Last week my lovely friend Caroline Richmond tagged me in a post entitled The Next Big Thing, which consisted of a WiP-focused questionnaire she first saw over at Miss Snark’s First Victim. I had so much fun reading about Caroline’s WiP, I thought it’d be fun to play along using my own work-in-progress.
So, without further ado…
What is the working title of your book?
Cross My Heart
Where did the idea come from?
The characters, really. Love-interest Max came first, then protagonist Jillian, and then (eventually) the story built itself up around them. Over the years, lots of angsty, tear-jerker-type country songs have aided in its conceptualization.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary YA. More specifically, it’s a romantic drama.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m a self-professed old person, therefor I know nothing about teen actors. I have no idea who the people pictured below are (movie stars? models? randoms?) but they’re just how I see Max and Jillian in my head. Cute boy with spikes and an angular jaw. Girl-next-door-pretty teen with dark hair. Perfect.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Aw, man… I suck at one-sentences synopses! How about a tiny snippet from my full pitch? It paints a fairly decent picture of what the story is about:
After a rash but steamy mistletoe kiss, Jillian begins to realize that her growing affection for hot-but-hurting Max extends well beyond friendship. But their clandestine kiss must remain clandestine, because according to Jill’s ever-elusive father and Max’s fracturing sister — Jill’s best friend– Max is utterly off limits.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote the first (poor) draft in a month, June of 2010. That’s right — over two years ago. I queried it unsuccessfully, then sat on it for about 18 months. Then, this summer, I rewrote the whole story using the two main characters (totally re-imagined) and small bits of that original first draft. I ended up with a product I’m proud of and confident in.
May we see an intro?
Here are the first few lines:
The pounding at my window comes late, and it scares me shitless.
The last of the trick-or-treaters have called it a night. My father and stepmother have long since stowed the leftover fun-sized Snickers bars and diligently checked the locks; they’ve been asleep for hours. The house is quiet and inky dark, too big for our family of three. It feels particularly hollow tonight, which might explain why I’ve been tossing and turning, chasing sleep for hours.
What other books would you compare this story to?
Jennifer Echol’s upper YA contemporaries are comparable to the tone and romanticism of Cross My Heart, and it’s similar to Sarah Dessen’s novels in its focus on family and friendships and the way relationships change with the coming of age. A recent comp might be Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Many a Taylor Swift song, I’m pleased to say. Also, the music of Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, and various Classic Country musicians. My earliest, cherished critique partners, who never hesitate to compliment my voice, and my more recently found critique partners, who are brilliant and lovely and generous. Also, my husband, who’s so very supportive and shares some of his best attributes with Cross My Heart‘s Max.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Um… kissing. Lots and lots of kissing. And romantic tension. There’s lots of that, too. Also, baking (Jillian’s an aspiring pastry chef), Western Washington, holidays, football, secrets, lies, and betrayal. And I’ve heard that Jillian can be humorous — sort of sarcastic and dry — so that’s fun.
So, now I get to tag a few friends in the hope that they’ll tell us all about their Next Big Thing…
And you too! If you decide to post about your Next Big Thing, please do link me in the comments of this post so I can stop by and check it out!