I’ve been tagged by the lovely Josh Lanyon (http://www.joshlanyon.com/) in the Next Big Thing blog hop. This is just a bit of fun for everyone – a chance for authors to share with you some thoughts, sidelights and hair-tearings about their current work-in-progress by answering ten questions. Each of us then has to tag some other authors in return, and they’ll be blogging about their Next Big Thing in a week’s time. Simple! You don’t have to do anything and there’s no prizes or giveaways attached to this one, so just sit back and enjoy.
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Brothers of the Wild North Sea
2 Where did the idea come from for the book?
A visit to our lonely, cloudswept ruined priory at Tynemouth, on a cliff overlooking the North Sea. There is the most poignant ghost story there. Nobody knows quite how, but a monk ended up killing his brother, and the monk’s remorseful ghost haunts the place still, which you can well believe while wandering around the gravestones. Now, that was a very basic springboard for the book. I’ve moved the action north to a fictionalised version of Lindisfarne Priory, and I’ve woven what I hope is a compelling backstory for how this particular monk comes to kill this particular brother – and how the love of an enemy redeems him.
3 What is the genre of the book?
Historical erotic romance. It’s the first time I’ve ventured away from a contemporary setting so I’m nervous, and very excited – and grateful to Samhain Publishing for taking a chance with a historical from an author who’s built her rep with contemporary stories. Writing historical presents a whole new set of challenges, and I’m loving them. It’s not such a stretch for me because I grew up among stories of lonely monasteries and windswept beaches, and the settings I’ve used are mostly still there to be seen, untouched and accessible. The real trick lies in catching the tone of dialogue and thought-process, of delivering as simply and strongly as possible the worldview of my protagonists – the words they’d use, their reactions – without overwhelming a modern reader with a constant sense of, “Oh, this is a historical; everything’s different.” Because I believe most quintessential things were the same – love, fear, the possibility of redemption – and I want the reader to have that immersive experience, where they just find themselves in the eighth century, rather than being dragged there!
4 Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh, tricky. I don’t really watch TV and a movie is a rare treat, so I don’t have much chance to recruit. But I did spot a young man who would do very nicely for Caius, my warrior monk – Henry Cavill. Very nice, eh?
And as for Fen, I’d really struggle. Picture to yourself a leanly muscled Viking pirate with long bronze-coloured hair and a wolf’s amber eyes. I’ll just have to leave you with that picture, I’m afraid – Fen’s a tricky one to cast.
5 What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I was afraid you’d ask. Well, Samhain will be asking soon enough, so I’d better have an answer. “Worlds collide when a warrior monk rescues a wounded Viking from the sea”? Hmm... Needs work, but conveys the general idea!
6 Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?
I think I might have given the game away on this one already – Samhain will be publishing Brothers.
7 How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Still working on it, increasingly frantically as each day goes by. It’s due on the 21st December, along with other apocalypses, and I started roughing it out as a storyboard back in May. That’s taken me longer than average, but I did start my FoxTales imprint over that time and publish All Roads Lead To You, In Search of Saints and Half Moon Chambers, so not too bad really. I aim for 1,000 usable, reasonably polished words per day. I fuss and fret over other stuff as much as anyone else, but I know down in my marrow that if I can get that 1K turned in, I’m kind of meeting the terms of my contract with Life! :-D
8 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The truth is, I simply don’t dare look. The temptation to compare, would be paralysing for me, and in fact my leisure reading takes me to Dickens, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Mrs Gaskell, Jane Austen, Thackeray. They’re my great, great loves. I can’t explain how they feed my brain and allow me to write what I do (they’d probably spin in their graves), but I couldn’t survive without them. Just having my lovely old worn-out editions close enough to touch makes me feel better.
9 Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My native northeast England, pure and simple. This is my tribute to its history and its wild, bleak beauty.
10 What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, if hot monks and Vikings haven’t piqued you, I surrender! And I do reveal what Caius wears beneath his cassock...
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Now I shall tag my talented friends Sloan Parker, K.a. Mitchell, Robin Covington and Ava March. These are some seriously great writers. If you haven’t checked out their work, it comes highly recommended! Here are the links to their sites, and I hope you enjoyed today’s little journey around the backstage area of Brothers of the Wild North Sea!