The Next Big Thing

          So, I've been tagged by Michelle Robinson in an internet meme called "The Next Big Thing" where creative types answer a series of questions about their latest projects. Here goes:

What's the title of your next book?
For now it's called Bruno and Titch but that might all change closer to publication time.

Where did the idea come from?
It began with the rather sinister idea of an inventor boy getting a guinea pig to try out his outlandish inventions on. Since then it has changed considerably and now it has a lot more heart. I seem to be establishing a pattern where I begin with two characters and one is inclined to torment the other. Then the publisher steps in and reins in the evil thoughts and what comes out is a picture book that resembles something more suitable for publication. Bruno is a spirited, inventive, energetic boy who is extremely excited about his new pet. Titch is just an innocent little guinea pig who has bitten off more than he can chew.

What genre does your book fall under?
Strictly speaking, picture books. So about ages 2 - 6, but show me an adult who doesn't enjoy a good picture book...surely no such person exists?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 
For Bruno, an English-speaking version of the boy in La Vita é Bella. Spirited and imaginative.

For Titch, presumably an enormously gifted guinea pig star, yet to be discovered. I'll be directing some auditions soon: Killer Fringe a Definite Requirement.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
It will be published by Walker Books some time in 2014. My lovely agent is Penny Holroyde at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Anxious guinea pig wants nothing more than to go to his new Forever Home but gets more than he bargained for when he meets a new friend, Bruno.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It's hard to say because it's such a gradual process and also a dual process between the words and pictures. I've been working on the whole thing on and off since about June but I've been working (reluctantly) in my day job too and on other projects at the same time. Writing an actual first draft didn't take too long but I spent a long time on the groundwork beforehand.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
I can't think of any similar stories in picture books, I hope there aren't any. In terms of the type of relationship between two characters, maybe a cross between Joel Stewart's Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie and Oliver Jeffer's penguin and boy books. (I do like to flatter myself by comparing myself to these two).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I suppose I was struck by the opportunity for humour where the guinea pig was concerned and felt a fondness for the characters that I wanted to bring to life.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Did I mention Titch's killer fringe?

Who are you passing the baton onto for next week's Next Big Thing?
I'm passing it on to the wonderful author/illustrator Faye Hanson whose highly detailed, sumptuous books are so clever and beautiful.

And please have a look at Michelle's blog and recent Next Big Thing post, I really look forward to her witty blog updates.