What is the Next Big Thing Blog Hop? It’s a chance for authors around the world to tell you what they’re working on. Each author answers ten questions, then links up to five other authors, who then do the same, and viola! Before you know it, all of the coolest authors in the world are linked, and you, the readers, benefit by reading about awesome authors (like myself) and learning about them. Maybe you’ll also be inclined to purchase a book or two, and share a new favorite author you’ve discovered with the rest of your friends. The phenomenally great author who “tagged” me is Vonnie Winslow Crist http://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop/ and I’ve reviewed her book of collected short stories and poems, The Greener Forest, at another website in the recent (for me) past. I hope you like reading my answers to the ten questions, and that you’ll consider then buying my books, and/or those of the other five authors I’ve “tagged.”

What is the working title of your book?

My latest ebook/paperback is Lily Solves Them All (Click to Buy for $3.99), and it’s the third book in my MG/YA series, The Case Files of Lily and PAWS. It can be read and enjoyed on its own, as a stand-alone novel, or as a part of the series. The other two ebooks/paperbacks in the series are my debut fantasy novel, Lily, Unleashed, and Lily and PAWS: The Ghosts of Summer. An unrelated YA ebook/paperback I’ve written is My Brother The Zombie (The Zombie Revolution: Book One), and now I’m working on a work of historical fiction, Crossing the Dead Line, based on the life and exploits of the Deputy U.S. Marshal, Bass Reeves, who served under the hanging judge, Judge Isaac C. Parker.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

My teenage daughter, Kaitlin, asked me to write it–well, another book in the series, anyway. She was the one who originally asked me to write a book about her dog, a black-and-white brindle terrier, Lily. Lily, Unleashed was the result.

Lily is…well, not really a dog in the novels. She is the first-person narrator, and she is a mutant pterodactyl with the power to cloud the minds of humans into thinking she’s a terrier. She also has the power of starting fires with her mind, which can make her resmeble a dragon, at times.

She is the leader of a crime-fighting organization, PAWS (Private Army of Warrior Sleuths), of other “dogs,” who are other mutant animals who also make humans think that they are dogs. In Lily Solves Them All, the longest of the novels so far at over 96,000 words, Lily is given the chalenge to solve 7 mysterious cases based on using the methods of some of the most famous detectives of literature and the Silver Screen. If she fails, she and PAWS will become the laughing-stocks of their town, if their latest arch-enemy, Professor Polynesia, has her way.

What genre does your book fall under?

MG/YA Fantasy, I suppose; though, each of the books have other elements of genres in them, like dog-related adventure mysteries, horror, and science fiction. They are also often LOL funny–at least, that was my intent–and are satires of theses genres. Oh, and they’re, hopefully, heart-warming, as well. Genres are meant to be blended–at least, that’s what I do with ’em!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I haven’t really given it much thought, as the majority of the characters are animals. Of course, voice actors/actresses would be needed for them, but…maybe Dakota Fanning for Lily’s voice….

I will leave that up to the movie’s producers/directors, once I get the email/phonecall from Disney or Nickelodeon Studios, knock on wood!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“Join Lily E. Quince, the World’s Most Loved Pterodactyl, as she, her fourteen-year-old “owner,” Celeste, and the rest of PAWS (Private Army of Warrior Sleuths) face the challenge of solving 7 cases based on the mehtods of 7 of the most famous sleuths of literature and the Silver Screen!” That’s a copywritten phrase. Not really….

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

Oh, it’s already out, available at Amazon as an ebook, self-published, for $3.99, as it’s a fairly lengthy (but great) book.. You can also buy it in paperback form, through Amazon/CreateSpace, for $10.99.

With Crossing the Dead Line, that will be self-published, also, but I haven’t decided on a price for it yet.

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

Something like four months. I didn’t try to rush it, though, and I did research for it I never thought I would do, and hadn’t thought would play a role in the book, like research on the legal system of Belgium. Why Belgium, you might ask? It’s where Agatha Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot, is from, that’s why, and Lily has to solve one of the cases based on using his methods. And, the city where she, Celeste, and the rest of PAWS lives in Arkansas happens to have a part of it called the Belgium Quarter…imagine that!

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

There probably aren’t any, though it combines elemnts of Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown series, and I was influenced quite a bit as I wrote each of the books in The Case Files of Lily and PAWS by the ghost of Roald Dahl, of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame. And, James and the Giant Peach, Witches, Matilda, etc., etc., etc.

However, the bestselling author, Jon Land, who read/blurbed Lily, Unleashed, compared it to Watership Down. Mine, though–don’t have rabbits in them. Evil squirrels, yes, but….oh, and he’s also compared that book with the movie, “Kung Fu Panda.” You be the judge….

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I wouldn’t have written any of the novels in the series if I hadn’t been prompted to by my teen daughter, Kaitlin. I had talked to her when she was younger using the voice of Lily, and a whole mythos arose based on this….Lily’s photos grace the covers of each of the books, and they were taken by Kaitlin at a local dog park, except for the one on the cover of Lily Solves Them All. That one was taken in our backyard, now in Barling, Arkansas.

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

Steampunk automatons, werewolves, evil Leprechauns, witches, vampires, aliens bent on taking over the world, a mad scientist who can control time….

Oh, and the other members of PAWS, of course: Fuzzy Wally MacGee, a Chinese Crested/rhino (he is the Distractor of the team); Lucy Marmoset Higgins, a Great Dane/orangutan whose specialties include picking locks and hacking computers; and Prince Alphonse Saed, a miniature Dachsund/Mountain Lion who is an expert with ninja weapons and can tell the future.

Now, what follows are the links to the blogs of other great authors participating in “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.” Enjoy checking them out!

1.) Thiana D:
http://www.thiadesigns.com/2012/10/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop.html

2.) L.Jagi Lamplighter:
http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/

3.) John C. Wright:
http://www.scifiwright.com/

4.) Danielle McPhail:
http://www.sidhenadaire.com/

5.) Mike McPhail:
http://www.milscifi.com/reviews/rev-MMcP-BTH.htm