Thanks to Scarlett Van Dijk for tagging me in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop.
1: What is the working title of your book(s)?
My newest book is called The Feathered Serpent. I'd estimate that I still have three more chapters to write and then plenty of revising and editing on that WIP. My first book is called The Ghost, The Golem, and The General, and it's a collection of reader's theater plays for young adults.
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I got the ideas for both my books while I was teaching 8th grade English in a poverty-stricken, heavily minority middle school in the Dallas Independent School District. The students I taught loved fantasy books like the Percy Jackson series, yet those same books almost never had a black or Hispanic main character. So I decided to write an urban fantasy novel with a black hero, who's named after one of my favorite students.
I wrote my first book of reader's theater plays, because I wanted plays to use in class. My students were often extremely reluctant to read, and many flat out refused to read material from their textbooks. So I wrote my own reader's theater plays (which help students develop fluency, vocabulary, etc.) based on stories I thought they might be interested in, like La Llorona. The best teaching days I had were the days when I had a new play for the kids to read--it kept them engaged like nothing else.
3: What genre does your book come under?
My newest book is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy, and my first one is a set of reader's theater plays, mostly based on folktales.
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Drevon Summers--Jaden Smith
Mariam Summers--Amandla Stenberg or Quvenzhane Wallis
Ms. Laveau--Michelle Hurst
Daddy Saturday--Mos Def, Terrence Howard, or Ludacris
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Drevon Summers must use his new-found spirit powers to rescue his little sister from an evil voodoo sorcerer.
6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
My books aren't published yet--once they're ready, I intend to submit them to literary agents and publishers first. If that doesn't work out, I'll self-publish.
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I started the first draft of my novel this past September, and I hope to finish it soon (I had a baby in June, so I've been busy with other things lately!).
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think it's comparable to the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books.
9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My eighth grade students--I hope this book will inspire them to read more, and show them that they can be the heroes in their own lives.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Since so much fantasy is based on Celtic/European folklore and history, I thought it'd be interesting to explore more North American sources for magic, like Mayan myths and Haitian voodoo. The book also depicts some gritty situations, like human trafficking and drug abuse, via magical realism.