The Next Big Thing

Obviously this picture is just too cute not to use 🙂

A big shout-out to Jessi Gage who tagged me for “The Next Big Thing.” It’s a Q&A about one’s current work in progress.

Jessi and I share an amazing number of firsts. Her debut release, Wishing for a Highlander, is coming out with Lyrical Press, Inc, on the same day as mine–January 7th. It’s going to be so cool to share our release birthday together.

Now, let’s have some fun with the Next Big Thing’s questions on my current work in progress.


What is your working title of your book?

Witness Pursuit. (And if you didn’t guess, there’s a witness and some serious pursuit going on.)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Ahh, I wrote this book over a year ago for the 2nd annual “So You Think You Can Write” competition run by Harlequin in 2011. Only there was one problem–they give you a month to write a 60,000 word novel. What? Now I know what you’re thinking–that’s crazy. And I totally agree. Yep, let me tell you, that is not nearly long enough to come up with an idea, write it, and edit, edit, edit.

What genre does your book fall under?

Romantic suspense. The story has action, intrigue and whodunit. It also happens to have a kick-ass hero who can’t tie down his sassy heroine.

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

Ooo, I love this question.

My hero is a bodyguard who acted as a human shield for my heroine, taking three bullets and almost losing his life. A year on, he has no memory recall of the shooting, but she is back, still running and now emotionally provoking him in ways he doesn’t understand. There are so many secrets, with riveting twists and turns, so for my hero it’s got to be Bradley Cooper. I need a man with A-Team experience to handle the firepower that’s going to come at him.

For my heroine I’d choose the young Ashley Greene. Now she stared as a vampire in the Twilight saga, and even though there’re no vampires in this book, I do need someone with spark and who can run real fast–and as far as I’ve seen, those vampires can certainly do that.


What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Not all goes to plan when one witness on the run finds her path colliding with the bodyguard who once saved her life.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ll be submitting it to an agency once it’s completed. It’s a category romance and will suit romance publishers for sure.

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

So back to last year–I took the one month competition deadline and broke it down, figuring I’d need to write the first draft within three weeks–that meant 3000 words a day. (That was a tough one.) I then spent the last week of the month working the second draft. (An even tougher pull.)

Please note: One cannot write a pristine novel in one month. 🙂 Or at least, I certainly cannot.

Now, a year later, I’ve picked up this book again after completing two young adult fantasy romances. I’m working through the third draft of Witness Pursuit, but for me there are usually seven drafts to the full completion of a book. So, in about four to six weeks it’ll be shining like a pretty stone.

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

Any romance books where there is mystery and intrigue, where you can’t wait to turn the next page to see where the story will lead.


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Gosh, I’d have to go back 4+ years to answer that question. That’s when I met Alegra Clarke, a local author from New Zealand who won the annual Writer’s Digest competition for 2007. From that competition she gained an agent and a contract for her book. I was in awe of what she’d done, but more than that, Alegra told me to enter as many novel writing competitions as I could, that they would push me to work harder at my craft and gain possible feedback from judges, editors, agents, etc.

Even to this day with my debut novel releasing with Lyrical Press, I’m still keen on entering writing competitions provided I meet the criteria and can fit the project in. You never know what could happen with the submission you present.


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

(Oh, let me throw together a blurb to whet your appetite.)

Twenty-one-year-old Lydia Sands calls New Zealand home, only after witnessing a brutal hit-and-run outside her residence, she finds herself in the path of a killer. Her assigned bodyguard takes a direct hit in order to save her life, and following his near death she is thrown into the Program. A year on, her handler chooses to remove her from the killer’s reach by having her board a super-yacht traveling the South Pacific with the very man who saved her life the first time.

Bodyguard Tyler Whitehall has recovered from a shooting, but a year on, has no recall from the direct hit. Now he runs security for his family’s shipping firm, only the last thing he expects during a trip on one of their super-yachts in the South Pacific, is to encounter a woman who stirs him on a physical and emotional level he doesn’t understand.

Now Lydia must run from two men, evading a killer and keeping the man who’d die for her safe. It’s a decision which sees her undertaking re-identification, although her bodyguard has only just begun his pursuit…and Lydia may have just underestimated the full extent of his abilities.

Okay, now to continue the fun of the chain blog, I’d like to tag the following authors to post their Next Big Things. (Of course, only participate if you wish to.)

Lacey Devlin is a wonderful Australian writer who I met on Twitter during the 2nd annual “So You Think You Can Write” competition. Lacey didn’t enter, but was certainly there to cheer on those of us who did.

Odessa Black writes young adult paranormal, her debut self-published novel having released with Smashwords on 26th October 2012. Congratulations to you, Odessa. You’ll find her blog and wicked cover on this link.

Serena Akeroyd is a fledgling romance writer with amazing talent. Serena entered the same SYTYCW competition with me, and we struck up a fabulous friendship. (PS: the people you meet are also another great reason for entering these competitions.)

Susan Buchanan wrote The Dating Game, a self-published novel which launched on 2nd November 2012. It’s her second book and we got to know each other during the promotion of her first novel’s release earlier this year.

Serenity Woods is not only a fellow Lyrical Press author, but a Kiwi girl too. Serenity has over a dozen published books and is a true inspiration.


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