Chanté McCoy recently tagged me in The Next Big Thing blog hop. This is essentially a game authors play to create a network of blog posts that their readers can visit to learn about their existing writing, and future projects.
In this particular blog hop, I’ll answers ten questions about my work, and then I’ll tags a few authors at the bottom of my post to do the same thing the following week, and so on and so on. By hopping from one blog to the next, hopefully you’ll discover other writers or books that may end up being the next big thing.
I’m grateful that Chanté McCoy tagged me on her blog as this should be fun. The cosmos first threw Chanté and me together when we started working on The Crimson Pact anthology a few years ago. The editor suggested that the authors interview each other as a way to promote our individual writing, as well as the anthology itself. Chanté and I wasted no time getting on the phone and working through the interview process. I found her to be delightful, and very helpful. I was also amazed at all the projects she was working on, and I honestly wondered how she found the time for it all. She made me want to write more.
Since then, I have actually become a fan of Chanté’s writing. She has some of the most unique ideas for stories that I have read. I wish I could create the same kind of ambiance she does via her lush descriptions (Right now she’s working on a zombie book called, Scabbies, for example. Kinda sums it all up, doesn’t it?). Everything is so palpable.
Here’s my interview:
What is the title (working title) of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is actually an interesting point, and something that I never would have imagined happening to me. My idea came from a brief moment in an episode of Fringe (the Fox series ended last night – sniff sniff). The planets must have aligned, because I was stuck on what I wanted to write, and I had decided to watch a sci-fi show and look for ideas that I could put a fantasy twist on. It all started when one of those shape shifters asked for “the back room.”
What genre does your book fall under?
Middle Grade / Young Adult Fantasy.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Asa Butterfield (Main Character – Marcus Fith), Dakota Fanning (sister – Ellie Fith). Asa has an interesting quality to his acting that I think would lend nicely to Marcus. Dakota has shown she can play all kinds of characters to great effect. She would make a wonderful Ellie, Marcus’s powerful and mysterious sister.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Marcus and Ellie Fith are asked to tend the family Magic Shop, they are thrown into a world they never knew existed; Not only is the family business a front, but Marcus learns that he has been marked as a dead man since birth.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? What do you think?
I’m actually pretty conflicted on this topic. Almost any writer would love to be represented by an agency, get huge advances, and sell a lot of books. The publishing world is changing though, and there are many trade-offs to publishing the traditional route. The hardest trade-off to deal with is time. Who knows how long it would be before someone actually considered publishing the work. Then, it could be months or, more likely, years before someone actually puts it out there in print. That’s a long time. Also, the writer losings control of a lot when he goes the traditional route (book cover decisions, what he keeps in the story etc). That said, I’d still like to be represented, so for now, I’ll say agency (fingers crossed).
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About three years – whenever I wasn’t working. I’d try to get up early and write when everyone was sleeping. Then, it was off to a fairly stressful full-time job. One of my goals is how to figure out how to do all of this writing business a whole lot faster.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
That’s hard for me, because no matter what the answer is, it always sounds so presumptuous. Its a book about magic, and family ties, and the secrets and lies that families keep. There are lots of twists in the book, good and evil magic, and several dark parts too… Its a wild ride with fantastic creatures and situations. So, I’d compare it to a book like that.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I have a need to be creative, and I’ve always loved writing, I think. The notion to write my own book occurred to me when I started reading the Harry Potter series to my children – I remembered I loved to tell stories. The bad thing was, I had just started an MBA program, and so I had quite a workload. But, the urge was there, and I couldn’t help myself. I just sacrificed sleep, I guess. It seemed like such a romantic thing to do — chase a dream. I thought maybe, just maybe I could produce the effect in a child that the books I read to my son did in him.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Couple of anecdotes. One of my teenage alpha readers read the manuscript the first time (without the ending even really being complete), and then went on to read it again several times over. An adult alpha reader (co-worker of mine), got about half way through the book one morning before she realized she was late for work. Those kind of stories make a writer’s day, and are fun to tell.
At this point you can probably tell I have all kinds of admiration for Chanté. She has great talent, and it really comes through in everything I’ve read of hers. Her ideas are super fresh, and you can tell from the start that she has honed her craft. I highly recommend you visit her site, and check out some of her writing. You can always come back to this post and drop me a thank you comment later 🙂
Donald J. Bingle
Donald is another fabulous author I met through The Crimson Pact anthology. He is a prolific writer, and cranks out stories more frequently than I eat burgers (I’ll spare you the oversized jpg). His writing covers a crazy range of fantastic topics and formats from short stories to novels. His writing is highly regarded, and you’ll definitely want to pay him a visit online.
Darnell Dickerson is an up and coming writer that I first met on Facebook. He has a couple of nice short story pieces up on amazon right now that have already begun to take off. Pay him a visit and let him know what you think.
Paul was my first editor, and in the short time I worked with him, I feel like I learned a lot. He’s a work horse, and demands excellence. That said, he showed a lot of patience with me, and I will always be grateful for that. He has written an awesome set of fantasy novels called the Iron Dragon series. Furthermore, he’s just finished another novel, Medusa’s Daughter, which promises to be every bit as awesome as everything else he’s written. Check him out online.
In his free time Justin loves to read, write, and play games. He enjoys his close friends, and loves to make people laugh. To learn more about Justin, or his work, you can visit him at www.justinswapp.com
Justin is the author of The Magic Shop. He has also been published in several anthologies, including The Crimson Pact (Volumes 1, 2, and 5), The Memory Eater, and Short Sips: Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection 2.