My lovely, amazing friend Emma Trevayne tagged me in her blog post today. Here it is: http://emmatrevayne.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-next-big-thing-project/. Basically authors answer 10 questions and then tag other authors to share their ‘Next Big Thing.’ Not only have I known Emma for many years, but I’ve been with her on her journey to publication. Her first book, CODA, is coming up in May ( I may have read it in the early days and I’m not lying when I say it was in my top 5 favorite books of last year), along with the sequel and an additional middle grade novel in the future. I’m so tickled proud of this girl and am continually grateful for her as she helps me along my own journey. (As you can see by my previous enteries the querying process (and writing itself!) is a rollercoaster of emotions. Emma will often get ‘OMG WHAT? HOW? PLEASE HELP ME!!!’ messages and every single time she gently guides me back to non-hystericalness. I know that isn’t a word, but sometimes a non-word is the best way to convey the severity of a situation. That was a joke. Okay. Moving on.)
So, Emma mentioned that I’m currently writing a MG novel. This is true. However, I’m still in the drafting stages and a full post on it feels a bit premature. I will tell you this though—A set a twins. One is autistic and the other is not. That is not the only way they are different. A path of confusion, lies and redemption leads these two to an unfamiliar place. Vague enough for you? Good.
I posted something similar a few months about the manuscript I’m currently querying, but this is refreshed. Now onto it………
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wanted to write a book from the point of view of a family member dealing with their loved one with a mental illness. I felt that if I could approach the story in a way that was honest, but had a twinge of humor, it would be relatable to readers. Also, I think many teenage girls can identify with wanting to have the perfect life—Teenagers have an immense amount of pressure put on them, not just with school, but with peers and all those raging hormones. If you add in a family illness, it’s sometimes more than they can handle.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Emma is very similar to Victoria Justice. She has a girl-next-door look, but her features are very striking. With the long, brown hair and killer smile, she’s fairly spot on for who I’d imagine Emma to look like.
Gavin. Oh my sweet, sweet Gavin. Well, this was easy. In fact, I had a picture of how I envisioned Gavin on my desktop so I could…um…reference when I needed to. Aaron Johnson is my Gavin.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Emma Davis is a high school senior who is desperate to keep a family history of mental illness at bay, but she discovers love will drive her a different kind of crazy.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m currently querying agents. There is interest and I’m hoping to have good news soon. I don’t have anything against self-publishing, but it’s not the path I want to take.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft took about 4 months. The next 18 months were revisions, workshops, revisions, revisions, critiques, workshops, revisions, edits, edits, critiques and edits. (Rough estimate, of course 😉 )
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Like Emma said, this question is hard! It has elements that are similar to the Ruby Oliver series by E.Lockhart in terms of a snarky MC dealing with mental illness. While mine focuses on schizophrenia, and much more serious mental illness, I think the approach can be considered comparable. However, there are some very real moments showing the severity of the disease in prose similar to that of a Laurie Halse Andersen book, but again, I think Ms.Andersen’s work is brilliant and I’m a little weirded out saying anything of mine is like anything of hers. (<—- insert self-deprecating writer talk.)
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I think mental illness is still viewed as a very taboo subject, and having several people in my life living with various forms of it, I wanted to write a book showing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the disease. Also, there aren’t many books about mental illness from a loved ones point of view.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s a heavy subject matter, but at the core, it’s a love story. Oh! And there are cupcakes! And The Beatles! And Disney Movies! And…and…LOTS OF OTHER REALLY GOOD THINGS!