Today I would like to welcome Stephanie Campisi to the Great Raven. Stephanie lives in Melbourne, where she goes in to the city every day to work on her writing. She has sold a lot of short stories and is now writing novels. Although Stephanie has her own blog, Read In A Single Sitting , it doesn’t really lend itself to The Next Big Thing, so I have invited her to do it as an interview here.
When her first book comes out, don’t forget you heard about it here first!
What is the [working] title of your next book?
I'm currently editing a middle years' title called Doppel Gang.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I'm a big fan of word play, and love teasing out puns and strange and unusual meanings from words. I've wanted for years to write something involving a “Doppel Gang” (from “doppelganger”, meaning “double walker”), a group of people working in tandem with their “doubles” to overcome some sort of nefarious plot. During the middle of last year I realised that “doppels” could exist in all sorts of ways: shadows, mirror reflections, phantom limbs, imaginary friends, time travelling doubles and so on, and the story sort of grew from there.
3 What genre does your book fall under?
Middle years' fantasy, with a bit of a grimy pseudo-olde London feel.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Gosh. I'd need a lot, given that I have four main characters and their doubles to deal with! Some very, very versatile child actors, I suppose. Perhaps Brenda Song for my mirror image (protagonist), Kodi Smit-McPhee for my narcoleptic character and Chloe Grace Moretz as my amputee character.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Nadia Zhang's misbehaving reflection draws her into the world of disconnected shadows, phantom limbs, imaginary friends, and a man who would use them all to further his efforts to become immortal.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm agented and currently waiting to hear back on my current MG Spatterbaum and Zitherbother, which has been on submission for what feels like a lifetime (but really has only been a few months). There's another novel (The Hotel Astor) in the pipeline to go out on sub after that, and then I suppose that this one will follow. But yes, assuming the best, my agent will want to pitch this one!
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Around 2-3 months, but I've been editing for a good few months since then, and expect to do several more solid rewrites before it's in a state to show anyone.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I suppose it's a bit of Frances Hardinge mixed up with some Diana Wynne Jones, a touch of Adam Gidwitz, a dash of Jaclyn Moriarty and perhaps a bit of China Mieville. With luck others will agree!
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I'd just finished a more serious project, so I felt that it was time to switch it up with something ridiculous and zany. My goal with my MG writing is to make each book more ludicrous than the last, and, er, I'm pretty sure I've succeeded thus far!
10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
My eerie Brottlesby setting, I hope, and perhaps my villain: a man made entirely out of living tattoos.