The Next Big Thing Blog Hop (reposted from my Goodreads Blog)

I was recently tagged in “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop” by Janis HIll. If you google “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop” you’ll be presented with list after list of authors, all answering the same ten questions about their latest book or work in progress. It’s a fantastic idea!

Janis’ book “Bonnie’s story: A hairdresser’s quide to mathematics” will be published this year by Hague Publishing, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. You can find her blog at

So let’s get into the question and answer part!

What is the working title of your next book? 
My next book’s working title is currently Frontier: Resistance but this is somewhat fluid. My previous title (Frontier Incursion) went through about a million different changes before I decided on it. I suspect that this one will be no different.

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
I’ve always loved writing, and I’ve always wanted to write a novel. The idea for Frontier Incursion (the first part of this story) germinated about 20 years ago. In my mind, I saw a picture of a young girl scaling a cliff face, above a huge drop to wildly luxuriant vegetation. My husband and I had just been on a rope rescue course in our capacity as volunteer fire fighters, and I’d learnt to abseil and was quite excited about a newly acquired skill. When I began to write the story I realised that the girl was on another world. After I’d written the first book, I realised that Shanna’s story still had a long way to go!

What genre does your book fall under? 
It falls under the genre of Speculative Fiction. The story is set on a different planet, and there are aliens, but there are also slight fantasy overtones. It is Young Adult, but one of the joys of YA as far as I am concerned, is its appeal across the generations.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 
This is a question that I’ve struggled with, so I turned to my oldest child (and chief proofreader) for some assistance. She’s almost as familiar with my characters as I am!

My main character, Shanna, is clever, tough, athletic and resourceful. Perhaps Caitlin Stasey, or Jennifer Lawrence could play her. (Mainly because they’re the only young female actors we could think of who are actually practiced at being anything except pretty!) I think Shanna requires some more thought. 

We can very much see Hugh Jackman as Allad, and Morgan Freeman as Master Cerren. I loved Summer Glau in Firefly, and I’m sure she’d make a great Taya. Liam Hemsworth would make a lovely Verren, and there is no doubt that Helen Mirren would play Master Erilla perfectly. 

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? 
As human, starcat, Starlyne and Garsal collide, Shanna is forced to grow up too fast; while the unique society of Frontier tries to come to grips with sudden world threatening change.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency? 
My previous book was published by Hague Publishing in October 2012. This is the sequel, so it would be great to have both books with the same publisher.

Unfortunately I am not represented by an agent at this time. There are very few Australian agents who will look at Speculative Fiction, Sci-fi or Fantasy stories, and even less who are interested in an unknown author. (I hope this will change!) I am a member of the NSW Writers Centre.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 
I have been writing this book on and off while editing and preparing Frontier Incursion for publication for the last twelve months. Now that I’ve finished all of that, I hope to have this first draft done by March.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
There are parts of this story that could be likened to the Rangers Apprentice series, and other bits that are reminiscent of Menolly and her fire lizards in Dragonsong and perhaps there’s even some echoes of Andre Norton’s Beastmaster in the relationships between the starcats and their human partners. 

I’ve not had any reader say “It reminds me of…” so far, so perhaps there’s some nice originality in there. (I would like to think so!) 

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
I began writing as a teenager. I remember reading that CS Lewis once said he wrote the books he would have liked to have read. There is definitely some of that in my writing. When I began writing Frontier Incursion, I provided our kids with the chapters as I wrote them. They liked it so much, I just had to keep going. Even now, our eldest is harassing me on a regular basis for the next chapter! 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 
I think that the starcats are probably a major drawcard. I love animals, and we always have a number of pets – currently two dogs (Anzac and Jace) and two cats (Sox, and the kitten, Nosey – currently known as “The Beast”, “Monster Kitten” and “Oh no, here he comes!”) 

Starcats are huge, dark grey or black felines with violet eyes, and glowing “tidemarks.” They are intelligent and possessed of remarkable talents. They (like all cats) enjoy sleeping on the bed with their human friends, but are essential for a Scout to travel safely in the dangerous wilds of Frontier. The cover of Frontier Incursion Frontier Incursionhas a wonderful picture of Twister, one of Shanna’s star cats. It takes a talented artist to pull an imaginary cat out of someone’s head. (Thanks Emma Llewelyn!)

Well, that’s me for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop! I have two people to tag – Simone Bailey, author of Calumny While Reading Irvine Welsh and Ruth Fox, author of The City of Silver Light.

You can find Simone’s Blog at…

Ruth is currently having a few issues with her server, so I hope to bring you her blog shortly. In the meantime, you could check out The City of Silver Light!

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