By sheer coincidence, two different authors – Adriana Ryan and Paula Jones – invited me, both on the same day, to participate in the Next Big Thing blog hop, which has been making its way around the internet lately. It’s a way to give authors a chance to talk about their books, and why would I turn that down? My answers to the questions are below:
What is the working title of your book?
The Torturer’s Daughter.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was doing a writing exercise, and decided that for the exercise I would write about a torturer. What came out was a scene where a girl awkwardly tried to repair her friendship with her former best friend, whose parents had been executed a year ago, while the girl’s mother, who had executed them, listened in. I wrote a few more scenes with those characters, and somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to turn it into a novel.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m always terrible at this question. I don’t think I watch enough movies to answer it. The last time I saw a movie was… um… I saw part of Thor on Netflix. In July. I asked a friend of mine who is much more familiar with actors than I am, and we decided on Salma Hayek for Raleigh and Amanda Seyfried for Heather, but had trouble finding anyone for Becca (besides possibly Anna Kendrick?) and Jake.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The daughter of the regime’s most infamous torturer has to choose between her conscience and the people she loves when she learns the truth about her dystopian society.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published – in fact, it just came out last week!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About two months. Which isn’t bad, considering I was trying to turn it into second-draft material for Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel course at the same time. Although it was a rewrite, I still consider that to be the first draft, because it was a total rewrite. Nothing survived of the original except the basic premise and a few of the characters.
I wrote the original version in two weeks. But the problem with that one wasn’t that I wrote it in such a short amount of time – it was that it started as a series of vignettes loosely based around a central premise, and so it had too many characters, too many POVs (granted, for me, more than one POV is generally too many), too many time jumps, and not enough actual plot.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’d say All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin and maybe Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (minus the romantic focus). A dystopia that is more realistic than stylized but is a whole lot grimmer than the world we have now. A focus on characters’ struggles with, and victories over, their own circumstances within the dystopian world rather than the dystopia as a whole. Plenty of inner conflict.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel course really helped make this novel what it is. It had a solid premise and good characters. The revision course helped me give it an actual plot, plus structure and tension and all that good stuff.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
While I was first writing this, I joked that the theme of the novel was “Torturers are people too.” That’s actually not too far from the truth. It’s about what happens when you start seeing people as less than human – and what happens when you realize that they’re as human as you are.
The way this works is that I’m supposed to tag five other people to participate. But I hate it when I come across things like this that I’d like to participate in but know I don’t know anyone who is going to tag me. I mean, what are the rules there? Is it acceptable to do it anyway? Will it look like I don’t understand how it’s supposed to work? Why should there be an artificial limit on the number of participants in the first place?
So instead, anyone who wants to is welcome to participate. Comment with a link to your answers, and I’ll link back to you.