Okay, so fellow author Emma Pass (whose first YA novel ACID is published next year) has tagged me on something called The Next Big Thing. I’m supposed to tell you about the book I’m working on and then tag five other people and they’re supposed to do the same thing. Well, y’know, these things can be hard. It’s kind of a chain thing without the ‘you will die horribly if you don’t pass this on’ aspect. Which is good, because I don’t know who I can tag and I don’t want anything untoward to happen to me. I’ll just have to hope that the other ‘tagees’ pass it on instead. Oh, and when have I ever been one to follow the rules and do what I’m supposed to?
Also, telling you about the book I’m working on isn’t the easiest thing in the world. You see, I’m working on more than one book. There’s the adult novel which has just gone to Orion, there’s the children’s one which has just gone to Chicken House, there’s the other children’s one I’m about to send to my agent, there’s the children’s one I’m about to start writing, and there’s the adult one that . . . well, you get the picture.
Let it not be said I’m not working hard.
So, I thought I’d tell you a bit about the children’s book that’s due out in the summer. How about that? That sound OK?
Right then. Here we go.
1) What is the working title of your book?
The Souvenir. It won’t be called that when it’s published next year ,though. It’s too abstract, I think. Watch this space for a confirmed, final, written-in-stone title.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
That’s always such a hard question to answer. Where do ideas come from? A wisp of something here, a snippet of something there, the remnant of a dream, an overheard snatch of conversation, an incantation over a cauldron in the black of night, a pact with the devil . . . well, maybe not all of those things.
3)What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a novel for children and, wonderfully, children’s books are not jammed into genres the way books for adults are. This particular story is set in the north east of England in the summer of 1941 and I’d say it’s for readers over the age of 10, but 12 is probably the ideal age.
4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
That’s difficult to say because the book is about two children so the actors would have to be age appropriate – and I don’t know anyone who fits that description!
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Stumbling across a wounded German airman, two English children seek to protect him from the soldiers who are hunting him – but how will they keep him safe when others in the village are becoming suspicious? And can they really trust the enemy?
That’s one sentence. Kind of.
6)Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m represented by London Independent Books and the novel will be published in July 2013 by Chicken House Publishing. So far I’ve only published books for adults and this is an exciting step for me.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About two weeks which is . . . well, it’s fast. Blistering. The story had been mooching about in my head for a long time, though, so it was already well developed. Also, I’d be lying if I said that the first draft was any good. It needed a lot of work to knock it into shape. When I write for children the books are a little shorter but I treat the process exactly as I do when I write for adults. I have two children and I have learned from experience that it’s very important not to underestimate or patronize younger readers.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Due to the WW2 setting, I suppose the obvious comparisons would be to books like Carrie’s War, Goodnight Mr Tom and The Machine Gunners, but the feel of the story and the way I tell it is much more modern.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’m fascinated by the history of the period and the strength of the people who endured the hardships. It must have been both exciting and terrifying for children to have lived with the constant threat of bombing and the fear that their fathers and brothers and cousins and uncles would never come home. My own grandfather was a captain in the British Army during the war, my grandmother’s sister was an Anti Aircraft gunner in the ATS and my great-grandfather was the Secretary of State for War in 1945, so there’s a bit of family history there too . . .
10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, first and foremost it’s a cracking adventure, full of excitement and danger. But it’s also a book about friendship, loyalty, understanding and courage.
And this is where I feel guilty for not tagging someone else.