The Next Big Thing

Today I’m participating in THE NEXT BIG THING. It’s a blog hop that began in Australia and went international. The purpose is to get the word out on middle grade and YA writers and their current or upcoming books. Each of us answers the same set of questions, and we “tag” two other authors who will do the same thing the following week. My friend and writing buddy, Denise Vega, tagged me, so here goes.

What is the working title of your next book?

My next book is for the adult market.  I think teens who like romance and have read Pride & Prejudice will like it! It’s called The Pursuit of Mary Bennet, coming in November 2013. I’m going to talk about Kissing Shakespeare today, though, since it’s definitely a YA!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’d been wanting to write something that combined historical and contemporary. When I read about Shakespeare possibly having been a schoolmaster as a teen, I immediately started thinking about the possibilities. It was too intriguing to pass up!

What genre does your book come under?

I refer to it as a time travel fantasy, but of course it’s also historical and has a huge romantic element.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow! What a fun question.

Miranda: Shailene Woodley (she was actually suggested by someone on Twitter.  I agree she’s a good choice! She played George Clooney’s daughter in The Descendants.)

Stephen:  Kit Harington (Jon Snow in Game of Thrones)

Shakespeare: Nicholas Hoult (Jack the Giant Slayer)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

High school senior Miranda travels back to sixteenth century England with her intriguing guide, Stephen, in order to help prevent Shakespeare from taking a very different path in life than the one he was meant for.

Who published your book?

Delacorte Press

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I began in 2007 and the book sold in 2010. It was very heavy on research: the religious, political, cultural history of the Elizabethan period, Shakespeare, Edmund Campion, the workings of time travel, and more. I love the research, but it definitely slows down the process.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

Gary Blackwood’s books, about a Yorkshire boy who comes to London to work for Shakespeare’s acting company (The Shakespeare Stealer and others); Carolyn Meyer’s books, especially Loving Will Shakespeare, and Eve Edwards’s The Lacey Chronicles. Also, Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. These books are all set in the Tudor era. Kissing Shakespeare has the time travel element, whereas the others I mentioned are straight historicals.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The initial inspiration came from reading about Shakespeare’s life and what he might have done before he married, and prior to going to London. But it was my husband who encouraged me to stick with it when I was discouraged. Writing a book with Shakespeare as one of the main characters is intimidating, and I was afraid I couldn’t pull it off!

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Imagine yourself suddenly transported back to Shakespeare’s time. No modern plumbing, strange and unpalatable foods (like mutton!), odd customs (such as drinking ale at every meal), barely comprehensible English, no electricity or modern technology, and very weird clothing worn in layers to keep warm! These were all things Miranda had to contend with.

So that’s it for Kissing Shakespeare. Next week look for Chris Myers’s and Lindsay Eland’s questions and answers. Chris is the author of Date with the Dead and Lindsay wrote Scones and Sensibility. They’re both writing about new books.






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