Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Next Big Thing: Wolf Island

I've been tagged in The Next Big Thing meme, where writers talk about their work-in-progress. So here I'm getting my meme on.

(I'm not tagging anyone, as I think most people I know were tagged last year.)

1. What is the working title of your next book?

Wolf Island

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the wild, wolves live as families. The nature of these families is flexible, and wolves in different areas may have different family setups, but they're still families. Unrelated wolves may join packs sometimes, but we're talking about the unrelated wolf being adopted into the family, not an alpha taking over by force or anything of that nature.

The whole alpha and beta thing was based on observations of wolves in zoos, where adult wolves were forced together in small enclosures. This wouldn't happen in the wild. Scientists have realised it was a mistake to apply the zoo behaviour to the wild for a long time, but fantasy authors have yet to get the memo (for the most part).

I didn't set out to write a werewolf book, but the lack of real wolf behaviour bothered me. So I ended up writing about a pack forming in wild wolf style. Unrelated young wolves placed together, with enough space to go their own ways if they wanted. The island is a prison, but it's not a tiny zoo cage. The pack is a family, not a strict hierarchy system.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy

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

No idea. I don't cast my books, but even if I did, the people I write about are often under-represented in the acting world. The two older teens are a British Indian girl and a Black British boy. The ideal actors are likely to be unknowns who've been struggling to get roles.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When Anjali's werewolfism is discovered, she's sent to a nature reserve in the Hebrides, allegedly for her own good.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I plan to query agents and try publisher submission calls. After that, who knows.

7. How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I work on several projects at once and I don't time them, so I don't know.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It has more in common with other wilderness survival books, than it does with other werewolf books. But there are some appropriative aspects of the young adult survival genre that I don't like. There's a tendency to appropriate indigenous spiritualties, so the characters can have a spiritual encounter. As such, I don't want to make direct comparisons to those books.

But imagine a book where teens survive on an island and add wolves.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Outside of the general grumbling about wolf behaviour, I'm also interested in the history and ecology of the Hebrides. Some of the islands are pretty big and have deer and ponies. There are also a number that were once inhabited, and all that's left now are old buildings. (Wolf Island isn't a specific island. It's a mashup of interesting bits of the other islands.)

10.What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

There's also sheep! But no weresheep. And the two main characters are friends rather than dating, for fans of low-romance books.

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