The Next Big Thing...Or So

I was asked by Anne Elisabeth Stengl if I wanted to participate in a blog hop featuring authors' "next big things."  Hmm...yes, please!  (Be sure to read her post on her soon-to-release novel Dragonwitch here!) Unfortunately, I've been reduced to dragging my heels about it trying to figure out which of my three novels I'm going to feature.  Adamantine is written, Plenilune's first draft has been completed (!!), and Gingerune I haven't even started yet, but I am actively working on each of them almost at once and none of them has an agent or publisher yet.  Except for the small differences of "finished," "nearly finished," and "unbegun," they are all fairly equal.

Which is why I'm going to feature all of them!

What are the working titles of your novels?
My "finished" novel is Adamantine, my current work-in-progress is Plenilune, and the novel to come is Gingerune.  With the exception of Gingerune, the titles are real words.  I don't remember making Gingerune up - it sort of made up itself.  Self-generation and all that.  Very Egyptian mythos.

Where did the ideas for your books come from?
The idea for Adamantine, as many of you know, came from my reading of Beowulf in highschool.  Where on earth the fairy element came from I confess I do not recall.  I seem to have a knack for throwing a bunch of otherwise incongruous articles together into the alchemical pot of literature and making something work.  I don't know how I do it.  We all seem to be gullible enough to let me continue.

As for Plenilune, that was a combination of necessity and, again, a number of books that I read.  Adamant's cousin Margaret, who makes a few minor appearances in Adamantine, wound up mysteriously needing a story and so I had to make one up.  I had read J.R.R. Tolkien's Roverandom not long before that, and I had recently completed the enjoyable yet exhausting sojourn through E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros.  Having always wanted to write a novel in such a vein, it was not a difficult step from there to the plot of Plenilune

Gingerune.  That's a tricky one.  It began, I think, as a one-shot that no longer resembles what it has been rapidly growing into over the past few months.  It was a bit more medieval then; it has since launched itself some 3,500 years into the past to an island that Plato has since made eternally famous.  I am not sure what influenced the story - it is not yet done percolating - but I know that several elements that came to light briefly in Adamantine and Plenilune rose to the forefront in Gingerune and will not only heavily influence the plot, but probably be the pivotal elements of the plot.  Concepts such as the abolition of man, the everlasting man, "magic," redemption, religion, several kinds of an abyss...  Oh, it'll be such a lot of fun, and I'll tear my hair out over it because each subsequent novel I write is harder than the one before it because I always get the notion that concepts and elements just a little beyond me are the sorts I want to deal with.  But it helps me grow.

What genres do your books fall under?
Fantasy, hands down.  This is not to say they're all lies and moonshine - the best fantasy, I find, is often some of the truest sort of fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in movie renditions of your novels?
Well, since you asked...

Adamantine: The time I saw my first Top Gear UK episode I saw Richard Hammond (with his hair cut) and I thought, "Rhodri?  What the devil are you doing on the BBC!"  But of course he's not strictly an actor, he's a television presenter - which is kind of the same thing, but not quite.  Second choice, and actual actor, would probably be Blake RitsonCarey Mulligan is a current choice for Adamant - she's got that cute smile and childish face which can easily pass for naivete.  With some of the super-duper CGI methods (courtesy, possibly, of James Cameron's Avatar), I'll bet Chris Hemsworth would make a pretty decent Eikin Thrasirson. Tom Hiddleston (support popular actors!) for the voice of the pooka - that sly, handsome, compelling voice that you like and half-suspect you oughtn't. 

Plenilune: For the fox - easy choice - David Tennant; Rupert de la Mare - also an easy choice - is Richard Armitage.  Abigail supports the role of Skander Rime going to Jonny Lee Miller.  The closest I have found for Margaret is Anne Hathaway, but I don't know if she could play the role.  Oh well, this is about looks, I suppose.  Anne Hathaway would probably do, provided she can be coached to imitate an English accent of a Manchester bent. 

Gingerune:  Give him that curious British style of extremely pale blond hair, and Michael Fassbender would play a good Dream.  I haven't seen her act, but give her ginger hair and Michelle Dockery would make a good imitation of Ginger herself; her daughter Rowena would be well played by Emma Watson.  Not to be cliche (or run the risk of confusing Dream and Maslin, though I hope they look significantly unlike), but I dare say Maslin looks enough like Hugh Jackman to let the Australian stand in for him.  Though, I think Abigail might have taken him for someone.  Oh dear.  We're going to have to shoot our hypothetical films simultaneously if we continue to share actors.  Yay, box-office money.

Give a one-sentence synopsis of each book.
Adamantine: A young Victorian lady must find the heir of Beowulf and restore him to power before the enchantments that hold him seal his death.
Plenilune: When she is shipped off to Naples to catch a foreign suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a very foreign suitor to catch her - and use her to win or lose a world.
Gingerune: Once there were the Earth Masters, then there came the gods, but the old legends are not as musty and dead as Ginger once thought them to be.

Will your books be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am pursuing the route of agency and I would rather not try self-publication.

How long did it take you to write the first drafts of your manuscripts?
Adamantine took me about five years because I was young and foolish and still learning how to be diligent writing an otherwise good plot.  Plenilune I started in September of 2011, so a first draft took me about a year and a half to complete.  I have not yet begun to write Gingerune.  When it comes to the time it will take, your guess is as good as mine and will probably count for just as much in the grand scheme of things.  Which is to say, not much at all.

What other books would you compare these stories to in your genre?
Are we speaking of current novels or novels in existence from any old time period?  I suppose you could say any respectable let's-go-to-another-world fantasy novel (I don't seem to have many outside of Narnia in my library), and The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, and probably Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books, now that I have read one or two of them and look ahead into the prospective future of Gingerune.

Who or what inspired you to write these novels?
I just had a conversation with my father about a single, simple phrase gleaned from Scripture which, when spoken in my hearing, is like a match struck and raised in the vault of a palace that time has buried and mankind has thought was lost.  That phrase is The Zeal of Thy House.  So much is encased in those five words: family, purpose, belonging, passion, a fight to fight, a race to be won, the honour of a name to be upheld.  No matter what books - Beowulf, The Worm Ouroboros - may prompt me to write a novel, that one phrase lies at the root of all my inspiration.
The Zeal of Thy House
And Abigail of Scribbles and Inkstains will also be joining in The Next Big Thing 
Keep your eyes peeled!

8 ripostes:

  1. Ooh...the island that Plato made famous! You've sold me on Gingerune with that line.

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  2. These sound fascinating! I should like very much to read them. Please persevere, with zeal. :-)

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  3. "I seem to have a knack for throwing a bunch of otherwise incongruous articles together into the alchemical pot of literature and making something work. I don't know how I do it. We all seem to be gullible enough to let me continue." That made me chuckle silently, Jenny, because I believe that's how stories come to me in the first place! And yes, I am very gullible ;) I did not suppose that Tolkien's Roverandom had much depth in it as to inspire you in your novel, 'Plenilune'. I have only recently started it (I lie in the first chapter still), and so far it seems like a typical children's faerie-tale. I shall have to dig my nose dipper into that one and see what gems I might mine. I have heard you mention The Worm Ouroboros often. Is that a good tale to read?

    Gah! You have done it again. You've gone and all-over again slain me by merely allowing us these faint glimpses of your stories. I'd never have related C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy to your books!--funny that, because Abigail seems to have been inspired by That Hideous Strength too... I wonder what's that about! Each one of your books, Adamantine and Plenilune and Gingerune have caught me by the throat and made me fascinated to read and live in their world(s).

    The Zeal of Thy House! Oh, Jenny, that's beautiful. That's a wonderful root of inspiration and zeal to write... for His House! I want that to be so for me as well. I pray that God will bless you always in what you write, and may you always glorify and praise and honour Him and Him alone through the fire-breathe of your pen!

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  4. *That was meant to be deeper not dipper :p

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  5. I totally love your base quote: "The Zeal of Thy House" because I read it and thought, "Oh yes! YES! She's pegged it!". I get the zeal. I get the raw red passion and grit. I love it!!

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  6. I'm curious about Margaret's accent now! Is she a middle class sort of a girl or an upper class sort? I only ask because up until the 1950s if you were moneyed and were even middle-middle class in Britain then Received pronunciation was pretty much the only way to speak. My great-grandmother came back from working in America to find that her daughter was speaking like the locals - the horror. She was promptly packed off to boarding school to acquire some polish (poor Granny.)

    /end accent geekery here.

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  7. Katy - Funny you should ask! I know I mentioned it once upon a time (probably in an old Beautiful People post) that Margaret grew up in and around the Manchester (though in Plenilune her family has since moved to the Cumberland area), and acquired by virtue of that strong beginnings of the Manchester accent. Being of the middle class, however (which was part of your question) she has striven to correct that accent with the standard "Received" accent - which was the only way anyone who was anyone ought to speak. :P That's a great question, though. Keeps me on my toes!

    Sonja - If I've got you of all people I know hooked on this concept (seeing as you have your quills sunk in the classics), then I'm doing well.

    Joy - I don't know if you'd like The Worm Ouroboros. I call it Me If I Had Lived A Hundred Years Ago: it's got that raw red passion that Rachel ascribes to me, but it wouldn't be published in the current market. It is too "old-school," too high fantasy, and, while the plot is thoroughly engaging, even I found it exhausting at times. It is so rich, so heavy. It's beautiful, high and mighty - the characters of Lord Juss, Brandoch Daha, Gro, Lady Mevrian, even the Witch-king, are stamped indelibly on my imagination. I was tinder, helpless, unsuspecting tinder, and the world of "many-mountained Demonland" flint and steel, the turning of the pages a spark. I don't know if it is your cup of tea (one might be put off by the use of the word "demon" until it is understood that the word is used in the classical sense) but oh my giddy stars! it's a killer of a story. For a martlet to take me back to Krothering's meads...!

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  8. Hmm, still interested but withholding judgment. I love your words but am still snuffling underneath for whether the meaning is as strong as the speaking. :) "Art is long and time is fleeting." Plato's island-made-famous... wouldn't that be Atlantis, now?

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