The Next Big Thing: What I’m Working on Now

Posted by on Nov 13, 2012 | 1 comment

The ruins of Top Withins, a farmhouse thought to be Emily Brontë's inspiration for Wuthering Heights.

Authors are tagging each other with a questionnaire about what they’re working on now. I was tagged by Karen Krossing, who was tagged by Karen Bass. I’m tagging authors Keely Parrack, Megan Crewe, Anne Laurel Carter, and Kari-Lynn Winters. I hope they’ll share a glimpse into their works-in-progress.

What is your working title of your book?

The working title is The Worlds Below but I expect that to change.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sixteen-year-old Emily Brontë and her three siblings, Charlotte, Branwell, and Anne, have never questioned their ability to make the worlds and characters they imagine become real, but when the villain Northangerland breaks out of the confines of their imaginary worlds, Emily is forced to ask herself whether she and the others really made him, or whether some dark force is inhabiting the characters they create.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for the book came to me while I was watching a documentary about the Brontës.  When I heard that they had imaginary worlds they wrote about in childhood, the thought hit me: What if those worlds were real?  Since then I’ve been reading the volumes of juvenilia that Charlotte and Branwell left behind about their imaginary city, Verdopolis.  Considering the time period and their upbringing, the content is quite shocking.  These very poor parson’s children loved writing about the affairs and scandals of the very rich.  Emily and Anne’s childhood writings don’t survive, so creating their fantasy world, Gondal, will be my biggest challenge.

What genre does your book fall under?

YA historical fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Northangerland, who is both the villain and Emily’s love interest, should be played by someone who is handsome but a bit sinister.  Robert Sheehan from Misfits or a younger Eric Balfour would be perfect.  Casting Emily would be the difficult task.  She’d have to be both vulnerable and strong. Emma Watson?

Will your book be self-published, traditionally published or are you represented by an agency?

The book is being published Abrams in the US and by HarperCollins Canada in Canada.  If all goes well, it should come out Spring 2014.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Umm…let me get back to you on that.  My deadline for the first draft is March 1st next year, but I hope to be finished before then.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This will be a dark and atmospheric fantasy novel along the lines of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab or perhaps Misfit by Jon Skovron.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?


And this!

And this!

Is there any better setting for a fantasy novel than the Yorkshire moors?

Because I’m not British, it’s a bit cheeky for me to attempt to write about these famous siblings, but once I visited the Brontë parsonage and saw the moors, I just couldn’t resist.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I love the Brontës and I especially love Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.  It’s such a strange book that breaks so many of the rules of narrative, and yet it never fails to fascinate and enthral me.  The romantic anti-hero Heathcliff is the prototype for many of the bad-boy heroes we read about today.  He’s about as wicked as any human being can be, and yet his one redeeming quality is that he loves the heroine, Catherine, with a passion that defies even death.  Some scholars believe that the character of Northangerland, a villain that first appeared in the writings of Charlotte and Branwell, was so captivating to Emily that she used him in her own writings—he may have even eventually become Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights.

One Comment

  1. I just finished reading Witchlanders and absolutely adored it. I work with youth and while I was shadowing a mentee in class I was told that they were simply reading for the hour. I rushed to the library and immediately grabbed the first book on the new arrivals desk, checked it out and went back to the classroom. I fell instantly in love with it! Who knew that random chance would introduce me to possibly my favorite book of 2013 thus far. I love the characters, their strengths and their weaknesses. I honestly could not even begin to describe how much I loved this book. I was trying to see if there was a sequel and found an interview you did saying that there’s no plan for it yet because you need to see how the book sells first. I would be thrilled to see a sequel, but honestly the first book was wonderful. Thank you again! (^_^)

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