The Next Big Thing
A week ago, Jason Nahrung tagged me to post for The Next Big Thing blog chain. In the 80s, when I was a kid, chain letters came on paper and promised good things for copying them out and passing them on. So in homage to that era, which also brought us Fraggle Rock, She-Ra, The Bangles, Jem, and Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego, I’m delighted that it’s now my turn for this writerly conversation. 🙂 This is how it works — I’ll answer 10 questions about my book, then I’ll tag other writers to do the same next week.
So here we go …
1) What is the working title of your next book?
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
In 2005, I was a medical student on placement in north-west Queensland. A lot of weird stuff happened that I’ve kept on mental file. The right circumstances converted those mental files into the bedrock for this book (see also question 9).
3) What genre does your book fall under?
I call this rural medical romance – rural settings, medical details, romance between the two worlds. 🙂
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmmmm … I don’t visualise characters like this. So, that’s a tough one. I’m more likely to try to shoehorn an actor I like into a role, which is arse-backwards. This is why I’m a writer and not a casting agent. *an hour passes as I “audition” various actors using the power of the interwebz*. Ahem … In the spirit of my first novel, I’m going to say that ideally, the actors shall be awesomely talented and yet undiscovered Australian up-and-comers. 😉 But in the absence of that, let’s have:
- Mia Wasikowska perhaps for Dr Daniella Bell. I loved her in Jane Eyre.
- Chris Hemsworth for Mark Walker 😉 If New Zealand can do norse gods in Auckland, I reckon I can cast one for north-west Queensland. Besides, since book 2 will feature Mark’s brother, another Hemsworth could fill in for that role too!
- Keisha Castle-Hughes could play Jackie beautifully.
- Matthew Le Nevez could play Dave Cooper.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Promising young doctor Daniella Bell takes a temporary job in remote Ryders Ridge to escape a professional secret and falls in love with a determined cattle station heir.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Ryders Ridge will be published by Hachette Australia in April 2013. I’m not agented at this time. 🙂
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Three weeks for the 90,000 word draft. Yes, that’s right. *feels the green glow of dagger eyes everywhere*. Three weeks was my window between two paying jobs, so I treated it as a professional exercise to get it done in that time (for QWC members, I wrote about it for WQ in November 2011). The draft had two structural edits before being ready – all up I think it was around nine weeks work, some full-time and some part-time.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I find myself thinking more about A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors and All Creatures Great and Small because of the medical angle in this story, but brought up to more modern times. Plenty of awesome Australian writers write stories that capture the rural heart of Australia – Fleur McDonald, Rachael Treasure, Mandy Magro, to name just a few. In concept and background, I probably share more in common with Loretta Hill, except that I’m writing with a medical context.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My writing group, the Brisbane floods, and a whole lot of weird (in the original meaning) stuff. I’d been writing seriously for several years and had three manuscripts and a bunch of short stories under my belt. But after the 2011 floods, I went to Sydney to work. I met people there who opened new windows in my world view. When I came back, I was looking for a new direction. We were on our writers’ retreat and were talking about rural romance. I realised I’d had experiences I could write about. Three weeks later, I had the first draft.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you like shows set in the medical world like ER, A Country Practice or The Flying Doctors/RFDS, this book is certainly set amidst reasonably realistic medical drama and in a small town, with the spice of secrets, romance, and danger. And if you fancy sitting ringside at a rodeo or campdraft, Ryders Ridge will take you there, and with friends you’d like to know.
That’s it from me. Now, to the chain part of this process … I tag these writerly friends to follow on next week. You’re it!