The Next Big Thing

Pages from one of DaVinci’s notebooks, which is much better organized and more clearly written than my notebooks. Also, darn cool.

A.C. Wise tagged me in her Next Big Thing blog post and told me to talk about my WIP, then tag other authors and ask them to talk about their WIPs. I’m used to asking other writers questions about their work with Cooking the Books.  Let’s see what happens when I put myself in the hot seat.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?  

Bone Arrow, Glass Tooth

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? 

In October 2011, I was challenged to write a story at Viable Paradise workshop and given the following clues: a wind-up monkey, mega-cities, and the briefest mention ever of a Bach cantata. The story I wrote then, called “The City Goes Up,” occurs after the events in Bone Arrow. But writing that story opened up the world where Bone Arrow takes place. So, in January, when I finished my first novel, Moonmaker’s Debt, I started writing short stories set in the world of “The City Goes Up.”  I sent the first of those to my writing group and they all told me it wasn’t a short story at all, that it was a novel. Things happened. They were right. Bone Arrow is a novel, complete in itself, but it’s also the start of something bigger.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy, although it’s a very technical flavor of fantasy. Yesterday, I compared it to Hunger Games, as written by China Miéville. Tomorrow, I’ll attempt to describe it as the Codex Seraphinianus, performed by Cirque du Soliel.

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

Oh, I doubt they’d let me darken the door of a casting agency, I’m so bad at this. If you press me, Patrick Stewart as Rumul, because he has such a great profile, and Rumul does as well. Kirit — someone like Hailee Steinfeld or Keisha Castle-Hughes. Randomly, I want to cast Jason George, probably because I went to college with him, he’s a great guy, and he’s got an amazing smile. Always on my casting list: Nathan Fillian, Gina Torres, Summer Glau. And Jet Li. … Because of Reasons. … It’s complicated. Next question!

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book? 

On the eve of her wingtest, seventeen-year-old Kirit Densira saves herself from the invisible predator that plagues her home above the clouds, but now nothing can protect her from the secret society that rules her city.

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

I will be seeking agency representation for Bone Arrow, Glass Tooth. I am represented by Russell Galen and Rachel Kory of Scovil, Galen, Gosh Literary. (Updated May 19, 2013)

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

I wrote the first draft of Bone Arrow in six weeks. It poured out of me.  After taking a close look at the plot with my roommate and several friends at Taos Toolbox late one night, I ripped out the middle of the plot, and rewrote it. That took eight more weeks.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

China Mieville’s stories, and Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina. Though I mostly mention Seraphina because I like talking about Rachel’s book – if you haven’t read it, you totally should.  Amazing.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think the world of Bone Arrow – once I realized what it was like, inspired me.  I started spinning stories about what might be happening in a place like that. And music, especially Bach, Gillian Welch, and The Fabulous Killjoys. (don’t judge!) Also Leonardo DaVinci’s engineering designs, sailing, an old book of city maps, and (retroactively) the artwork of John Jude PalencarMichael Whelan (the Lumen series especially), and Georgia O’Keefe’s bone studies.

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

Hmm… there’s a lot of engineering in the background – but that might not pique anyone but my sister and her brethren. The secret society, the predators, and Kirit herself are the more likely answers. Kirit’s got a lot of odds stacked against her, and she’s very ingenious about how she tries to solve her problems.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

A.C. Wise tagged me. You should go check her out, and also follow her on Twitter.  I am tagging a number of people because they are inspiring, doing really interesting work, and also pretty darn fabulous.


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