Friday, March 1, 2013

The Next Big Thing

I have been neglecting this blog, especially since I created a Facebook page. *Sheepish face* My friend, Nandini Bajpai, whose books are being published soon (yay, Nandini!), tagged me for this bloghop and provided me with a good reason to do some dusting off. How does this work? I answer ten questions about the book I am currently writing, my personal Next Big Thing, and tag other writers to keep the topic hopping along.

What is the title of your book?
Circle of Jade

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The story came primarily from my own experiences losing loved ones as a teen. Questions that started then are still the ones I ponder now. One of these is about redemption: how fundamental it is as a motivation, what sorts of things people do, and how well they work. And if these attempts are futile, what then? 

I realize this sounds very heavy. But life for many teenagers can be full of big questions without easy answers, and I hope some of them may find my exploration of these questions relatable. 

 Another source for this story, and perhaps for all of my stories, is the people around us: people who love us and whom we love, people who matter. In this story, it’s the love of her two friends, little brother, and mother whom she has pushed away who help her find her way  again

What genre does your book fall under?
YA contemporary

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I haven’t kept up with current young actors. Maybe readers can help me find an actor for Ash, whose mother is Chinese and father is Brazilian. 

Besides, the majority of the young actors are so glamorous and Hollywoodified (yes, this will be a word soon enough) that I can’t imagine any of them playing the regular kids in my book. 

Having said that, an actor just popped into my head for one of my secondary characters, Finn, whose unique blend of goofiness and compassion help Ash emerge from her grief. I love the way Jay Bruchel played the main character in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: someone who is not attractive immediately, but whose personality and kindness and sincerity draw you to him. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After a beloved grandmother’s death plunges 16-year old Ash into deep grief, she seeks redemption in serving others selflessly but finds true healing in unexpected ways. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
From everything I know about self-publishing, I know I’m not a good candidate, so I hope to find someone who will champion my story. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I don’t write in a linear fashion, so it’s hard to say when the first draft finished and the second, or third began. If you pushed me to a corner and told me my life depended on the answer, I’d say around 8 months. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
In YA, Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne Jones felt the closest to this story. Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Zen and Xander Undoneand Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere both show teens dealing with grief. In general fiction, Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol RifkaBrunt has a lot of the same types of issues I am exploring in this book. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Yet another question that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. My reason for doing things doesn’t always follow a direct cause-and-effect path. What I do tends to be the result of many different influences.

 If I must answer this question, I’d have to say it’s my teenaged self, my two friends who died young, and my grandmother.  

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Rube Goldberg contraptions? Hot dog dumplings? That Chinese calligraphy ink is smelly? Random Portuguese and Mandarin words? 

As I write, I’m thinking primarily of my character and telling her story. I am aware, of course, of my audience, but I don’t know which of the elements in the book will pique readers' interest. My belief is that if my story rings true, it will engage. 

This is a story about a teen trying to navigate through a difficult patch in her life. I suspect that many of my readers, teenagers, seek to relate. Readers who have experienced similar situations may find my book interesting. Readers who are trying to understand friends who have experienced loss in their lives may be interested. Readers who are curious about life’s many knotty questions may be interested.

Writers you’ve tagged for the NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop.
The talented duo who run the Finding Wonderland blog both have wonderful books ready to burst onto the scene. I hope they'll play. Author and part time physician, Lydia Kang, has two books coming out. Exciting stuff.

Turns out I should have been more conscientious about tagging, you know, asking people first. Tanita has already done this, and here it is 


Laoch of Chicago said...

Your book sounds worthy.

Yat-Yee said...

Thank you, Loach. This is a great compliment indeed.

Nandini said...

I love the title and the concept, Yat-Yee. Look forward to reading it one day!

tanita davis said...

Oh, no! I did a NBT at the end of last year, and feel a little weird doing another one just yet, as I'm in the free-writing stage of this new book. I will get back to you on this in another eight months or so!

Heather Kelly said...

I love all the interesting things in your section of what else might pique the reader's interest. Love Rube Goldberg contractions. :)

Good luck with everything! I'm glad Nandini has introduced us (by tagging us both).

Yat-Yee said...

Nandini: thanks for tagging me!

Tanita: Oops! I haven't been reading blogs for a while. Maybe I'll link to the NBT you did last year.

Heather: that question struck me as strange, Those were the only answers I could come up with.

Yat-Yee said...

And, Heather, yes, I'm glad we've been introduced. :)

aquafortis said...

I did this one, too (here) for Underneath...but I don't think I'm quite ready to do this for Olwen yet. I'm still vacillating between being excited about the rewrite and feeling really crappy about it. SIGH.

I loved reading your meme answers, though. I'm so glad to hear it took you 8 months to get the first draft done--that seems to be my minimum. But I was just talking to another local writer last week (Lisa Desrochers) who said she finishes her books in 3 to 4 WEEKS. I straight out told her that was insane.