Valerie Lawson is one gung-ho gal when it comes to writing and getting published. From her detailed commentary from attending the Big SCBWI Conference to contests to writing tips she knows how to motivate and inspire. That’s why I jumped at her latest writing endeavor (see above).
The Next Big Thing comes at a great time for me because I am determined to get my manuscripts out into the hands of editors and agents this year. I recently sent an agent one of my YA manuscripts and I am awaiting her response. So, here I go with my Blog Hop contribution:
1. What is the working title of your book?
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
For a time I was a teacher in an alternative program and there were a couple of male students who struggled with trying to change the direction of how their life was headed. Fighting, a tough home life, and going to juvie hall were aspects of life they dealt with. I saw how they struggled to keep from falling further into a destructive lifestyle. I also saw the need for a strong male mentor to step in and help befriend these guys and so with these elements before me I sat down and the story began writing itself.
3. What genre does your book come under?
Definitely YA, although I believe adults would find interest in the interrelationships.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m not much up on teen actors these days, but I did keep a mental picture of a young Matt Dillon (Outsiders vintage) in mind for Wes, the lead protagonist.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Sometimes to keep from falling we need to accept the hand of friendship.
6. Is your book self-published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
It is currently being reviewed by an agent.
7. How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took about a year to write and I submitted chapters through my writing group and through Inkpop when the site was up and running. I also received feedback from an editor at an SCBWI conference. I’ve been working on polishing the manuscript over the last couple of years based on feedback received.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think of Ponyboy from The Outsiders and how he tried to overcome the difficulties of his life, but The Outsiders isn’t really my inspiration, only the struggles are– of a young man with potential who is caught up in a lifestyle he wants to get out of, yet isn’t sure how to do so. Any YA books where the protagonist is in conflict with himself, as well as conflict with society would be the main genre.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? See #2
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Feedback received mention the high school action being realistic, along with the shifting dynamics of longtime friendship that’s changing. There’s also a great scene of a three on three basketball competition. The biggest grabber is the opening. Here it is:
Falling. Air rushing past him. Rippling his cheeks, his clothes, coursing over him like cool river water. Arms spread-eagled out, he faces the approaching ground with a smile. Yeah. Getting closer, closer. Any time now. Not quite there. Pull!
Wes slammed the console. “No way. The machine is off. I had it timed.”
Nick smirked. “Game over. You’re dead. You didn’t pull the rip cord in time. And you are now splattered all over some farmer’s field in Kansas. You cut it too close every time.”
Still tingling from the game’s adrenaline rush, Wes stepped out of the game booth. He got such a rush playing Free Fall. There was something about jumping out into nothing but the blue sky and screaming down towards earth.
Thanks, Valerie for the inclusion to The Next Big Thing. Be sure to check out her site and the others who have participated.
Nice. I thought he was playing some bizarre to-the-death game of basketball in the beginning.
I’ve received all kinds of responses with this opening. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, except I wrote it to take the reader by surprise it’s a game–that metaphor thing going, ya know…