do the same. Cool, right?
The brilliant author who tagged me upside the head was Amanda Stevens. I’ve loved her evocative dark writing. She’s had a long successful writing career. Her latest adult offering is the Graveyard Queen series (which is currently being developed by NBC for a TV series). Booyah! I’m thrilled to see she is writing YA with her upcoming Soul Jumper series in February 2014. We are blog mates on ADR3NALIN3, a daily post group blog that features authors who write dark YA. Thanks, Amanda. You rock!
I’ve got another secret proposal being offered through my agent, Meredith Bernstein. A near future, YA Sci-fi techno-thriller that I am super-excited about and can’t wait to see who picks this up, but I can’t talk about it yet. Shhhh.
I'm also excited about my first self-published audio book that I did through ACX for my debut YA book - In the Arms of Stone Angels. Michelle Ann Dunphy is the award-winning voice actor who narrated the recording of my book. She did an amazing job. It's available on Amazon, Audible US & UK, and iTunes. HERE is a link to a blog post I did on self-publishing an audio book at The Kill Zone.
As part of the NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop, I will giveaway ONE digital download audio book of "In the Arms of Stone Angels." See contest entry rules below.
So here’s a sneak peek at what’s been haunting my mind and I CAN talk about:
1) What is the working title of your book(s)?
You’d think this would be easier to answer, but my editor asked for a title change to book #2 in my HUNTED series for Harlequin Teen. It seems that the title we’ve had in mind – Crystal Storm – is the name of a porn star. Query it and see what I mean, but I won’t provide a link. The last title I submitted was Crystal Fire. No strippers there. I checked.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is book #2 in a series. The first book is Indigo Awakening which was just released in January 2013. The major inspiration behind the Hunted series came from my research of Indigo children. Query “Indigo Child” on the Internet and you’ll get over 8 million hits. Real life and headlines often inspire my books and this time is no exception. Conspiracy theorists have linked the CIA, the UN, and the Pentagon to the phenomenon known as Indigo and Crystal children. For the purposes of fiction, I took liberties in my portrayal of this phenomenon, but Indigo kids are generally described as highly intelligent, gifted teen psychics with a bright "indigo" aura and a mission to save the world. They have high IQs, have been known to see angels and commune with the dead. Because they are frequently misunderstood, they are diagnosed by therapists and doctors as having attention deficit or behavioral disorders and are often medicated. I portray Crystal kids as the next evolution beyond Indigos. Mankind’s future, if they survive us.
Are Indigo children real or are they manipulated by adults to believe their sensitivities are special? Are they dysfunctional misfits or saviors who must be respected as the next evolution of mankind? You decide, but I find the notion of man’s evolution very intriguing.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Young adult/Sci-fi, paranormal thriller
4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version?
Landon Liboiron as Gabriel Stewart, Nikola Peltz as Rayne Darby, William Moseley as Lucas Darby, Emma Watson as Kendra Walker, and Tyler Posey as Rafael Santana. Here is the inspirational image I used for my heart throb character, Gabriel Stewart.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When 15-year old Lucas Darby becomes the prime target of a fanatical church that hunts psychic kids on the streets of LA, his sister Rayne finds her only alley is a mysterious runaway boy with unimaginable powers that could doom them all.
6) Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
My Hunted series has been sold to Harlequin Teen. My agent is Meredith Bernstein.
7) How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I edit as I go and don’t do the draft thing. When I am done with the first pass, I’m pretty much done, except for last minute tweaks to embellish the emotional parts. I set my daily word count goal and can write a novel in 4-6 weeks, which does not include the main research or any pre-planning outline. So I generally can come up with a concept, a general guideline with research, and write the book in 3-4 months, depending on how complicated the research is. I wrote my debut YA – In the Arms of Stone Angels – in a month after my initial research into the Native American culture.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There hasn’t been a fictional title done on Indigo children in a long while. There are plenty of novels on psychic kids in a dystopian world or where the teen deals with a gift that makes them different, but my series is a bit different since I combine thriller writing craft to elements of romance to create a fast-paced emotional story. A book that I will be reading shortly – Through Indigo's Eyes by authors Tara Taylor and Lorna Schultz Nicholson – has wonderful elements about Indigo children, since it’s based on Tara’s real life as an Indigo, but written in a fictional plot by Lorna.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was looking for a plot with a larger cast of characters and more boys of different cultural backgrounds. And since the most important question in a writer’s arsenal is “what if,” I asked myself - What if Indigo kids are the next evolution of mankind and their psychic abilities are evolving and escalating? Who would fear this and feel threatened?
I had to have a larger than life villain with a universal reach to terrorize these children. (Yeah, that’s how authors think.) The Church of Spiritual Freedom (specifically, a covert operation of overzealous “Believers”) use their faith as justification to persecute those they fear, believing God is on their side. They fear that Indigos and Crystal children threaten humanity’s existence with their“unnatural” superiority. That’s the basic conflict, a David versus Goliath storyline. That really appealed to me. I had to write that story.
10) What else about your book might pique a reader's interest?
I blended my research on Indigo kids with the topic of psychic abilities to create a different kind of world that wouldn’t be formulaic. I wanted the reader to “feel” these powers and how they erupt or evolve within each character. I didn’t want to simply describe traditional psychic capabilities. I wanted readers to understand how these kids feel as their power explodes or how their gifts morph into something far greater after they make contact with the “hive mind.”
I also provided a cultural context within the Indigos that would fuel more conflict. Indigos are warriors who are rebellious whereas Crystal children are more peace loving, yet ultimately more powerful in their abilities. I also built in consequences and a dark side to wielding such power—a duty and responsibility. The church is tampering with Science and man’s future too. That makes for an interesting conflict that keeps yielding story lines in the series. The next “Big Thing” authors on the hop are...
Ilsa J. Bick
P J Hoover
Next Wednesday, January 30th, these writers will post about their own Next Big Things. You will be blown away by the diversity and talent of these authors. You won’t want to miss next week’s HOP.
Thanks for dropping by!
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