Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Chain

by Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

So, a couple weeks ago, fellow Sister in Crime Nancy Adams tagged me in this blog chain project called "The Next Big Thing." Essentially, authors answer ten questions about their current work in progress, then tag someone else. I had a bit of a hard time deciding what to answer the questions on, but I think I'm going to use the ebook that is currently in production. So here goes:

What is the working title of your book?

Hero's Sword: Power Play

Hero's Sword is the name of the series, also the name of the video game that figures in the story. Power Play is the name of the first installment. Think political grab for power, not the hockey term.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This was one of those social media networking, "you never know what's going to happen," kind of things. I got a message via a long-time technical writing colleague that he had this friend who had an idea for an ebook and I should contact him. So I did, and pitched my credentials. His idea was for a "chapter book" series. If you think of the popular Magic Treehouse books, you'll get the idea. Except he was looking at the increasing numbers of kids in the 6-10 year old demographic using ereaders, so the series would be all digital. His idea surrounded a video game, but he was open to other ideas. I liked the concept, however, so I expanded on it - she is sucked into the game via a new game controller, where she has to become her game avatar, a "hero" of the land, and save the day. And while each book has it's own episode, there is a bigger story arc, since his vision was for a series of 10-12 books.

What genre does the book fall under?

It's a fantasy. I mean, what kid doesn't fantasize about being a hero or "living" the story of a video game?

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Oh my gosh. For Jaycee/Lyla, I'd probably go with Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. She's a little old, though as Jaycee is 13. But it's the same spunky female character. The other big character, Roger Woodbridge, is a father-style figure, so I'm not sure. Liam Neeson really appeals to me for that, although he too might be a tad old.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When she is magically transported into a video game, Jaycee Hiller must become her avatar, the hero Lyla Stormbringer, to save the lady of Mallory and learn a little about herself along the way.

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

It is going to be independently published. That is, my partner is handling the bulk of the publishing details, but it's not going through a traditional publishing house, I don't have an agent, and I get a lot of input on things like cover art.

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

The first draft took about three weeks. It was during the summer and I was unemployed so I had a lot of free time for writing.

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

The Magic Treehouse is probably the best comparison I know - both for length and genre. In both series, kids are magically transported to another place to solve a problem.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Well, I was unemployed, first of all. =) Second, I also see more kids reading ebooks these days, either on their own Kindles/iPads or using Mom and Dad's, so I thought the market was there. And I've never written for this grade level, so the challenge of doing so was appealing.

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

Jaycee is a girl, but I think her problems - having a crush, being on the outs with the "popular" crowd in school - are typical of a lot of kids between 8-10. So I hope she is an inspiration for any kid, girl or boy, who doesn't quite "fit" and is searching for self identity in the face of the school bullies (physical or social). I deliberately tried to avoid the "girly" stuff so that boys would find Jaycee an engaging character. And she's not a "girly girl." I wasn't one myself in middle school, and there weren't a lot of literary characters I could related to in that way.

Well, this was fun! I'm still working on people to tag, so check back later to see how successful I was.
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If you are interested in continuing the chain, here are the rules:
  • Use this format for your post.
  • Answer the ten questions (above) about your current WIP (work in progress).
  • Tag five other writers/bloggers and link to them (be sure to line them up in advance).


  1. Nice post, Mary. Sounds like you got yourself a winner there!

    1. Thanks, Joyce. I'm hoping the first one will be published in time for the holidays. Those who've read it liked it. =)