Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Next Big Thing"

I was so pleased the other day when my friend J. Kathleen Cheney tagged me in the "Next Big Thing" meme. I met J. Kathleen a few years ago, when we were both winners of the Writers of the Future contest for science fiction and fantasy. The contest flew us out to California for a week of writing workshops and a gala awards ceremony, but the best part was getting to know the other winners. I can still remember J. Kathleen and I smiling at each other, bleary-eyed, as we finished the "write a short story in 24 hours" assignment. She's gone on to make a name for herself in scifi and fantasy and her work is truly worth checking out! If you would like to read her answers to the Next Big Thing interview, you can find them on her livejournal. And if you'd like to read mine, read on...

1) What is the working title of your next book? Right now I’m revising Crossfire.

2) Where did the idea for the book come from? Crossfire is the second book in my young adult paranormal romance series, The Darkride Chronicles. The idea for the first book, Darkride, came from stories that my partner Marcy and I made up about a vampire blood bar called the Nightlife, where the waitresses are the drinks. I combined that secret world with the stories of three teens: Ander, who used to be the favorite son of a great monster hunting family - until he was bitten by a werewolf; Luke, who is a vampire prince trying to regain his lost immortality; and Cicely, who is a smart, practical girl discovering that the paranormal world really exists.   The second book, Crossfire, continues their story were Darkride left off.

3) What genre does your book fall under? It is a young adult paranormal romance (with a lot of adventure and action thrown in!)

4) What actors would you have play your characters in the movie rendition? I would love Lily Collins to play Cicely. Avan Jogia would make a very handsome and brooding Luke. Alexander Ludwig, who plays Cato in the Hunger Games, would be my first choice to play Ander, and Antonia Thomas is my ideal Emmie.

5) Give a one sentence description of your book. “Cicely Watson recovers from her own death and tries to win the love of her life while escaping the powerful forces that are out to kill her all over again.”

6) Will the book be self published or represented by an agent? Crossfire will be self published. Indies are awesome.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? It took me about 6 months to write the first draft of Crossfire, and it is taking me about another six months to revise it.

8) What other books would you compare yours to within your genre? Well, most people compare it to Twilight, because both are love triangle that involves a werewolf and a vampire. I would say that people who love the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Daniel Waters’ Generation Dead books, ghost hunting books like Anna Dressed in Blood  by Kendare Blake or werewolf books like Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade series would probably be into Crossfire.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? Since it’s the second book in the series, I was inspired first of all by a responsibility to the characters. I really love these guys and I left them in a tough place at the end of Darkride, so Crossfire was very much about trying to get these characters to a better place. I’m also inspired by my readers, who are super encouraging and were eager to read more, and by the setting of the book, the coast of Maine, where I grew up. I also felt like I really wanted to explore some bigger themes: How do we recover from tragedy without losing ourselves completely? How can we really connect with each other, even if it means opening ourselves to the possibility of being hurt? Can we trust ourselves to not do wrong? You know, light stuff like that.

10) What else about your book might pique the readers interest? At the end of this book you will know who winds up with whom (and the answer might not be what you’d expect!) Plus, you get to learn more about the witches, meet a vampire pirate, find out what made Five so bat-shit nuts and hear how Emmie describes her “type” (hint: It has to do with chocolate.) Plus a lot of other stuff I can’t talk about without spoiling anything! I hope you’ll read Crossfire and see!

Now I would like to pass the baton to four women who truly are the “next big thing.” Actually, in my opinion, they’re pretty big things already.

Liz Reinhardt is the author of the brilliant Brenna Blixen novels, along with some other awesome YA and new adult titles, including the YA paranormal Inherit and her latest collaboration with Steph Campbell, A Toast to the Good Times. She is also one of my favorite people ever.

Angie Stanton is the author of wonderful YA contemporary romances like Rock and a Hard Place, Snapshot, and Dreamchaser. Her books appeal to my love of all things theatre geek! This holiday season I'll be enjoying her new Christmas novella, Snowed Over. I also love her because she's a Wisconsin girl. Midwest authors unite!

Lani Wendt Young is my living proof that people can live on opposite sides of the earth and still be close friends. She's also the author of the awesome Telesa series, which blends fiery paranormal romance with the mythology of the Pacific islands. She also shares my obsession with Diet Coke.

Rachel Gold is the author of Being Emily, an empowering YA novel about a transgender teen that's sparking much needed conversations all over the literary landscape. She's also a college friend of mine, so I've been fortunate to cross paths with her many times over the years!

I can't wait to hear about the works-in-progress of these excellent authors! Check out their sites. They'll be posting their answers soon!





  1. I too am waiting ANXIOUSLY for Crossfire! Thanks for the shoutout Laura. So honored to be included alongside mega rockstar authors whose books i am slightly obsessed with... Im in Samoa at the moment, getting LOTS of creative inspiration from my tropical retreat WITH lots of Diet Coke too.