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Delaware, United States
Deborah Hawkins, penned Debra Renée Byrd, began writing after a blank book project in elementary school and never stopped, fashioning stories based on her favorite TV shows and movies before creating more original works. She studied at the University of the Arts and Florida State University before settling down and graduating from Temple University. She now resides in her hometown of Dover, DE, where she spends most of her time at work or at church. She loves fantasies, superheroes, is a trekkie and a brown coat. She loves television and lives for Final Fantasy video games, having collected most of them. She has read a myriad of authors, and her favorite authors change whenever she finds a new book that changes her life... "When you can't run, you crawl. When you can't crawl...well, you know the rest." -Tracey, Firefly, "The Message"

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Next Big Thing (Week 23)

I was asked by the awesome Aaron Bradford Starr to participate in the tradition of So You Think You Can Write a Novel: The Next Big Thing edition. It was a great honor, and I don't think I've done a Q&A about the novel I'm currently querying and have thrown into the trenches for the New Visions Writers Award Contest. *prays*

In the Q&A, we share what possessed us to write these novels. lol I'm almost sure mine are weird, if not a little different, so I'll dive right on in.

1- What is the working title of your book?
Save the Queen.

2- Where did the idea come from for the book?
It actually started with a very elaborate dream I had, and since either most of my dreams don't make much sense and/or I'm not that great at oratorilly telling my dreams to people, I wrote this one down so I could show my sister. Part of the dream became the opening sequence to the story, and another part of it was usable for a later chase scene.

3- What genre does your book fall under?
Young Adult Fantasy.

4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is the trickiest question for me, because I started this story when I was 18 or 19. At the time, I knew I wanted Zoe Saldaña to play a supporting character. I've unfortunately made that character younger at this point. As I got older, I wanted Jodelle Ferland to be the main character with Kristin Kreuk as her mother, but then I decided to make my main character black, so that went out of the window, too. I haven't even homed in on any male actors yet.

So long story short, I have no idea who would be playing my characters in a movie rendition.

5- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The princess of a dead race and her watchmen journey to defeat a vengeful spirit from the future.

6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would prefer an agency. I want to be certain there are people out there who can see my vision, and throwing it out to the wolves on my own--there's no guarantee either way, but at least if I find an agency who believes in my story, I'm one step closer to knowing there are others who will, too.

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The short answer is 8 years, 4 of which I was in school. I also edit and proofread while I write. A bad habit, I know, but I'm an English major.

8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The voice and character atmosphere is very similar to that of The Enduring Flame trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. I was very fortunate to stumble onto these books last year. There's a formality/Olde English-y mixed with familiar/today language that I feel both my and their stories possess so that you get a little of both worlds. The series was also pretty dark, not even underneath it all, it was overcast. As you get deeper into my story, I feel the same thing happens. There was some truly dark stuff going on that the world had forgotten about or just didn't know about, which is why the story is happening.

9- Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I took a year off after high school because I didn't want to go to college. Since I couldn't find a job, I played Final Fantasy IX and X just about every day. I realized I wanted to write a story as if the story from a Final Fantasy game, that obviously hadn't been created yet, was adapted into a book. Like how they made The Spirits Within. It wasn't a movie adapted from one of the games, but it had the same elements of a Final Fantasy video game. I wanted to write a book in the same way. My working title is even a weapon in many of the games.

10- What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Well, if they like FF games, see #9. lol Otherwise, it's on the shorter side of an epic tale. My goal was to write a short fantasy. You get what you want, not what you'd rather skim over. I don't have the attention span to drag things out, and as a reader, I know how frustrating it is when you want to get to the point, but it's 50 pages away. Someone (don't know who) once said to write your novel so that there would be nothing to edit out in the movie adaptation, and that was how I wrote it. There's no filler. It's just the story.

Next week, November 14th, tune in to SC Author's and Revo Boulanger's blogs for another edition of The Next Big Thing.

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