Sarah Madison asked me to participate in this, and I can never say no to her! Check out her answers to these questions at her blog hop post. Personally I cannot WAIT for her book Hold the Reins. I haven’t ridden a horse since I was maybe 11, but at heart I’m still a horsey-girl. As a woman, I’m a M/M fan. So this is, like, the ultimate winning combination for me!

I was supposed to have his up yesterday but went to sleep instead. *jazz hands* Anyway, better late than never, here are some questions and answers about my latest work, which I have just finished drafting and is in the hands of my editor, hopefully to be published early next year!

What is the working title of your book?
The title is: The Protector. In the world this is set, there are bonded matched pairs of “Guardsmen” which consist of a weredog and their partner. The weredogs are called “Protectors” and their partners “Handlers”, reflecting the working dog status that Guardsmen have. This story centers around my hero, Alex Taylor, who is a very broken Protector learning to love again after tragedy.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s more like a confluence of ideas, but it mostly grew out of what is actually a rather tragic, heartbreaking photo of a dog lying down in front of his owner’s casket (click link to see the photo, although be ready with tissues). It sparked the idea of a weredog who outlives his partner, and it sort of grew from there. I did not use that imagery in the book but it definitely influenced the plot. The other aspect is, ironically, The Sentinel tv show which I have never actually watched and have read very little fanfic for, despite its ongoing popularity. But the idea of a special type of rare human serving as a guardian for their tribe kind of grabbed me, and it fit really well into my ideas for a weredog story.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary Paranormal M/M romance!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Eheheheh! Well, honestly, that’s easy. Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins…yeah, I’m a Destiel girl. While this story did not originate as fanfic, I set those actors in my mind early for the lead roles.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In a world where weredogs are physically bonded to their partners to the point of dying when they do, Protector Alex Taylor miraculously outlives his husband and three years later finds himself bonded to Handler Mark Stephanik whether he likes it or not, whether he’s ready for it or not.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Not self published. I will submit it to my usual publisher, Dreamspinner Press, first and I hope they like it!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
An agonizing ten months. Normally I write a lot faster (the manuscript is at 80k words) but I started the year with health problems while finishing my master’s degree and writing came dead last in my priorities for months and months. I worked on “The Protector” fitfully during that time but it took October and November for me to nail it down.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t know specifically of too many weredog books, but I would classify this in the same group as werewolf stories; Alex is a weredog who shifts between human and dog, and while he and the world he is in accepts that as natural it still creates conflict with him and his (future) partner, Mark.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I love dogs! I was doing research on another story (which I put on the back burner) when the idea of this one came to me, so I moved on to working on this one. Sarah Madison is also a dog lover extraordinaire and knows a lot about them, so she provided some critical early insight into my lead character’s physical traits as a dog. I also love werewolves/shape-shifter characters and it seemed a natural fit, as opposed to writing a non-paranormal story about a dog handler.

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

I’ve done a lot of world building! Weredogs are called “Protectors” and their bonded partners their “Handlers” and they are very rare and have been used as warriors, soldiers, police and even as medical professionals. They have a long history as a sub-species and over time developed their own culture, which informs their relationships with each other and with the “normal” people they often work with. Along with the bonding element, there is also knotting, which kind of took me by surprise but makes sense; Alex, even as a human, has dog-like tendencies so knotting was a logical progression of that. (Although I would like to point out, there is NO bestiality in this story!) So yeah: world building. If the story is popular it is something I can easily spin out into a series, which I also did not plan on at first but might work out well eventually.

So thanks for playing! Also, you can also follow the rest of The Next Big Thing bloggers on Twitter with the hashtag #NextBigThing. It’s a great way to get an inside peek to what your favorite authors are up to!


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