Last week children’s author and friend Lynne Rickards kindly ‘tagged’ me in her blog post called ‘The Next Big Thing’. I was one of five authors she mentioned – just as she had been mentioned along with four other writers in author Lari Don‘s blog the week before. Each tagged author answers some set questions about his or her current project and tags five more authors whose work s/he admires. This ‘meme’ has grown and grown in the children’s book online world and this week it’s my turn to answer the questions and mention some wonderful writers!

What is the working title of your next book? The Shadow Lantern

Where did the idea come from for the book? This is the third book in my Blackhope Enigma trilogy and I knew I wanted to set it in Scotland at Halloween. From there all the elements fell into place: new characters, spooky influences and the arrival of a strange sixteenth-century invention that draws in my main characters, Sunni and  Blaise.

What genre does your book fall under? It’s fantasy/mystery for age 9+.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? We’d need some talented teenagers (several Scots and one American) as well as Javier Bardem, David Tennant and a few other character actors for adult parts.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? The arrival of a special magic lantern at Blackhope Tower pulls Sunni and Blaise back to the infamous castle and into new danger.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I’m represented by the lovely Fraser Ross Associates.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? Approximately eight weeks.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? My books have occasionally been compared with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and Cornelia Funke’s books.

The Shadow Lantern will be published by Templar Books on May 1, 2013.

And now, on to the author tags in alphabetical order!

I’ve known author, poet and teacher Magi Gibson for a number of years and have been delighted to follow the success of her Seriously Sassy book series for young people. Maggi is currently busy with some very interesting projects that I hope she’ll describe in her blog post.

I met the engaging debut author Jane McLoughlin during the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August and am really pleased that her book, At Yellow Lake, has just been long-listed for the 2013 CILIP Carnegie Medal. This is a fantastic achievement!

Daniela Sacerdoti has already met with success as a writer of books for older readers but her new book, Really Weird Removals. com, will appeal to a younger audience. I had the pleasure of attending Dani’s book launch for Really Weird Removals last month and and was impressed with her passion and excitement about her work. If you click on the link, you can read about her next book, as she has already participated in The Next Big Thing – but I decided I’d like to tag her anyway!

It was great to meet Elizabeth Wein at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. I had already heard about her latest novel, Code Name Verity, which has been storming onto lists of 2012’s best young adult books as well as being nominated for numerous awards including the Scottish Children’s Book Awards and the 2013 CILIP Carnegie medal long-list.

Deborah White‘s first book, Wickedness, was an intriguing and atmospheric fantasy revolving around ancient Egyptian spells, an emerald casket and a powerful prophesy connecting two red-haired young women in different centuries. I’m hoping Deborah will talk about the next book in her series, Deceit!

I now hand over the reins to Maggi, Jane, Elizabeth and Deborah, who will answer questions about their Next Big Things on their blogs next week. Many thanks to all of them.