Thanks to Vanessa Couchman, for tagging me in The Next Big Thing Blog. Vanessa is a fellow member of Writers Abroad and a talented, versatile writer. She puts her writing skills to use in her day job as a corporate business writer and regularly writes non-fiction pieces for various markets. Vanessa has also had success in the short story and flash fiction market and has won a Writing Magazine competition for one of her pieces, a prestigious accolade in the writing world. And just lately she has turned her writing hand to more longer pieces, having participated in NaNoWriMo 2012 with her project, The House of Zaronza – her Next Big Thing.
What is the working title of your next book?
Ha, I had to laugh at next… all my ‘books’ are works in progress. But I do have plans to have ‘The Duke’s Shadow’ published by hook or by crook this year – 2013.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It actually came from another book by Bill Bryson, ‘Notes from a
’. He makes reference to visiting
Welbeck Abbey, which once belonged to family seat of the Dukes of Portland. The
fifth Duke of Portland, known as the Mad Duke, was a bit of a mystery but he
invested a lot of time and money in the Abbey. It has a vast array of
underground tunnels which meant he could get in and out without being seen and
a due to his love of horses he built the second largest riding house in the
country. He also made a large rink for roller skating when it became
fashionable. On further reading of this introverted but fascinating man, I
discovered a rumour that he had a second identity, which has never been proven,
but which I have fictionalised for the purposes of my novel. Tiny Island
What genre does your book fall under?
I would say first and foremost historical, though many historians might beg to differ. I work on the pretext that historians write about facts and historical writers tell the story.
Which actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Colin Firth for the Duke; Maggie Smith for his mother, The Duchess (if she hadn’t already been taken for Downton so I’ll have to think of someone else); Alex Kingston for his sister, Lottie; Elizabeth Taylor look for his spurned lover the opera singer and Annette Benning for Amelia, the woman he marries. For the creepy butler, Mabbot I would have to cast John Malcovic, though he might even be too creepy! Such Fun!
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
William Kenilworth is a young aristocrat who was never born to be a duke, when his elder brother dies he creates a second identity which he hopes will give him the life he yearns for whilst serving his obligations to his family and his legacy.
Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
I would love to be represented by an agency but need to buckle down to a marketing plan. If not I will self publish the novel.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
30 days as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge 2011, though I did do quite a lot of planning, something I’ve discovered helps my writing, rather than hindering it. I always thought I was a sort of ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kind of writer… but I don’t think anyone is.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I couldn’t possibly say, I told you that I need to work on my marketing strategy!
What or who inspired you to write this book?
Lots of people; my mother, who I lost all sense of communication with due to Alzheimer’s; my writing group, Writers Abroad, all of whom are so constructive and have helped to build my confidence and skills as a writer; and most of all my husband, who always has so much faith in me.
What else about the book might pique the readers interest?
It is set in mid Victorian times when there was a lot of changes going on industrially, culturally and most importantly for women. Although the main character is male, he is very influence by the women in his life and I hope grows as a character because of that. That someone could create a second identity is also an intriguing plot line if not a complicated one and I hope to make the transitions smooth. Truth will out no doubt.
I’m supposed to tag other writers to this, but despite my efforts I have been unable to find anyone who hasn’t already been tagged or has a project which they would like to tag. So if you are reading this and would like to be tagged - shout out and I shall do my duty…