The Next Big Thing

Jane Lovering has tagged me. I’m not sure why. Perhaps she wants to study my migratory patterns, or to know if there’s lots of me or just the one that keeps popping up all over the place. Anyways, this tag thing means that I have to answer some questions about my next book. Are you sitting comfortably? Got a cup of tea and some cake? Good. Here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

Having a Ball. (At one point I called it Load of Balls, but I came to my senses by the time I reached the end).

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Stevie is a secondary character in Patently in Love. I loved her so much I wanted to see what happened to her after her brother got married. Having a Ball is Stevie’s story.

I also had a setting I wanted to write about. Many years ago, as a student, I lived in a student hostel in North Oxford known locally as ‘The Nunnery’. My housemates were a bunch of other students and four nuns. I had Stevie organise an event there. I had to leave out the nuns and the housemates, but the house performed brilliantly. Well done house.

Tom (the hero) was my attempt to write an alpha male (Didn’t work. I can’t write alpha males. They take themselves too seriously. I like my heroes to have a sense of humour. Tom ended up being just Tom).

What genre does your book fall under?

Romantic Comedy. Definitely.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Tricky one. Stevie struggles to get people to take her seriously because she looks like she’s in her teens, so the actress would have to look really young. Maybe Dakota Blue Richards or Emma Watson. I think Rufus Sewell would make a good Tom. Ooh, or Joseph Fiennes.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Can Stevie prove she’s a mature adult by throwing a massive party?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Having a Ball will be published by Uncial Press in March 2013. The cover looks like this:

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About nine months. Coincidentally, I was on maternity leave for a lot of that time (luckily, the baby was late, so I had time to finish the draft).

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s about the same level of seriousness and humour as Sophie Kinsella’s novels. Meg Cabot’s Boy Meets Girl and The Boy Next Door both have a lot of emails and secondary characters that butt in and try to run the show. I love both those authors, so I’d love to be compared to them.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I’m not sure there’s any one thing that inspired me. It’s a combination of a whole load of little bits of inspiration – a character, a setting, a joke that did the rounds on email, a charity I support, eBay (it’s research, honestly!). When a book is cooking in my mind, I find all kinds of weird things spark off ideas. I guess the mind is more open to suggestions when I’m trying to work out a plot/lying awake at night thinking ‘oshitoshitoshit I have no story’.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are some formidable elderly ladies, a fat guy Dad-dancing, lots of ice cream and some Sri Lankan food. And a glitter ball. You can’t have too many glitter balls. Or Sri Lankan food for that matter. Yum.

So, that’s my questions answered. I now have to tag some other victims writers.

I’m passing on the tag to the fantasy author Sabine Reed, who is a fellow Uncial Press author in the US and to not one, but TWO of the Romaniacs – Liz Crump and Catherine Miller. They’ll be posting their responses to the Next Big Thing questions in about a week or so.

Over to you, ladies.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to cover up this tag and go walk past Jane’s window wearing different hats, just to mess with her mind.

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