Full interview for the Next Big Thing
This post continues Sandra Ramos O'Briant's about her continuing success with The Sandoval Sisters' Secret of Old Blood.
The working title for my next big thing, a 106k-word Young Adult, Chicano fantasy novel, is Bruised Hearts, Mended Dreams. It's a hardboiled adventure about the struggles of damaged teens to overcome their dark pasts on Earth and find meaning in a dangerous, dismal and repressive Otherworld.
I completed the second draft and aim to have it polished by April. The first three chapters are ready for an agent/publisher's eyes.
The idea for this book came out of wanting to do a YA prequel to my first Chicano adult fantasy novel, The Closet of Discarded Dreams. I want to contribute a latino fantasy for latino and other young people, especially boys. And secondly, from hearing about the experiences of abused young girls, I was inspired to include themes around sex.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I'm so out of the loop as far as pop culture, I'm worthless at this. My first choice for male protagonist: my son whose acting credits are shorter than my awards list. Female protagonist, the PR helicopter pilot in Avatar. In Bruised Hearts, there are five teenagers who call themselves The Indigos who could be played by the current Hollywood, Brat Pack of one multinational, a Chicano, a Chicana, an Hispanic and a white boy.
Provide a one-sentence synopsis of the MS.
I really need four paragraphs, but here goes:
Bruised Hearts is a hardboiled Young Adult fantasy about a teenaged Chicano couple teaming for their impossible mission, and the struggles of damaged teens to overcome their dark pasts on Earth to survive a wild, repressive and dangerous Otherworld.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm not interested in self-publishing it and am in the processing of polishing the first MS. I am looking for an agent or editor who wants a dark-themed (sexual abuse) novel certain to break new ground.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
10 weeks for the first draft (Nov./12-Jan./113), including time on the road while promoting my first novel. (I drafted that one in 6 wks.) I've got maybe a month more of work: April, 2013.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm aspiring to produce something at least as good as Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breakers or Drowned Cities, in character, theme and plot. Paolo and I differ on how to inspire kids in America's dystopian chaos, but I think we're both aiming to reinvent The Myth for a modern teen audience, to give them something more profound to believe in than what adult society is providing.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Teens talk about sex. I'm tackling this tough topic around sexual bullying, from molestation to date rape and beyond. Specifically, I want to break ground on a discourse of how sexual abuse is tolerated in the Chicano/mexicano cultures. But Bruised Hearts will provide empathic, positive solutions and heroines for girls, as well as incorporate the trials of teenage boys.