The Next Big Thing
The Next Big Thing
is a chain of book and author recommendations.Richard Harland
tagged me on his blog and now it’s my turn. Check out the books by the people I tagged at the end of this post
What is the [working] title of your next book?
Black Tengu, the eighth and final title in the Samurai Kids series.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The first book in the series, White Crane, was published in 2008. I had written it as a stand-alone novel but my publisher, Walker Books Australia, felt it would make a good series. I had to go back through White Crane looking for something that I could use as the arc for a series. I found a throwaway comment that Sensei had once made a terrible mistake. I had originally only included this because I did not want the wise, eccentric teacher to be perfect but it was destined for greater things and grew to become the link that ran through the whole series and is finally resolved in this last book.
What genre does your book fall under?
The Samurai Kids series is historical fiction, set in the mid-17th century when the golden age of the samurai was drawing to a close.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I am not sure how to answer this. It might require clever costuming as the main character has one leg, another boy has one arm – each character has a difficulty to overcome although this is not always physical. I’m sure there is a film company and actors out there who could meet the challenge. Maybe it would be an anime film so perhaps I should choose voices…
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In the harsh snow lands of Ezo, the Samurai Kids must find a way to help Sensei Kiyaga face the terrible secret from his past.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The series is published by Walker Books Australia and I am represented by Pippa Masson of Curtis Brown.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It took longer to write this last book than any other in the series. The first draft took six months but there are many redrafts still ahead. I am found it a challenge to draft as I am not a plotter. I just write the stories my characterstell me. But in this book I had to follow the plotline I had spent seven prior books preparing. I did not find it easy but am happy with it.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Samurai Kids series is often compared by reviewers to John Flanagan’s Rangers Apprentice and Brotherband series. I find this a wonderful compliment and wouldn’t want to suggest anything else!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was thinking about what it would be like to be a samurai – as lovers of ancient history like me do! I knew that if you were born into a samurai family you had no choice but to serve. I began to wonder what it would be like for a boy (or a girl, there is one girl samurai in my books) who wasn’t very good at their lessons. And what if they weren’t very good because of something that wasn’t their fault. Like being born with one leg. That’s when my one-legged narrator, Niya, first spoke to me. “Give it a go,” he said. So I went down into my backyard, tucked up one leg and karate kicked. I found the beginning of my story. “My name is Niya Moto and I am the only one-legged samurai kid in Japan. Famous for falling flat on my face in the dirt.”
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think this question is best answered in terms of the series. The group of characters is unusual, the time of swords and battles is exciting, there is a strong focus on a range of martial arts, the children travel across Japan, China, Korea and Cambodia and the Zen humour is quirky. In short, most readers tell me it’s very different to any other books they’ve read.
Here are the authors I’d like to introduce, and who you can follow next Wednesday, when they answer the same questions…