The Next Big Thing (Week 26)

Thanks to Laura VanArendonk Baugh for nominating my blog for “The Next Big Thing.” I’m pleased people are interested in my blog and novel—though if you’re reading this, you should check out Laura’s own site at and her novella Kitsune-Tsuki, winner of the Luminis Award at this year’s Midwest Writers Conference! With any luck (or justice) her new novel Shard & Shield will get picked up and published soon!

Laura has asked me to answer 10 questions about my novel and then nominate other authors with blogs for next week’s “Next Big Thing.”  Let’s get to it.

  1. What is the working title of your book?  Fractured Myths, though a potential publisher pointed out that a more appropriate title might be Fractured Legends.
  2. 2.      Where did the idea come from for the book? My brother Andy wanted to pitch a cartoon series and asked me if I had any ideas. My 1st thought was “a teenage girl and her father aid an elite team that investigates myths that enter the real world. Each episode would have a different myth/character/creature and a new adventure.” That germ became my novel—the less kid-friendly origin story for the cartoon. And NO, this was never pitched as an animated series, so the novel is the only story that exists.
  3. 3.      What genre does your book fall under? YA Urban Fantasy . . . though I like calling it a YA Arthurian Urban Fantasy since King Arthur is one of the main characters, but that’s too much of a mouthful.
  4. 4.      Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

16-year-old Alanna O’Connor: No idea. If my book is published two years from now and is immediately optioned, it would still be at least four more years before the movie would come out. Therefore, the actress would be about 10-years-old right now.

King Arthur: Chris Hemsworth (Thor) or Hugh Jackman (Wolverine).

Dr. Zoe Bailey: Naomie Harris (Eve in Skyfall).

  1. 5.      What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book? This is nearly impossible, so here is the shortest pitch I can come up with:When sixteen-year-old fantasy enthusiast Alanna O’Connor sees Vikings, medieval knights, and mythological creatures appear in her hometown of Edinburgh, she thinks it’s a miracle . . . until they try to kill her. Alanna teams up with the one person she knows she can trust: the newly arrived and completely baffled King Arthur. Together, they must stop the myth invasion before Scotland—if not all reality—is fractured beyond repair.” 
  2. 6.      Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Anything is possible. I have the option to Revise and Resubmit at a small press. I plan to do that, but I’m still querying agents, so we’ll see what happens.
  3. 7.      How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript? The first draft took me about two years. Even though I know that draft had serious problems, I still count it as one of my life’s major accomplishments.
  4. 8.      What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Libriomancer by Jim Hines. I actually have a review of that book on my blog. The stories share a similar tone, balance between humor and adventure, and involve fiction/myths finding a way into the real world.
  5. 9.      Who or What inspired you to write this book? I partially answered this in Q # 2, but Andy asking me for an idea is only part of the reason why he should be considered the inspiration for my book. The truth is, once I had the idea, I tried giving it to Andy. He liked it, saw its potential, and encouraged me to write it as a novel so that I could maintain creative control over it. But these are only the immediate reasons why Andy is an inspiration. Years before my idea hit me, Andy quit his job in St. Louis and moved to New York to follow his dream of working as a story editor for Marvel Comics. He was there for six years and contributed to some fantastic storylines with all of our childhood heroes. Then he started his own business called where he teaches classes in writing, drawing, and everything else related to a career in the comic book industry. Then he moved to California and worked for IDW (another comic book company). Now he works in Hasbro’s creative department. So the thing is, Andy takes risks. He pushes himself. And no matter where he is, Andy maintains his creativity and integrity. He might be my younger brother, but he is also my hero. I just hope he doesn’t read this.
  6. 10.  What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? I have a pet peeve about stories in which a mythical character appears in the real world (my premise) because so far, every story I know of with this premise fails my “test.” The thing I always want to know is, “Which version of the character shows up and how is that decided?” What I mean is, if Achilles shows up in New York, I want to know if his skin is impenetrable or not (it is according to the legend of his body being dipped in the river Styx but he is mortal in Homer). The next question is, “How is that decision made and is there a consistent and logical reason for this within the story?” In other words, if it is the Achilles from The Iliad, why is it that Achilles and not the one with impenetrable skin? And whatever rationale there is needs to be clear and consistent with all other characters that appear. Sometimes the explanation/rationale is made clear, but often the characters are whatever version the author seems to like best. So my book passes my own test—the answers to the questions I pose are there and, I think, the answers will surprise you.

I now nominate the following blogs for next week’s “The Next Big Thing.” Hopefully, these authors will post their answers to the same 10 questions I just answered. Check their respective websites on December 5th!

Robbie MacNiven at

Emilyann Girdner at

E.M. Castellan at

2 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing (Week 26)

  1. Oh, I really like the idea of a Hemsworth or Jackman King Arthur! (I’m mostly Hollywood-ignorant, but I do know those two.)

    And I’m intrigued by #10 – the mechanisms of selecting a myth. I don’t think that’s a problem for all myth-based stories (perhaps only one incarnation is true, and the others are permutations and therefore just stories?), but for a premise of bringing myth into the world, it’s a question that shoudl be answered. I’m keen to see how you do it.

    (Don’t worry about #9. Your secret is safe with us.)

  2. It is so neat to learn where the idea for Fractured Myths came from. I still love the tone of your pitch so much; it really makes me want to read the book! And of course… your approach to dealing with myth and Arthurian legend is so unique. I can’t wait to see it on the shelves.

    Thank you so much for the nomination =) I will be posting tomorrow.

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