Meme: The Next Big Thing

I’ve been tagged by the wonderful Marianne de Pierres in The Next Big Thing meme. You can find Marianne’s responses here. And here are mine…

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Haze (Rephaim #2) – it’s official.

Weston_Haze-WINGS1

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is the second book in the Rephaim series. It follows on from Shadows (Rephaim #1), and answers some of the questions raised in that book. There are two distinct groups of half-angels in the series. We met some of the first group (at the Sanctuary) in Shadows, so in Haze, I wanted to show readers more about the others – the Outcasts – and the threats to both groups. And, of course, Haze also continues to unravel the mystery behind Gaby’s memory loss and her brother’s fate.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Interesting question. It’s generally referred to as paranormal romance/thriller, but readers have also suggested its more urban fantasy. The series sits in the YA section of book stores and libraries, but reaction to Shadows so far shows it has cross-over appeal with adult readers. I don’t really mind what tags readers give my books, as long as they enjoy them.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Always a tough question. Actors give off a different vibe/look depending on the role, so it’s hard to know. From a purely aesthetic perspective, I think Mila Kunis has a face similar to how I picture Gaby.

Mila2
The following are faces that kind of fit my image of these characters:
Maggie (Imogen Poots):
imogen-poots1

Daniel (apologies to guy the  below – I don’t know his name):

Daniel

I’ll be talking about who I picture playing Rafa next month over at Dark Readers. Stay tuned.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Gaby learns more about her past, searches for her brother, makes new enemies…and argues with Rafa (among other things they do together).

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m represented by Lyn Tranter at Australian Literary Management.
(All four books in the Rephaim series will be published in Australia and New Zealand by Text Publishing. Shadows and Haze will be published in the UK by Orion/Indigo and in the US and Canada by Tundra/Random House).

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Around 12 months.

8)  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Readers have compared Shadows to The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (a massive compliment), Angel Fall by Susan Ee (which I haven’t read yet) and Cassandra Clare’s popular Mortal Instruments series.

9) Who or what inspires you?
Short answer: I love great paranormal/fantasy stories.

Longer answer: Joss Whedon (creator of the Buffy, Angel and Firefly TV series) has a lot to do with my love for the paranormal, along with Eric Kripke (Supernatural). There are also a lot of fabulous writers doing interesting things in the YA paranormal/fantasy space: Laini Taylor, Melina Marchetta, Maggie Stiefvater, Richelle Mead, Claudia Gray, Carrie Jones, and Marianne de Pierres.

Honestly, I’m inspired by great storytelling in all forms and genres. And, of course, my muse is the Foo Fighters.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are more twists and turns, more action with half-angels and demons, and Gaby learns more about her past – including things about Jude. We meet more members of the Outcasts and they make a discovery that threatens all of the Rephaim. And, of course, Gaby and Rafa continue to navigate their complex and fiery relationship.

Thanks to Marianne for tagging me. My writing buddies are all at early stages with their latest projects and not quite ready to answer these sort of detailed questions (or have already been tagged). But I recommend you follow the thread from Marianne’s meme to find out what exciting projects are coming your way.

Late tagging: Vikki Wakefield (check out Vikki’s The Next Big Thing responses here.)

Quick update on the Rephaim series

Shadows (UK version - Indigo/Orion)Just a quick update on what’s going on with the Rephaim series.

After my flurry of writing activity on the first draft of Rephaim #3, I’m back editing Haze (Rephaim #2), which is due out in Australia, New Zealand and the UK in June (and in the US and Canada a little later – Shadows is out first, in September).

Speaking of the UK, it’s less than a month until Shadows hits the shelves there (3 January). Very exciting.  I’ve had some lovely early reviews of the UK edition from UK bloggers:  Dark-Readers and The Page Turner.

The publicity and marketing teams at Indigo/Orion have been busy spreading the word about Shadows and there are plans for some online activity later in January in the UK. I’ll post details once they’re finalised.

Thanks everyone for the kind responses so far to Shadows. It really has been an amazing year.

About those 50,000 words…(@NaNoWriMo)

You might remember I put my hand up to participate in National Novel Writing Month, where the goal was to write 50,000 words during November.

Generic-180x180I thought it would be a great opportunity to churn out a few words for Rephaim #3. I didn’t think 50,000 was realistic for me, so I set out to hopefully manage 25,000 – 30,000, which would’ve really kicked my working draft along.

So…how did I do?

I surprised myself. I didn’t hit 50,000 words but I managed to get down 42,800 or so. So now I have more than 60,000 words in my first draft, and I’m rapt. Book 3 has a lot going on – lots of reveals and plot twists, all to set up for the big finale of Book 4. So getting a rough draft on the page has been top of my list of priorities. Once I have that, I can then pull it apart, play with it and then polish up the writing. And now I’m 42,000 words closer.

Thanks to NaNoWriMo – and the support of my NaNo writing buddies Mia K Rose and Nomes – I’m much further progressed than I thought I’d be at this point. And I’m quietly happy with how the plot developments and story arcs are coming together. LOTS of tweaking to do, and more to write, but I just love having something to work with.

The great thing about having a month dedicated to writing – that you publicly commit to – is that you actually do it. You tell family and friends, you prioritise around it. And you have fun. I really enjoyed the process. Some days the words came easier than others, but I never forced it. At the end of the day, the target was nowhere near as important as getting it right. No point writing 50,000 words I’d just have to re-write because I rushed. But the story started to flow, and that’s a beautiful feeling. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pretty chuffed to have passed 40,000 words too).

Thanks particularly to Mia – and our 5,000 word weekend challenges. Mia hit her target – flew past it actually. It definitely helped having writing buddies to chat with about progress, frustrations, small victories.

So, if you’re a writer looking for an excuse to lose yourself in words for a whole month, I recommend NaNoWriMo next year. I’ll be back (working on Rephaim #4!).