As I understand it, the Next Big Thing originated on the She Writes site, and is designed to raise awareness of our work, or work in progress. We do that by answering ten questions about it. We graciously thank the person who nominated us, and tag five other authors whose work could well be that NEXT BIG THING.
Without further ado:
1. What is the title of your next book?
Malavita (Blood and Honor Prequel). Malavita is Italian for "bad life" and refers to the criminal underworld inhabited by the Mafia. Although the other books in my series feature adult protagonists, this one features two teenagers coping with Mafia life and the hatred between their families. Technically, it's a young adult book, but the themes in this story are very, very adult.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Earlier this year, I published the first two books (Revenge and Retribution) in my romantic suspense series, Blood and Honor, which is set in Italy among the Calabrian Mafia. Book 1, Revenge, refers to certain events in the past (namely the marriage between Enrico Lucchesi and Antonella Andretti) that put to bed the long-standing feud between the Lucchesi and Andretti families, a feud that erupts all over again in Revenge.
When I'd originally written Revenge, some of the events leading up to the marriage were recounted through flashbacks, but I chose to cut those scenes to quicken the pace. However, I've heard from readers who wanted to know more about how this marriage came to be, since these families hate each other so passionately in Revenge, so I decided to flesh out the "before" story that had been banging around in my head.
Romantic suspense. I try to maintain a 60/40 suspense-to-romance ratio in these stories. The first two books in the series have been described as "well-executed, gritty, and real" and as "hot steamy romance and blood-curdling action" with "realistic characters and an exciting plot," so that should give you some idea of what these books are like!
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ooh, this is a toughie! Enrico and Antonella are both in their teens and I can't think of any teenage actors that look like what I'm picturing in my head. Here are some photos that come close:
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The son of a Mafia don must learn to forgive the horrible crime committed against his family--and to accept his love for the daughter of the man who committed that crime--in order to end the bloody feud between two warring Mafia families.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published. I'm targeting December 2012/January 2013.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm still writing it!
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
If you loved Sempre by J.M. Darhower or Crow's Row by Julie Hockley, you'll probably love Malavita.
9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The readers who asked for more about Enrico and Antonella's marriage, and also Natalie G. Owens, who encouraged me to write the prequel when I was dithering about taking the time off from book 3 (Redemption) to write Malavita.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Think "The Godfather" meets "Romeo & Juliet." Scheming, treachery, murder, secrets, the passion of first love, the desire for vengeance—it's all there! Here's the full description of Malavita:
A boy determined to avenge his family. A girl desperate for peace.
A father intent on destruction…
Eighteen-year-old Enrico Lucchesi never wanted anything to do with the Mafia. But when his brothers were murdered, he accepted that he would someday be the next don. However, he doesn’t accept that he must marry the teenage daughter of the man who killed them. Enrico will never trust an Andretti, never mind love one. The Andrettis are up to something with their so-called “truce”—and Enrico must avenge his siblings. But will his dark secret spell the end of his vengeance—and possibly the Lucchesis?
Antonella Andretti unfortunately inherited the infamous Andretti “beak” and despairs of ever being noticed, much less loved—until the day Enrico Lucchesi defends her from schoolyard bullies. When her father tries to destroy the Lucchesis, she persuades him that an alliance—achieved by her marriage to Enrico—would be in everyone’s best interests. As her wedding day approaches, people close to her father start dying, and her fiancé’s behavior is suspect. When she learns Enrico’s true feelings about her—and what her father’s actual plans are—will Antonella damn their families to eternal war, or will she broker a peace that might destroy her heart?
Now it's time to pass the torch to several deserving authors so they can tell you about their amazing work. Their posts (which will have the same title: The Next Big Thing Blog Hop) will be live on or around November 28. Here they are:
Stacy Green Whisenand
Thank you for joining me on The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I hope you'll visit my nominees next week when they post their answers to the ten questions.