I was tagged by SC Skillman to participate in the “Next Big Thing” blog-hop, as part of a writer’s group encouraging me to take that nerve-wracking step of getting my work out there (thank you very much!). SC Skillman writes romantic suspense novels, and her current release, Mystical Circles, is available on Kindle as well as hardcopy via Amazon and independent book shops in the Warwickshire area.
What is the working title of your book?
It’s had the working title of Full Throttle ever since the idea for this book came to me. That said, I think the phrase is a bit clichéd, so I’m seriously considering changing it. Drift or Shakedown are the possibilities I’ve come up with so far (feel free to critique or offer better ones!).
Where did the idea come from for the book?
My ideas come from part of my brain chewing over lots of things (often without me consciously thinking about them), and then spitting out some combination of them all, with a twist or two thrown in.
The first grain of inspiration was that I wanted to read a book which involved motorsport but had an interesting plot; but there weren’t many which held my attention. The second was the on and off track rivalry between various F1 drivers and teams (from Alonso and Hamilton, Ferrari versus Red Bull, all the way back to Schumacher and Hill, and definitely Senna versus Prost). Add into that the fact that I love rallying and was a massive Colin McRae fan (especially of the way he ignored team orders and annoyed Carlos Sainz at the Rallye Catalunya in 1995) and another seed was sown.
And the final one was my brain going “Oooh … what if this happened…?”
What genre does your book fall under?
I’d say action, suspense, and possibly thriller.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is going to be a very random cast list, but these are the people who bear reasonable resemblances to my characters:
- Lynne Marshall (protagonist and rally driver): Emily Blunt (maybe plus about five years!).
- Lars Eriksson (Lynne’s friend and co-driver): I haven’t seen anyone who looks exactly like Lars, however, Douglas Johansson would look like his older brother (and yes, I know how insane that sounds).
- Alistair Dunbar (rally driver and Lynne’s team mate): Kevin McKidd (well, probably – he’s the most like Ally I’ve seen!).
- Jari Korhonen (rally driver and Alistair’s title rival): Marc Warren.
- Darren Copley (F1 driver and Lynne’s fiancé): Tom Ellis.
- Mark Wharncliffe (F1 driver, Darren’s team mate, and Lynne’s brother-in-law): If you could knock about ten years off Martin Freeman and make him a Yorkshireman, he’d be perfect for the role.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Lynne Marshall is about to realise her long-held dream of competing in the World Rally Championship – despite her fiancé, Darren Copley’s misgivings – but the shattering past she’s fought so hard to leave behind refuses to let her get away.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I want to find a literary agency and go from there to publication, as soon as I’ve stopped procrastinating completed writing a synopsis. I have seriously considered self-publishing, but I’m leaving that as an option for now.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Er … I first knocked out a very rough draft of a short story with these characters in *cough* 1995 (yes, really).
I started writing this novel seriously in mid-2007, and my first draft was completed in mid-2009. I was almost published with a cooperative publisher at the beginning of 2010, but we ended up shelving it: the novel needed some work, and for various personal reasons (including my motorbike accident) I just completely lost any capability to write well.
It was about a year before I was able to look at the book again – this time with fresh eyes, which was actually very useful – and I completed this current draft at the end of 2011. I’ve since given it a few tweaks in response to feedback. But I could keep tweaking this book forever and a day!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It might have something of Michael Crichton’s Airframe about it – a technical subject matter, with a strong female lead character. In terms of my writing style, I’ve absorbed a lot from reading authors like Terry Pratchett and Christopher Brookmyre – there is action, but there’s humour in places, too.
That said, my mother-in-law compared Full Throttle to novels by Mary Higgins Clark!
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I wouldn’t have completed this book without the love, support, and patience of my husband, Dave – who tolerates me talking about the people who live only in my head, and kindly gives up the laptop so I can write. Much as he says he doesn’t think he helps, he’s an excellent sounding-board and sanity-checker, too.
As for why this storyline … I read a few novels mixing thriller and motorsport during the 1990s, and they struck me as being like James Bond without the spying (I wasn’t much of a Bond fan when I was 16!). I wanted to do something a bit different. I also wanted a book where women had other things to do besides throw themselves at the handsome male protagonist.
I suppose I just wanted to write a book that I wanted to read!
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Lynne is a strong and complicated lead character, and she’s no shrinking violet. Her relationship with Darren is in trouble, and she’s about to find out who she can really count on when things go awry.
Actually, I’ve been told all my characters are interesting and human – this book is by no means just Lynne’s show.
There is a lot, lot more to this book than motorsport. Maintaining the excitement and adrenaline of watching motorsport live in several passages of text is very challenging, so I’ve kept it to a minimum. Luckily, there’s plenty of off-track drama to keep people turning the pages.
I’d like to think that it covers things like love, loyalty and forgiveness – or the lack of those, at least.
I’m also about halfway through plotting and writing a follow-up using some of the same characters, so watch this space!
So, there we go. I hope that sheds a bit more light on the subject of my novel!
Thanks to my complete social ineptitude (and lack of socialising online with other authors) I haven’t yet found anyone to tag (at least, who hasn’t been already) so drop me a line if you want tagging.