Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Saturday Links

Normally, I use my Saturday posts to highlight interesting articles that I have read during the week. This week all of the items of interest have been authors talking about their WIP's. There's a meme going around called "The Next Big Thing" where you answer ten questions about your latest book and then tag several more people to answer questions about it. It's kind of like those e-mail chain letters that went around a lot when I was a teenager--only there's no threat that if you don't pass it along within three days then something terrible will happen to someone you love.

I was interested to find out that Sophie Perinot's next project is about Catherine de Medici's daughter Marguerite.
Both Marguerite and her mother Catherine de Medici are the stuff of legend—and legend hasn’t been very kind to either woman. I believe that this is largely the result of the political and dynastic struggles which consumed France during the Wars of Religion, generating slanderous publications about the Valois—including the notorious Divorce Satryique that painted Marguerite as a corrupt wanton and which eventually came to be accepted as historical truth—and assuring that they had many enemies. When the Valois dynasty ended (with Marguerite’s brothers/Catherine’s sons), there was no one to protect their legacy as history was being written. I was interested in giving readers a more fair and accurate view of Marguerite who was, in fact, not only one of the most beautiful women of the French Court but also one of the most intelligent.... (read more)
I was happy to hear more about Nancy Bilyeau's book The Chalice, the much-anticipated sequel to The Crown:
I very much wanted to write a sequel to "The Crown," but I was determined to raise the stakes. I wanted to try something darker and more epic, but also I wanted to make the second book more romantic.... Some of the real people who lived in the late 1530s pop up in The Chalice, including not one but two women who would marry Henry VIII. Joanna Stafford also comes face to face, at last, with...Thomas Cromwell. (read more)
I also enjoyed hearing about Debra Brown's inspiration for her WIP For the Skylark. I've been privileged to read part of an early draft of it, and interestingly enough, I enjoyed it even though the inspiration comes from Charles Dickens. (David Copperfield and Great Expectations were my nemeses during high school).
I was always so intrigued and in awe of Charles Dickens' character, Miss Havisham. I wanted to write a story about a reclusive woman like her. I had no idea what would happen in the story when I started, but within a page or so, her adult twins, Dante and Evangeline came into being. It turned out to be them I loved. They had been raised on an estate in isolation and have psychological consequences of that situation. The story took off.... (read more)
And then, as it turns out, I was tagged myself by the delightful Sandra Byrd, who shared more about her third novel dealing with Henry VIII's wives and their ladies-in-waiting.
When I set out to write the Ladies in Waiting Series, I already knew the three queens I liked best, and wanted to write about: Anne Boleyn, Kateryn Parr, and Elizabeth.  I just didn’t know from which Lady’s point of view I would tell Elizabeth’s story.  So when I stumbled upon Elin von Snakenborg, later Helena, Marchioness of Northampton, I knew I’d found my girl.... (read more)
So, now, after sharing all these lovely links, I get to answer the ten interview questions myself and let you decide whether my book is good enough to be "The Next Big Thing." Here I go....

1.) What is the title of your book?
Flower of the Desert

2.) Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is the second book in my First Crusade trilogy, The Chronicles of Tancred. The idea for the whole trilogy came from reading primary sources written by those who traveled on the First Crusade. I was originally planning to follow the Frankish members of the Crusade, but the character of Tancred--a young, impetuous marquis from southern Italy--jumped out at me and refused to be anything other than the hero of my tale.

3.) What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction.

4.) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
It's hard to think of someone tall enough to play my blond-haired, blue-eyed protagonist Tancred, but Ryan Gosling might fit the part in other ways. Ralph Fiennes could take the role of Count Raymond, the hero's nemesis in this book. And my two leading ladies? I think I'd have to stretch farther afield than the American actors that I know since one of them is Turkish and the other is Greek....

5.) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Tancred continues his crusading journey from Antioch to Jerusalem, overcoming Turkish strongholds and finding his own heart strongly overcome in this tale of love, loyalty, and lust for power.

6.) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by Madison Street Publishing.

7.) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? And read the intro.
I am a little over halfway done with the first draft...and it's been about a year so far. I'm hoping to finish it up in the next four months. Here's the first line: "The hole in the floor of the church grew deeper with each thrust of the soldiers’ spades." I hope that makes you wonder what they're digging up....

8.) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I've had a few readers compare my books to Sharon Kay Penman's, and the crusader history in this book is similar (though earlier) to the setting of her book Lionheart.

9.) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Tancred's passionate quest to retake Jerusalem for Christendom, coupled with the strange twist to his character following that conquest (I can't say anymore for fear of spoilers), inspired me to write a fictional account of his life to solve the enigma of his character. I wanted to know why Tancred did what he did. And since the historians don't tell us, I decided to write the reason.

10.) What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The love triangle in the book is based on a 16th century epic poem called Jerusalem Delivered. In the poem, there are two Turkish princesses, one interested in Tancred and the other the object of his affections. In Flower of the Desert, I've changed one of them into a Byzantine girl tagging along with the Crusaders, but I've incorporated several other plot points from the poem. Alexandra or Erminia? By the end of this book, Tancred will have found the answer to that question.

Well, the rules of this thing state that I'm supposed to tag five more people and pass it along. But, there's a slight problem--being tagged so late in the game, I've discovered that almost all the writers in the circles I frequent have already done their posts for The Next Big Thing. So, I'm going to break the rules and break the chain--which isn't too out of character since I never sent those chain letter e-mails through, even when I was a teenager.

Thanks for reading about my Next Big Thing, and do click on over to visit the links of some of my fellow HF authors. They're who I would have tagged if I hadn't been the last kid in gym class to get picked. :-)

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