Many of you have seen the Next Big Thing meme going around, in which we writers hold forth on our latest books (either works-in-progress or newly-released). Thanks to Jo Anderton, who tagged me, you can find out more about (one of) my newest project(s)!
1. What is the working title of your next book?
The working—and final—title of my novella is Mourning Cloak.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was on a family hike over Memorial Day weekend in 2011 when I saw dozens of gorgeous dark butterflies, with blue spots and cream edging along the wings. Being the kind of nerd I am, I pulled out my Audubon field guide to New England and identified the butterflies as mourning cloaks. My muse instantly pounced on the name and insisted that mourning cloaks would make great fantasy characters (and it was right!).
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Since there’s both magic and nanotechnology–but no steam-powered anything–I guess I’ll have to call it science fantasy.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I have no clue. Isn’t that the director’s job, anyway?
Actually, I think this world and story would work better as a video game than a movie. It has strange races like mourning cloaks, eerie men, and wind swifts; battle-suits and mecha; prayer magic and blood-formed wards; passion and faith and betrayal and clashing armies. Definitely video game material.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A failed hero deserted by his God and living in exile encounters a wounded demon who offers him a chance to regain what he lost.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published, and coming out in January 2013! (Not 2012, like I’d originally said. Thanks for the catch, Alina!)
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Um, I have no idea. I did it in bits and pieces over the course of a really busy year in which my husband got a new job, we sold our house in Vermont and moved to Virginia.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I beta-read Suited by Jo Anderton around the same time I wrote the first draft of Mourning Cloak, so I know similarities abound. (Battle suits, anyone?)
But really, I think this story is more like role playing games of the Final Fantasy bent than any novel I can think of at the top of my head. Amnesiac characters? Check. Strange races? Check. Fantastical magic swords alongside science-fictional bots? Check. Transformation? Check check check!
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
You mean besides the butterflies? *wry smile*
I wanted very much to write a story about faith. My failed hero has lost his. My altered assassin clings to hers. What they have faith in. How the faith helps–or doesn’t help–in the face of adversity.
I also wanted to write about older characters weighed down by their past. As I grow older, I’m less interested in the blank-slate, youthful protagonists and more intrigued by characters who have been worn by life, who have seen darkness both inside and outside their own souls.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
A man transformed from within to become a battle machine. A woman so altered that she can dissolve into mist and drip through the ground. A cold, mountain city of steel and electricity, warding bells and safe roads. A hot land of deserts and plains, of bronze arcana and prayer magic. Nano-tech and string theory in fantasy trappings.