The Next Big Thing

I was tagged by the lovely and talented Kate Robbins to do this Next Big Thing thing. She’s an imaginary writer in my writers group. She’s way off in Newfoundland and Skype’s in from time to time but is very mysterious because we’ve never really met her. She could just be a figment of my imagination. Either way, I’m doing this thing and talking about my current work in progress, The Devil Made Me Do It. Ooooo scary.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Ummm, I guess I spoiled the first question in the intro. Dammit, I’m screwing this thing up already! I hope Kate is imaginary otherwise she’ll be all upset. The Devil Made Me Do It is the name of my next book.


2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s the second in a planned trilogy, so it’s The Empire Strikes Back of the books. The Demons Strike Back. I didn’t think I had a big enough villain in the first book, Speak of the Devil which is due out March 15 in case you’re new here, and I knew that the bad guys have to get the upper hand in the second book, so I went with the biggest villain the angels could have, the Devil.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

YA Paranormal… the first one was YA Paranormal Romance, bu this one probably doesn’t fall under that category as much. It doesn’t play by the romance rules. It’s more about Lily’s development than the relationship.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I recently came across a picture of Candice Accola who plays Caroline on The Vampire Diaries where she’s a bit younger and has red hair. That’s totally Lily. She’s not all made up with false eyelashes. She’s very natural.

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I like Chord Overstreet from Glee as Luc.
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5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Lily is taken to Hell and desperately needs to get back to Earth to Luc and the angels, but can she escape before Lucifer uses her to seal the fate of God forever?

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I haven’t sold this book yet, but plan to query Crescent Moon Press who published the first book in the series, Speak of the Devil.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
8 months, but I was working on edits for Speak of the Devil for the first few months at the same time. I probably didn’t really focus on TDMMDI full time until a few months ago.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t read nearly enough books in my genre to be able to answer that question very well. It sounds similar to the blurbs for the Fallen series by Lauren Kate and the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick, but I haven’t read them. Part of me doesn’t want to read anything too similar for fear of accidentally “borrowing” things or being influenced, so that I am thinking of someone else’s story rather than my own.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The deaths of three friends of mine in a car accident when I was in high school inspired the first book. Some of the non-paranormal elements are based on things that happened to me. I lost my friends, I moved to my dad’s, I met a new, interesting group of friends and had to come to terms with the tragedy and with the fact that I had been invited to go with those friends in their car with them, but ended up having to work. I had to work through a lot of guilt and grief. Writing about it was a way to process some of that, even this much later in life. Not that it made it okay and all better, but it helped me understand it and gave me a way to explain it in a way that gave it meaning and a hopeful explanation.

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

This book was extremely fun to write. I got to take Lily to the darkest place imaginable and have her interact with supreme evil and madness, but also didn’t want to just have the devil be evil. Bad guys aren’t bad guys in their own minds. They believe what they’re doing is right, so I got to try to explain why Lucifer does what he does and how, so that he was evil but justifies everything he has done. On the days I wrote about the devil, the writing just flew by. I kind of wanted the log line for this book to be “Go to Hell.” It’s the middle book in the series, so it is the low point for our heroine and she has to realize her power to find a way out.

One last thing about this book is that I had a LOT of serendipity moments with it. I knew I wanted to do something with the names Luc and Lily, and I had a surface knowledge of who Lilith was from the Bible, but when I dug deeper and found out her name meant “dark demon,” I was like, “whoa, perfect.” Then I came across a story online called The Myth of Lilith that was all about how she used mirrors to abduct children from their rooms. I’d already written about the ornate green room mirror in Speak of the Devil right at the end, so that seemed to flow really well into the mirror myth for The Devil Made Me Do It. I was looking for a gothic style church in Kansas City, where I’m from and the story is set, and asked around. No one could really help me, so I googled it, and a huge church on Westport came up that I was familiar with and low and behold it’s actual name was the Church of the Guardian Angels. Lots of cool things happened throughout, and they all tied into the theme. Mirrors are important because they are reflections of ourselves and how young women view themselves is usually less than they are. So it’s about how Lily sees herself compared to how she really is, what her strengths are, what her power is and about her learning to use it and not give it away. Mirrors are a very female image too, like water in a reflective pool and the moon.

I’m really pleased with it and had a lot of fun writing it.

I’m tagging the following folks:
Wendy Russo
Constance Phillips

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6 Responses to The Next Big Thing

  1. Kate Robbins says:

    Great post, Shawna! I am so sorry to learn about your friends. Lily’s despair held me captivated in Speak of the Devil, but I had no idea those events were based on your real experiences. I can relate to channeling the pain of loss. Writing is such wonderful therapy, isnt’ it?

    Looking forward to TDMMDI! Likes me a bit of Luc I do. 🙂

  2. Love how this series is turning out!

    I’m looking forward to the reads,

    Tara

  3. Rebecca says:

    Good Luck with shopping your book around. It looks very interesting.

  4. Shawna says:

    Thanks everybody! Yes, Kate, Luc is dreamy. So glad you’re enjoying SotD, Connie!

  5. Nikki McIntosh says:

    Okay, now I have to go rethink all my character names …. yours actually have meaning while mine were chosen because they didn’t start with the same letter as any other character! 🙂

    Great post Shawna .. looking forward to the book release!!!

  6. Shawna says:

    Oh God,in rereading TDMMDI, I realized I have Luc, Lily, Lucifer, Lilith… Mike, Mo, Mya….Kara, Cassie… I was like… yikes, not good but SotD made it through, so I can’t change it now!

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