Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Next Big Thing...Blog Hopping With H.L. Stephens

Hello friends! Today is a bit of an experiment for me so bear with me as I muddle my way through it. I was graciously invited to be part of THE NEXT BIG THING blog hop by Vicki Taylor, a fellow novelist and all around generous soul, who coordinated all of this so the rest of us could share our newest projects with the rest of you. Here is how Vicki describes the purpose of the blog hop: 

“THE NEXT BIG THING” is designed to raise awareness of our work, or work in progress. We do that by answering ten questions about it. We graciously thank the person who nominated us, and tag four to six other authors whose work could very well be THE NEXT BIG THING.

So having made the introductions, here we go:
 
What is the working title of your next book?
The Chronicles of Mister Marmee ~ The Case of the Wayward Fae
Book 2 in the Chronicles of Mister Marmee Series

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea of the Wayward Fae popped into my head one day when I was showering. (For some reason, I get a LOT of ideas when I shower. Some people sing in the shower; I apparently write. Go figure.) There is a story from my mother’s childhood I have always loved. She was a precocious little girl and extremely bright which is reflected in the events of this particular story. I had been reading quite a bit about fairy lore; more specifically about the historic references to ‘encounters’ with fairies and the like. I started thinking about the story of my mother and about the things I had read involving these encounters. I suddenly had this idea begin to weave itself in my mind, and within a short period of time, the Case of the Wayward Fae took shape. It was rough but that is how it came to be.

What genre does your book fall under?
The Chronicles of Mister Marmee series falls into the crime/mystery genre but with an unconventional twist. It is set in Victorian Era London and in some ways has a Holmesian vibe, but toss out what you know or think you know about this writing style. I like to break the rules a bit.
As far as age group, I don't write with a specific age group in mind. I view my audience as ageless, if that makes sense. I would hate to tell a child in middle school they couldn't handle Pride and Prejudice or an adult they aren't allowed to enjoy Harry Potter. I think each person can decide for themselves whether my novel is something they would enjoy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Although I had not contemplated it before this blog hop, I will take a stab at casting the lead characters ~

Mister Marmee: (voice) Sir Derek Jacobi
Sir Happy Heart: (voice) Orlando Bloom
Lady Jasmine: (voice) Kate Blanchett
Doctor Stephen Hanover: Colin Firth
Charles Hurst: Jude Law
Amelia Hurst: Mia Wasikowska
Inspector Hyrum Farley: Chris Hemsworth
 
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Upon retreating to the country for a much needed holiday, Mister Marmee and Sir Happy Heart’s investigative skills are pushed to the absolute limits when a series of fanciful fairy encounters are complicated by two suspicious accidental deaths, two attempted murders, an arson, and the disappearance of a young girl who no one knows is missing.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The search is currently underway for appropriate representation for this work.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Mister Marmee has been an old friend of my imagination for many years now. My first novel in this series, ‘The Case of Jack the Nipper’, was an act of love which took the better part of six years to complete from start to finish (including editing and release). I was going to school full time and working so I crammed in what I could when I could. The second novel is much the same. I will note it is still a work in progress, but I got the idea for the second book two years ago while I was still neck deep in the first one. I guess if you pushed together all of the hours I have written on the second book over the last two years and viewed it as if I were writing it on a full time basis, it has taken me a few months to get where I am in the manuscript.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I honestly don’t know of any books that are like mine, although I have been told there are mystery books with cats in them. From what I understand, mine is a unique concept, but The Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein is a book that has the similarity of being told from an animal's perspective.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
If a picture says a thousand words, then, here are four pictures that speak to the amazing little boy who is my Sir Happy Heart. Fifteen years ago this February, we brought this amazing little boy home, and he has taught me so much about the spirit, ingenuity, loyalty, and love these little creatures have. My Sir Happy (or Happydog as we call him) has gotten me through some of the best and worst times in my life. He has been a faithful friend and as true to me as any person I have ever known. There is no greater inspiration I could have for the Sir Happy Heart in my story. Mister Marmee in truth was the perfect compliment to my little boy. I never planned on writing a novel really but I wanted something that would be a lasting testament to the amazing individual Happydog has always been. I wanted to honor him for his love and friendship, and so I started to write the story of a dashing young dachshund who could solve any puzzle and sniff out any clue; a perfect reflection of my little boy.

 
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The Case of the Wayward Fae is more fast paced and action packed than The Case of Jack the Nipper was in many respects. The main characters are well established, and so I was able to do more with them, pushing them to greater depths in this novel than I could in the first novel. There are moments which will leave you reeling from unanticipated twists and turns, yet I promise you, every time, you will find yourself coming back to discover what happens next. This manuscript has been thrilling to write, and I believe it will be equally thrilling to read.....or so says my muse Happydog.
* * *

Here are the fabulous authors I’ve chosen to tell you about their Next Big Thing!