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The Next Big Thing

Thanks to Chrissa Jean Chapell for inviting me to join in The Next Big Thing blog craze!

The idea behind The Next Big Thing is to have writers write about their Next Big Thing and then tag other writers. Unfortunately, I have two problems. First, all the published writers I know have either already been a part of this, or are not writing books for kids. Second, I signed on to this back in February, when my Next Big Thing was Dragon Run.

So here’s what I’m going to do. First, I’m going to answer the questions for Dragon Run, and promise to post another Next Big Thing when I have another book that I can talk about. Hopefully, this will become a trail of my Next Big Things, with each one tagging the previous one. Second, I’m putting the word out. If you’re a writer who writes for kids, post a comment! I’ll be happy to tag you.

Now that all that is out of the way, here are The Next Big Thing questions answered for Dragon Run:

What is the working title of your next book?

It was originally named Powerless, but that title was already taken. It ended up being named Dragon Run because it takes place in a world run by dragons.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Dragon Run is the joining of three different questions. First, what would a world be like if it were run by dragons? Second, how would people react to being ranked and having a visible rank mark? Finally, how do people react to having (or not having) power – what would they do to get it and what would they do to keep it?  Okay, that last question was actually three.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a fast-paced middle-grade fantasy adventure.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I think that the main character, Al, would have to be either a new actor or an unknown actor. He couldn’t be a celebrity. That would go against his whole personality. Trillia and/or Wisp could be stars, but I’m afraid I don’t know any child actors. Some of the adults characters would be great for stars looking for smaller parts. I’d love to see Sean Bean as Mr. Evanson, for example. I’m not sure about Magister Lundi… It would have to be someone who could pull off being an intimidating bald guy. Kevin Costner would make a fantastic Martin, but I couldn’t imagine him signing on for such a bit part.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

I’m terrible at that. How about this? “Dragon Run is the story of a twelve-year-old boy who is shunned by society and on the run from ruthless assassins.” Weirdly, that doesn’t mention the dragons or the secret societies or the sword fights or any of that. It’s about as close as I can come, though.

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

All my books will be represented by Caryn Wiseman for the foreseeable future.

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

Once I started working on this version, it took me three months.

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

Hrm. I don’t know of any. I’ve had people tell me that  Percy Jackson fans will love it, but aside from being action-packed, there aren’t any parallels there. Other folks have said “it’s a dragon book,” but it’s really not. “Dragon books” tend to focus on the dragons, and this doesn’t.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My initial inspiration was the idea of a world run by dragons. I wanted the dragons to be so much more powerful than humans that it wasn’t even a contest. Humans rebelling would be like chickens in a coup trying to overthrow humanity.

With that as a starting point, I tried to write the book from the point of view of Lord Archovar (a dragon). I only got about 60 pages in before I realized it wasn’t working and I gave up. I came back a year later, and tried writing it from Magister Lundi’s point of view. He’s the most powerful magic-user. Once again, I got about 60 pages in and then gave up.

About a year later, I realized that I had been missing the story. Dragon Run isn’t the story of the Great and Powerful. It’s the story of the regular guy, the guy with no magic and no powers. Once I realized that, I was ready to rock.

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

Every swordfight in the book was actually acted out. I’ve always been fascinated by fencing. When I write swordfights (and there are more than a few in this book), I write them out first, then act them out, then revise.

That’s it!

Thanks again, Chrissa, for inviting me!

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Posted March 24, 2013 in Writing