The Next Big Thing

Merry Christmas Eve!

After spending 18-odd months away being an adult (it’s not all it’s cracked up to be) and writing my new book (more on that in a sec), I’m back.

I was hoping to begin blogging regularly in the new year, when I had a new website that had significantly fewer pictures of my face on it, but I’ve been tagged in The Next Big Thing meme, so plans be damned, I’m back early.

What is The Next Big Thing? Well, an author answers a series of questions about an upcoming release. They then tag up to five other authors who have to answer those same questions the following week. They tag five others and it goes on and on until the end of time (Tim Sinclair calls it an author pyramid scheme, and he’s not wrong).

I was tagged by Simmone Howell (author of the exquisite Everything Beautiful and the upcoming Girl Defective). And just FYI, she also tagged Susan Green, Lili Wilkinson, Kate Constable and Fiona Wood who are all worth checking out as well.

Right, here goes.

What is the working title of your next book?

My book is called The First Third. That was its original working title. I experimented with some others (Moussaka, The Wish List), but I kept coming back to The First Third. There was just something about it.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Whenever I visit schools, I always pepper my presentations with anecdotes and life experiences. The ones that get the best reactions are the ones about my grandmother, Yiayia Susie. She’s your typical, I-came-on-a-boat-and-haven’t-changed-since Greek grandmother (see this). When I talk about her, rooms just light up. I wanted to capture that experience.

That was my starting point. I wanted to write a book about my grandmother. I mined our history, and I extracted the most dramatic piece – she almost died almost ten years ago. At the same time, I had this kernel of an idea I was saving for a Loathing Lola 2. I’d always kept the details of Katie Watson’s family secret, knowing that I wanted to return one day with a sequel that explored it. The plan was to have Katie’s grandmother, close to death, visit from England and start forcing her will on their family, like she was cleaning up her mess before she left.

And then these two ideas, the story of my own yiayia and Katie’s, merged into what became The First Third.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a young-adult comedy.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Jennifer Lawrence. And I want her to play everyone. (This is why. And also this.)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

On her deathbed, Billy’s grandmother gives him her bucket list to complete and her requests are a little… unorthodox.

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

The First Third is slated for release by Penguin in May 2013.

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

On-and-off for six months. About two months of writing time.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?


So yeah, that’s The First Third. There’s no telling whether it’ll be the next big thing, or even the next moderately sized thing, but it is a thing and I’m insanely proud of it and it will be out in May 2013.

I’ve tagged Tim Sinclair and Steph Bowe. Look out for their posts in the new year.

I hope the holidays treat you well, an have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. I’ll be around more often, promise.

2 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing

  1. raventracks

    Yes, I have been trying to find writers who have blogs and are willing to do this too. But everyone has already done it! So I’m just going to get on with it next Wednesday. I feel a bit silly, really, as if I’m doing a n interview on my own blog, but what-the-heck! If any writer is reading this and wants to do it, let me know.
    Sue Bursztynski


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s