1. What is the working title of your next book?
My next book is called Darkness Watching, and it's the first in the Darkworld series.
2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
Honestly, I've no idea. The first novel I ever wrote was a boarding-school-set children's fantasy book with demons as the main antagonist, and although that particular story will never see the light of day, around a year ago I started thinking about trying to use the demon idea again, but rewriting it for an older audience. Then I thought: why don't I set it at a university? I was in my second year at Lancaster at the time, and I thought a university would provide the perfect environment in which to set all the chaos. So I revamped the plot, made up whole new characters and invented a fictitious university in the middle of nowhere.
But as to what prompted me to write about demons in the first place, I couldn't say...
3. What genre does your book fall under?
I've categorised it as New Adult/Young Adult supernatural fantasy. It's a tough one because the main characters are older than the average YA protagonist, but in terms of content it's more upper YA-level. But I guess there's a fine line between YA and NA anyway! As for supernatural fantasy...I guess it could also fall under urban fantasy and paranormal, but it isn't a paranormal romance. There's romance in there, but no guarantee of a happy ending, and everyone has ulterior motives. I'd say there are bits of several genres in there.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Argh, this is a tricky one. I'd want the actors/actresses playing the main characters to be British, because it's set at an English university and that's the way I've always pictured it. It irritates me when movie adaptations of books change the location needlessly. That's why I love the Harry Potter films so much - they look exactly as I'd imagined them to when I read the books!
Anyway, as long as the actors/actresses looked vaguely like I imagine the MC's to, I'm not overly fussed...
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I struggle with this one too - mainly because it's the one sure-fire way to make even the most original idea sound generic and cliche!
Ashlyn can see into the home of demons, the Darkworld - but that's only the start of her problems as she encounters supernatural threats at her new university and confronts someone who's out to kill her.
Watched by eyes no one else can see, university student Ashlyn must learn the reason for the demons’ interest in her before her abilities put her at the mercy of those who would use her as a tool for evil.
Ugh. I always start with a one-sentence summary when planning my books, but that swiftly gets forgotten as I build a more complex plot. It's hard enough writing a blurb!
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?
Neither - I've secured a publishing contract with the small publisher Curiosity Quills Press, but I don't have an agent. I've received positive (or form) rejections from every agent I've queried, and in my experience it's been harder to get an agent than to get the interest of a small publisher. Until I actually need one, or if Hollywood comes knocking on my door (heh) I'm not actively seeking one out.
7. How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It was a bit of a confusing process because I got halfway through Draft #1 before I went travelling around Costa Rica. I couldn't take my laptop with me, but I finished the (very rough) first draft by hand whilst in the jungle! If that counts, then about 3 months. But it took me another month to get a complete typed draft after I got home.
It might seem incredibly fast, but the idea's been there for about 6 years, and I'd been planning all 5 books for a year beforehand so I could pretty much dive straight in. It's by far been the smoothest first draft I've ever written, though!
8. What other books would you compare this story to within the genre?
Hmm...I'd say it should appeal to fans of other YA urban fantasy series such as Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series and the Demon Trappers series by Jana Olivier. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead has a similar kind of campus setting, and I'm sure there are a lot of other books that do, even if I can't think of them at the moment! But it's different enough from those series that it should hopefully appeal even to people who didn't like them.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My unwillingness to let an idea go to waste, more than anything. And those demons just wouldn't leave me alone...so I decided to inflict them on the world. *evil laugh*
I guess it's also because university has by far the best experience of my life. I wanted to capture that feeling of infinite opportunity, when your own life is in your hands and it doesn't matter if you make mistakes because your future isn't set in stone. Even if you can see invisible demons!
10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Hmm...my creative writing tutor joked that I should pitch it as The Exorcist meets Harry Potter meets campus novel...make of that what you will! It's sometimes scary, sometimes crazy, and captures all the madness of student life!