So, the wonderfully talented fantasy writer Felicity Pulman just tagged me in this Next Big Thing thingy, meaning I now have to answer ten questions about my upcoming Y.A. fantasy…
1) What is the working title of your next book?
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
So many places! Originally Geldred's Lair rose out of a picture puzzle book I was illustrating for Little Hare. But its quest is too frightening for that younger age group.
I wanted to explore a battle of wills and wits between villain and heroine. And the more I got to know my two leads, I realised how equally matched they were in determination and ingenuity.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Y.A. Fantasy. It's set in an alternate Renaissance-styled world. Yes, it is populated by griffins, goblins and dragons. But most of the mythical creature species have been wiped out by progress by the time my story takes place. It's a world at the dawn of manufacturing technology with printing presses, gas street lamps and the first factories. It is recognisable to us today, with its social media, propaganda and celebrity watchers. My heroine Princess Yasmin knows how to milk the press for popularity.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Honestly? For Yasmin? I think I’d prefer for readers to come up with their own ideas as they read the novel. Yasmin is incredibly self assured on the surface. But I would like the actor who plays her to occasionally show vulnerability, too. She's got everything. Gorgeous looks. Brains. Power. Everyone adores her. What nobody really knows is that her family life is shot. All she really wants is to be liked for what she is on the inside.
As for Geldred? Oh, that's easy: Toby Jones who gets togged up in blue dots to play animated characters like Gollum in Lord of the Rings and Dobby in Harry Potter. Isn't he creepy as Gollum?
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Princess Yasmin is abducted by a lonely goblin, and obliged to collect living treasures for his lair…including her best friends.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
We'll wait and see.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
6 months. But it's changed so much since then!
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The story’s mix of action, danger and character development reflects Emily Rodda or John Flanagan.
The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody for its imagined world
The Gone series by Michael Grant for its action and pacing
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Ideas inspired me. What I found most intriguing in writing Geldred’s Lair was the pitched battle of wits between Yasmin and her nemesis, Geldred. It’s a battle along a knife edge. Like Katniss in Hunger Games, my heroine must prove pleasing to the enemy or else lose everything.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Geldred’s Lair can be unpredictable. It promises one plot direction…then thrills with another. Yasmin’s willful determination—at first defined as a character flaw—becomes the strength that saves her and those she loves.
Yasmin’s adventures are many, but I hope your thoughts always revert to two things:
Her impossible predicament. Her lack of control over the outcome.
I hope you'll admire her resourcefulness and forgive her for the risks she takes with others’ lives.