Wednesday 20 February 2013

The Next Big Thing

Recently writer Carolann Copland told me about an on-line blogging chain - The Next Big Thing.This is a way for writers to promote their work-in-progress, through answering a series of questions on...well...their Next Big Thing.
Carolann is just finishing her first novel, 'Carousel' and you can read more about it on her own blog, at www.carouselcreates.wordpress.comShe also runs the wonderful Carousel writing centre in the Dublin hills, where she provides courses and workshops for all ages, and one morning a week a 'writers' café', when Carolann provides peace and quiet, buns and coffee, and good conversation with fellow writers. Her website is at Thank you, Carolann,for all your support, and for having enough faith in my Next Big Thing to include me in this blog chain!

 So, here goes:
  What is the working title of your book?
"Despite the Angels" is the final title as the cover has been designed, and can be seen below. My second book, in the same genre, is probably "Revisited Sins".

Where did the idea come from for the book?
We are surprised and delighted if we meet people we know while out and about, and say 'it's a small world'. But many times we spend a whole day in town without meeting anyone. I began to daydream about how we all do get to meet, and who might be in charge of making sure we do. This led to imagining our guardian angels working their socks off to get us all to the right places at the right times!

What genre does the book fall under?
Romance, in its broadest sense. This is a story of love found and lost over 4,000 years and four incarnations; not a modern boy-meets-girl love triangle.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The 'spirit guides', which is the correct term for 'guardian angels' are the main characters in the book. Trynor is Lucy's guide, and I would love Julie Walters in this role. Julian Clary would make a good Jotin, David's guide, as 'angels' have no gender, and he could do the part in a believably androgynous way. The mischievous Roki, Martin's guide, would be a lovely part for Will Smith.

It would be best for the story if all the human parts were played by relatively unknown actors, as there is no main 'star', and as the humans appear in four different lives, this would be a film with many small parts.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Two guardian angels work hard over four thousand years to get Lucy and David together for long enough to raise a baby.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Five years, very part-time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is a hard one, as I have never read a book just like this, despite being a voracious reader. I have written the book I would like to read. There may be similarities to some of Jodi Picoult's less distressing books, and I also feel that readers who enjoy Joanna Trollope will find Despite the Angels satisfactory.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My Dad, Dick Stringer, died far too young, over 20 years ago. When he knew he was dying he told me that one reason he was sad to leave the world was that "I haven't designed a cathedral, or written a novel." (He was a qualified but non-practising architect.) I decided I did not want to be able to say the same thing when my time came, and because i couldn't manage the cathedral, I wrote a book. So this book is dedicated to my dad, as well as to my husband George, who made me get on with it.

What else about your book might pique the readers' interest?
One of the themes in the book is that humans often fail to hear their guides, or angels, when they are offering advice. This led to the title, as humans take action despite the angels having told them not to.... I hope the reader will be led to think about his or her inner wisdom or intuition, and how they might pay it more attention. Some of the parts with frustrated angels are amusing, and this book can be enjoyed by those who have no interest or belief in the existence of invisible spirits.

When and how will it be published?
At the moment Despite the Angels is at the final corrections stage. It should be online for Kindle around Easter 2013, and available online as a paperback shortly afterwards.It will also be available for other e-readers.
I hope Revisited Sins will follow within a year.

And so I pass the baton...

I have chosen to 'tag' three friends who are excellent writers. John Joyce and Kevin Flanagan have already written and published several books, and the only reason Colleen Connolly is still working on her first book is her youth, and her two very small children. She will produce many good works.

John Joyce
John is a marine biologist, and this interest shows up in many of his works.His first books were the Captain Cockle series for children, which featured one of John's other skills - cartooning. Then he wrote The Virtual Trilogy, starting with Virtually Maria. His most recent novel is Fire and Ice, which is about submarines and psychic abilities. His cartoon workbooks are proving very popular, as are his children's cartoon workshops.
Find John on

Colleen Connolly
Colleen is a young Mum, who is working on the first of a planned trilogy of books for young adults set in a dystopian world in our near future.The first book will be called The Preacher's Boy. She also writes bitesized stories about vampires, and these can be found on her blog
Colleen is on Twitter@BabyFacedPreach

Kevin Flanagan
Kevin has had 10 books published, two of which topped the Irish Times best-seller list. His love of writing led him to set up his content creation agency in 2004: BeCreativeMediaGroup which creates magazines and features for some of the world's top publications including: The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, The Sunday Independant and USA Today.
Kevin has written self-help books Listen to your Angel (similar to Despite the Angels, but not fiction!) and Maximum Points - Minimum Panic as well as the first two parts of a Young Adult series called 'Age of Angels'. The angelic theme continues in his thriller The Angel of New York and his recent supernatural earthy romance Illicit Love. 
Kevin has over 16,000 followers on Twitter @AgeOfAngels
He blogs at

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant, Madeline! Delighted to find out so much about your novel and look forward to those who you have tagged as your Next Big Thing!