Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The Next Big Thing is a blog hop, where a published author or unpublished writer is given the opportunity to answer ten questions about their current WIP. They then tag four more writers, who will post about their respective WIPs the following week and pass this invitation on to four more writers to keep The Next Big Thing going.

In November 2012 I was tagged by sci-fi suspense author Charlene L. Roberts for the blog hop, but at that point I was just finishing up NaNoWriMo. So I thought, I'll get to that in December.

In December, I was tagged by contemporary romantic suspense-with-a-humorous-twist writer Janet Corcoran. Hmm, I thought. Christmas. No one will be able to do this one right now. I'll wait on that.

January sped by as my day job made the diplomatic use of staffing challenges stretch to the breaking point. No extra energy left to do much blogging. All my energy was flowing into my work in progress, where blissfully my infatuation stage continues, sweeping me up into the story so that I can't wait to get back to it.

This month, Kate Robbins tagged me and I'm ready to introduce you all to my next big thing.       
1) What is the working title of your next book?
It has an actual title so I'm only going to refer to it as Scorpius Book 2. The title will be revealed once I start doing the promo for the book, late this spring/early summer.

As the working title suggests, it follows the further adventures of Scorpius, the falconer's apprentice turned lord's man from my dark fantasy Dragonsfyre series.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is going to sound rather sinister, but those who know me are familiar with the manner in which stories generally come to me: in vision-like bursts of emotional scenes deep in the heart of the main character's black moment.

Unfortunately for Scorpius, the scene that burst forth took place in a shadowy dungeon with screams ricocheting off the stone walls.

Because I was heading into series territory for the first time, this pantser had to map out the plot according to my favorite framework, Save the Cat Goes to the Movies. It was important to figure out what kind of story I was telling.

Strangely enough, once I broke down the story elements of BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE (Scorpius Book 1) I surprised myself by discovering I was writing a Whodunit. I don't even read or watch mysteries/thrillers/suspense. Not too often, anyway.

I do love BBC's Spooks/MI-5. And The Prisoner.

Once I began work on mapping out Book 2, it wasn't too long before I realized I was writing a Monster in the House story.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
The Dragonsfyre series is in the dark fantasy genre, long a favorite of mine. It's also a political intrigue series, with court intrigues of the Eighth Dominion providing the backdrop to Scorpius' journey.   
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There are a few new characters in Book 2, including this captain of the guard whom we first meet as a young cadet at a military school. To be truthful, this character made two brief appearances in Book 1, but he takes center stage in Book 2 alongside the woman whose fate is intimately entwined with his. The actor who would play the guard captain with secrets that must be kept hidden for the sake of the dominion is Daniil Strakhov, a Russian stage, television and film actor.

In a realm where magic was outlawed by a religious order generations ago, this noblewoman's powers as an adept would lead to her execution if they were ever revealed. Not even her powerful family would be able to save her. Not even when her powers might be the only way to save the dominion from the ravages of dragon's fire. This noble adept would be played by Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan 

The noble adept is cousin to Lord Thibault, second son of the Duke of Pruzhnino, and Scorpius' master and best friend. A radical choice of bride ignites his world in political upheaval, leading to grim consequences for his bodyguard when he is put to The Question. Will Thibault's loyalty to his wife's people be paid by Scorpius' screams? Lord Thibault would be played by English stage, television and film actor David Oakes. 

Once raised to be a noble though never claimed from the nursery, apprenticed out to a falconer and then trained to serve Thibault as his lord's man, Scorpius learns to stay beyond reach of blades and of corrupt noble schemes. His vow to serve his young master descends into a brutal ordeal when Thibault's enemies use any means possible to get what they want. To protect him, Thibault spirits Scorpius to his cousin's Keep, only to embroil Scorpius in a fight for which he has no defense--a fight for his heart, one in which the guard captain becomes a dangerous and unpredictable rival. Scorpius would be played by English stage, television and film actor Richard Armitage.    

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In the Eighth Dominion, the sacred powder known as dragonsfyre burns away lies, bringing terror to a stout heart when the fate of a kingdom comes down to one man, one secret, one pledge to serve even unto death.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm a self-published author who puts together a creative team including a professional editor, graphic designer and formatter when I bring my books to readers.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote it in several disconnected sections. I first began writing this adult character of Scorpius several years ago following a writers' retreat, spurred by exercises given by Renee Field and Lilly Cain. I set that aside to begin the boyhood back story for Scorpius, which then became serialized fiction featured weekly on my blog. When that in turn became BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE, I returned to the adult story line and ran with it during NaNoWriMo. I'm now revising Book 2.  
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It's a thrill to say I've been compared to George R R Martin by several reviewers. Mercedes Lackey fans would enjoy this series, as well as anyone who enjoys watching The Borgias
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
When I saw Richard Armitage's performance in North and South, I knew he would come to me as a character inspiration at some point. When it turned out to be Scorpius, I was ecstatic. I adore Scorpius.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Once the book is released, there will be a book trailer which I directed--produced by Charlie Mac Productions --to go along with it.

Here's a sneak peek of the Scorpius Book 2 costume which my costume mistress mom created:

Here's how the book trailer for Book 1 turned out:

And now:

A-tagging I will go, a-tagging I will go...

Come on down! You're tagged for The Next Big Thing on your blog, next Wed the 27th.


Janet said...

Great "Next Big Thing" post, Julia!! So glad you played along and I got to learn more about the behind-the-scenes life of your Dragonsfyre books.

And being compared to George R.R. Martin? Wow - I'm practicing my "I knew her when..."

Kate Robbins said...

WOW, Julia. Very epic series you have going on there and you've chosen some of my favourite actors!

Well done, lass. Well done.

Shawna said...

Awesome! Can't wait to read it!

Tara MacQueen said...

Ah, I remember the day when that photo was taken outside of the set where Caroline Ruyle was pushing us forward to finish the book trailers...Good days!

Great costumes!!

Loved this blog. :)

Deborah Hale said...

>>The title will be revealed once I start doing the promo for the book, late this spring/early summer.

Tease!! ;)

I didn't realize your mom had made that costume - what a wealth of artistic talent (in its many forms) is concentrated in your family!

Nikki McIntosh said...

To be compared to George R.R. Martin is pretty exciting ... Richard Armitage without his shirt on might slightly trump that though ... :)

Great post Julia ... and you've been a great blogger so remember to cut yourself some slack when things get hectic!!

Travis Cody said...

I always enjoy the insights you share about your creative process.

Shelley Munro said...

Ah, you can't go wrong with Richard Armitage :)

Joy Renee said...

That looks so fun bringing a story out of your head into 3D glory with costumes and all!

So I missed Wednesday :( does it have to be a Wednesday?

Had a lot on my plate this past week but it wasn't just that. I'm dithering over which of my 3 dozen WIP to focus on next or at least claim to be focusing on next for the purpose of this exercise. :)