The Next Big Thing

Nominee: The Gift: Awakening by J.P.McLean

What a great idea!

Mike Grant, author of White Wolf Moon graciously nominated me for The Next Big Thing blog hop.  It’s an opportunity for fellow writer/bloggers to give a shout-out to those who inspire, educate and entertain us.  Thanks, Mike, I’m flattered and happy to participate.

The first book of The Gift Trilogy, The Gift: Awakening, was published in September, 2012.  I will direct my answers here to the second book, The Gift: Revelation which will be published in late spring, 2013.  Here goes…

What is the working title of your book?

The Gift: Revelation.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s an Urban Fantasy Thriller, which is a genre I didn’t even know existed prior to writing the first book.  The genre discussion is an interesting one.  It’s currently a popular topic on the Goodreads’ Urban Fantasy group discussion forum.  As I understand it, the urban fantasy genre definition has morphed over time.  There’s no shortage of opinion about what exactly “urban” refers to.  I’ve heard it used to describe stories set in an urban environment and I’ve also heard it used to refer to low-fantasy (versus high-fantasy, such as JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings).  For whatever it’s worth, The Gift: Revelation fits into the low-fantasy end of the scale.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

It’s perhaps best summarized by a Tennyson quote from The Ancient Sage, 1885, “The shell must break before the bird can fly.”

In my own words, The Gift: Revelation is the continuing story of Emelynn Taylor, whose life was inexorably shaped by an unbidden gift, and who is now pursued and forced to peel back the painful layers of her gift’s secret to expose deceptions and confront the dark underbelly of a world she can’t escape.

Where did you get the idea for your book?

This second book was a natural extension of the story arc from the first book. There were many facets of Emelynn Taylor’s life and her gift that had potential for exploration and development.  I’d been enjoying the writing process too much to abandon it after the original book was published, so I played around with some ideas and next thing I knew, a second book was born and the third was incubating.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The who was Stephenie Meyer who wrote the Twilight books.  When I came across her bio and learned that her books sprung from a single scene, it inspired me to start small and build it out.  It worked.

The what, was a cool, rainy, dull west coast winter.  The dreary hockey-season weather came on the heels of three sunny winters spent in Tucson, AZ.  Daydreaming chased the chill away.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took about six months to actually write, but many additional hours were spent contemplating the project before I started writing in earnest.  Another important qualifier is that I’m unbelievably fortunate not to have to divide my time among competing interests, like a day-job, children or ailing parents.  I happily spend the bulk of my days writing or re-writing.

What other books would you compare this story with in your genre?

I feel like such a poser answering this question because the comparisons presumptuously juxtapose my writing with other more highly-sought-after work.  Keeping that in mind, here are the suggestions.  The first comparison I heard was J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.  It’s not the one I would have picked, but I understand the comparison.  Personally, I thought the comparison was more in line, but not as intense, as Stephen King’s Carrie. When I wrote the books, I aimed for realism: a story that made the reader believe that they could be living next door to the characters.  From that perspective, The Gift books are similar to Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books or Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books, but without the vampires and werewolves.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I haven’t a clue, but I’d be very interested in readers’ opinions.  An overwhelming number of readers have told me they believe The Gift books would be readily adaptable to the big screen.  I’m not sure that’s the case, but I’m willing to dream.  When I was writing the characters, I’d often flip through magazines to look for a face I thought fit my imaginary character.  I’d clip the face out and it would help me visualize the characters as I wrote.  I still have those clippings, including images I selected for Emelynn, Jackson and Sandra, but unfortunately, I don’t know the models’ names.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will once again self-publish via FriesenPress, which is based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  I like the description of self-publishing that I recently heard from Guy Kawasaki, co-author of A.P.E. (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur) How to Publish a Book. He defined self-publishing as Artisanal Publishing.   He explained that, like micro breweries, the artisanal author prefers to maintain tight controls over all aspects of their work, thereby producing a superior product.  Absent deep pockets, this artisanal author doesn’t really have much of a choice in the matter, but I like the definition.

What else about your book might pique your reader’s interest?

As one of The Gift’s reviewers commented, the book has a wide appeal.  “It’s got something for everyone – a little romance, humour, drama, sex, suspense. A completely satisfactory read.”  It’s a story that will sweep you up and make you ponder the impossible, maybe even make you believe that the unbelievable is happening right now, all around you.  It’s a great escape.

The final step to this Next Big Thing nomination is to pay it forward.  I have selected five writers and bloggers who inspire, motivate, entertain and educate me.  Not everyone I nominated is working on a book, but who knows what the future holds!  It’s my pleasure to nominate the following writers:

Gary Mondejar, blogger and writer at heart

Linda Poitevin, author of the Grigori Legacy Series

Nina Munteanu, writing coach and author of The Last Summoner and many others

James J. Murray, author of Prescription for Murder

Cristian Mihai, author and creative force behind Irevuo Magazine

Thanks for hanging in right to the end.  The Next Best Thing nomination is an innovative idea and I’m happy to support it and pass it along.

J.P. McLean

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About JP McLean

Author of The Gift Legacy, a contemporary thriller with a twist of fantasy that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night sky…
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