Jill Archer, author of the urban fantasy novel Dark Light of Day (about a magical heroine and a demon law school), tagged me for this chaining online Q&A about one’s current work in progress. As it happens, I have two books in progress, one I’m drafting and one I just finished copyedits on. I’m going to talk about the copyedited book since I haven’t talked about it much and it’s the one that comes out first.
Next Big Thing Q&A
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It actually began as a sequel to another book I’d written. That book had a minor character named Lucien, a whip-smart, chess-playing amputee who stole every scene he was in. He was so charismatic that I knew I had to write a book around him, but the trick was going to be coming up with a heroine who wouldn’t be overshadowed by him. I figured she needed to be a chess player too, at least as good as he was. And then I wanted something totally out there and crazy, and I thought, “Hey, I’ll make her an assassin sent to kill him.” At first, the idea was kind of a joke (one of my critique partners even mocked up a joke cover for me), but the more I thought about it, the more I realized, hey, this could actually work. So I wrote a book about a chess-playing (female) assassin.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I can never answer this question. I’m faceblind and have little capacity to even recognize most movie stars–they all look alike to me. Because I have difficulty telling characters apart, I seldom watch movies or TV and read a ton of books (or play videogames) instead.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It’s about an assassin who falls in love with the man she was sent to kill.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The book will be published as a Signet Eclipse (a Penguin imprint). I am represented by Alexandra Machinist of Janklow & Nesbit.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Three months. I’m a fast-drafter. I spend more time revising and polishing than drafting.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It was originally picked it up as a romance that would appeal to “Game of Thrones” fans. I think it is pretty unique, but I have also heard it compared to Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As I said before, I was inspired to write more about Lucien because he was such a fun character in the previous book where he’d played a minor role. And once I invented Vitala, the heroine, she was even more fun!
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
What I loved about writing Gambit was writing a strong heroine who doesn’t need the hero to save her. The power dynamic shifts between Vitala and Lucien several times throughout the course of the story, and as often as not, she’s the one saving him (or preparing to kill him, as the case may be). These two come together as equals, and what brings them together is that Lucien, who has lived most of his life as the smartest man in the room, has finally met his match in Vitala.
Other authors with “Next Big Things”
These authors will be posting next week about what they’re working on. I hope you drop in for a visit!
Jessi Gage, a NOLA STAR and Heartbeat Contest finalist, writes paranormal romance. Her debut novel, Wishing for a Highlander, features a pregnant museum worker who travels back in time to 16th century Scotland, where she meets a Scottish laird who believes he’s too big under his kilt to be with a woman. Wishing will be out this coming January.
Julie Brannagh, a 2011 Golden Heart® finalist, writes contemporary sports romance. She is agented and going places!
Marlene Dotterer writes paranormals, including time travel, science fiction, faery and werewolf novels. Her novel The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder, about a physicist and a college student who accidentally go back in time and find themselves stranded in the age of the Titanic and in a position to prevent the famous disaster, is available now.
Darke Conteur writes paranormal mysteries. Her series beginning with The Watchtower, featuring demons and other supernatural creatures, is available now.
Arlene Hittle, a 2011 Golden Heart® finalist, writes contemporary romance. Her GH-finaling manuscript “Beauty and the Ballplayer” also won the FCRW Beacon contest.
Must go check out your other NBT folks! I laughed to read your ‘faceblind’ comment. I am mostly faceblind, from a childhood accident. I’m great with voice though. Glad I’m not alone! Looking forward to your release!
Faceblind peeps unite! I’ve learned to use context and all kinds of other clues to recognize people, but if someone cuts their hair or something, I may fail and sometimes they get offended. But I can fail at recognizing even such well-known people as George W. Bush.
I love how you introduce Vitala and Lucien here. And I love how it all started with just a seed of an idea. So amazing how that happens! I can’t wait for Assassin’s Gambit to come out!
Thanks! It is cool the way the seed of an idea grows and takes on a life of its own.
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Hi Amy, I’m so glad you shared more about Assassin’s Gambit. It sounds terrific and I can’t wait to read it! I loved Kushiel’s Dart and love the show Game of Thrones. But your story sounds very unique too. Books involving chess completely fascinate me (probably because I can’t play worth a darn). Have you read either Arturo Perez-Reverte’s The Flanders Panel or Katherine Neville’s The Eight? Assassin’s Gambit sounds very different from them, but if you like stories involving chess, those are two I very much enjoyed. Have a great week!
Thanks! I haven’t read either of those (yet), but I’ll look into them. I actually can’t play chess either. My sons are the ones who play. They inspired parts of the book because I would go to their chess tournaments and hear them talk about their games in this totally arcane language that made sense to other chess players but was nonsensical to me. Yet I could follow their conversations, in a way, by listening to the emotional content. I realized I could replicate that experience in the novel, and I’ve got my hero and heroine talking about the game in an arcane language that the reader doesn’t understand technically but can pick up the gist of emotionally.
Hi, Amy. I’m a bit late dropping in. Can’t wait to get my hands on Assassin’s Gambit. It sounds really good. Marlene’s book sounds great, too. I’m a sucker for historicals/parallel universe kinds of stories. I used to love that show, “Sliders,” where they jumped through a wormhole into a completely new Earth. I particularly remember an episode where the plague was rampant because penicillin hadn’t been invented yet, and one of the sliders had to invent it before they all died … and another one where they thought they’d made it home — until they saw the Azure Gate Bridge.
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