The Next Big thing

I’ve been tagged in this ‘Next Big Thing’ blog chain thingie. The whole thing bamboozled me at first but I think I’ve got the hang of it now! Basically, each week a different author blogs about the book they’re working on next. Last week it was the turn of the fabulous Joanna Nadin ( talking about the long-awaited final instalment of her Rachel Riley Series (can’t wait, Jo!). And now it’s over to me.

Now, if I’d been asked to do this a month ago, I’d have dissolved into a jibbering wreck. I was in despair over my next book and ready to throw the whole thing down the toilet (I think it was Iris Murdoch who said that, ‘Every book is the ruin of a perfect idea’ – so true!). But I’ve just finished a second draft and I’m feeling all buzzy and excited and just a little bit in love with it now. So, I’ve mastered hyperlinks and memes and I’m all raring to go. So here it is – this is my ‘Next Big Thing’.

What’s the title of your next book?

It hasn’t got one yet! I have to submit the manuscript to my publishers in January so it’s just got a working title at the moment. Well, it’s sort of got two working titles and I can’t decide which one I prefer. Ooh – perhaps you can help. What do you think: ‘Looking out for Little Pea’ or ‘Little Pea, the New Kid and Me’ – answers on a postcard please. Oh, or ‘Pea-shooters’ – sometimes I quite like that one? Clearly I’m rubbish at the whole book title bit!

Where did the idea come from?

It was inspired by the 2012 London riots. I wanted to write about three kids from very different background all of whom become involved in the riots for different reasons – and about the fall-out when they do.

What genre does your book fall under?

I suppose it’s a mixture between comedy and gritty social realism – which sounds odd but there you have it. Think Frank Cottrell Boyce meets Pigeon English, I suppose!

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

Definitely Malcolm Kamulete who starred in ‘Top Boy’ for Tokes because I always had him in mind when I was writing the character. And maybe a young Dakota Blue Richards for Zenna – if we can find a time machine and make her 12/13 again!

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A hilarious and heartbreaking tale of three kids who set out to make a movie and end up involved in a riot, in a summer that will change their lives forever.

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

It will be published by Egmont and is currently scheduled for release in January 2014

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

About 7 months

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
‘Framed’ or ‘The Unforgotten Coat’ by Frank Cottrell Boyce; a younger version of ‘Pigeon English’ by Stephen Kelman; or ‘The Outsiders’ by S E Hinton. Oh, there’s a bit of ‘Cat and Mouse’ by Cathy Cassidy too!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired by the London riots, an amazing TV series called ‘Top Boy’, the kids I worked with on inner city project in London, and on a programme for street children in South Africa– oh, and ‘Made in Chelsea’!

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

I commit literary murder for the first time! Yes, somebody dies – it’s the first time I’ve ever killed a character on page and I found it really, really hard. I cried buckets and buckets when I wrote that chapter and I sob like a baby every time I read it!

Who are you passing the baton to for next week’s Next Big Thing?

To my lovely schoolyard author pals:

Fleur Hitchcock

Maudie Smith

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