The Next Big Thing is a blog campaign that began in Australia. It features children and YA authors who have recently published books or books slated to be released this year.
Each author answers the same series of questions and then passes the buck to other authors. The terrific and talented Jenny Meyerhoff tagged me.
So, here goes:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
I’ve got two coming out in the Fall so I’ll plug them both: The Pet War (November) and The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School (September). The latter is under an alias: Fowler DeWitt.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wish I had a clever story about how I had pets as a kid (I didn’t ) or how a mysterious contagious disease made stripes appear on my skin (nope), but I don’t. My theory: mysterious idea leprechauns break into bedrooms at night with their muse dust (patent pending).
3) What genre does your book fall under?
“Humorous middle grade with a heart of gold.” That is a category at Barnes and Noble, right?
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Kid actors are a dime a dozen, so I’d transform the books into a mash up of adult drama and cliff hanging suspense. Brad Pitt plays multiple roles, and Jennifer Lawrence is the mysterious dog trainer who catches a deadly disease (my movie is also a mash up of both my books). Robert Pattinson reprises his role as Edward Cullen, which has nothing to do with my books but should attract the teenage girls and assure box office success, so I’ll write him in somehow. Same with Taylor Lautner. Academy-award worthy cameos by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Judi Dench as teachers plotting various plots, complete the above-title credits.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The Pet War: Otto and his annoying older sister fight over adopting a pet—pitting themselves in a battle of love and war, wits and money making, while learning the importance of responsibility and locking the door to your bedroom.
The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School: When a mysterious illness sweeps through school and kids start changing colors with alarming consequences, sixth grade scientist Wilmer Dooley must find a cure … before it’s too late.
6) Who is publishing your book?
The Pet War: Scholastic
The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School: Simon & Schuster
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Three to four weeks apiece. But I write my first drafts quickly. It’s drafts #’s 2 through 30 that create problems.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Pet War: Humorous books with warring siblings, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Also, books with “war” in the title: War and Peace, War and Remembrance, The Art of War, The Autobiography of Dionne Warwick, et al.
Mumpley: Books by Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl, in terms of quirky humor.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I love writing books that make me laugh and that I would have loved to read when I was a kid. So I was inspired by 10-year old me.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Hidden inside one book is a check for one billion dollars!
Seriously, The Pet War has sibling rivalry, dogs, cats and vomit. Mumpley Middle School has evil plans, romance, horrible diseases and also vomit. What’s not to like, especially if you’re into vomit? If you’re an 8-12 year-old boy, a reluctant reader or an avid one, you’ll love these. They’re perfect for the back of the school bus, before falling asleep, or while being attacked by carrier pigeons (while unlikely to happen, you can never be too sure). And if you’re an adult who sometimes acts like an 8-12 year old, then you should love these, too.
Again, thanks to Jenny Meyerhoff for tagging me. Go ahead and read her answers now! And next week, check out the blogs of awesome authors Amber McRee Turner, Shelley Moore Thomas and Shelby Bach for their answers — Amber, Shelly and Shelby, you’re up!