The Next Big Thing – Thursday’s Child

January 18, 2013 at 11:16 am | Posted in Australia, History, Society, Ways of Living, Writing and Life | 9 Comments
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I have been tagged by Pete Abela, author of Wings, in The Next Big Thing blog meme. In this, writers answer a series of questions about their work in progress, and then pass the baton to other writers. Here are my responses to the questions.

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?

Thursday’s Child.

2) Where did the idea come from?

I am interested in and write about the world of 1950s Australia, the conservative values of the times, the nature of issues like sex, race and ethnicity. Whereas most people today understand that it’s wrong to discriminate against difference (even if they would like to), discrimination and intolerance were accepted and normal behaviour back then.

There was universal condemnation of sex before marriage and especially in any resulting pregnancy. It was still the days of shotgun marriages or adopting out ‘unwanted’ babies.

A victim of rape was seen as having ‘asked for it’, even when completely innocent, and suffered much more than the rapist. If it went to court, every tiny detail of the victim’s past behaviour was open to public scrutiny as she tried to prove the crime, while the rapist went almost unquestioned. The shame and stigma lasted into the next generation.

There was racial and cultural stereotyping. Indigenous people were seen as inferior, so you didn’t admit if you had any coloured ancestry. Nor did you admit convict forebears – something that today makes you a ‘founding parent’ was then looked on with shame.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Like my first novel, I see it as a coming-of-age story, a Young Adult story set in a historical past.

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

I rarely watch TV or movies (though I suppose I should), so I’m afraid that I have no idea of actors today. I cannot say who would fit, but the main character should be able to play a bright but innocent girl who finds the strength to get through adversity.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When 15-year-old Jessica undergoes a terrifying ordeal, she faces the censure of the local community, and has to somehow find the strength and support that she needs to face her changed future.

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

I will try to attract an agent or publisher, though my first book, Ben’s Challenge was unsuccessful in doing so. Perhaps a small Australian publisher will take it on. Otherwise, as with “Ben’s Challenge”, I will self-publish.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?

Well, I was twelve chapters into a follow-up of my first novel, Ben’s Challenge, when I realised that the story I wanted to tell and the issues I wanted to explore just wouldn’t fit  into the situation I had created there; I would have to start over completely and create new characters and new places. Because of this, I haven’t progressed very far yet. I have the outline and the character arcs and the first few chapters done. I am not a fast writer, but hope to have the first draft completed by the end of 2013.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I really cannot think of any. My story is reality-based and set in a conservative society (1950s country Australia). Many authors deal with contemporary situations in a contemporary urban world, and many other writers for teens and Young Adults concentrate on fantasy. I would like to find more stories like mine available to young adult readers.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Thursday’s Child came out of my first book, as I said, where my aim was to show young people the society in which their parents or grandparents grew up, before the social revolution that came with the sixties and seventies. Many are unaware of a time before computers, mobile phones and electronic gadgetry. It is still my aim to tell it like it was back then, and how much society has changed since those times.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Many young readers might be surprised to discover that their parents and grandparents had  to deal with similar feelings and issues to them when they were young .

Now I have to tag four or five other writers. One of my intended tags, Chris Allen, has already done the challenge; others were unable to participate. The authors I have tagged below are Australian. Their work and/or support (as well as that of my tagger, Pete Abela)  have encouraged me to keep on with my own writing.

Debbie Robson, writer of historical and modern fiction. Author of Tomaree and Crossing Paths: the BookCrossing novel

Sandra James, writer and publisher of Positive Words magazine.

 

© Linda Visman 18 January 2013

 

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