Rachel Ward

The Next Big Thing


I was tagged to be a part of this meme (ooh, get me, part of a ‘meme’) by the lovely Sophia Bennett, whose own version appeared last Wednesday. It’s an opportunity to talk about a work in progress, but I’m a bit embarrassed by the title. I’d love it if my next book was a Big Thing, but I’d settle for a Medium-Sized Thing or even a Small-to-Middling Thing. To be honest I’m just glad it’s a Thing at all.

What is the title of your next book?

The Drowning.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A friend of my husband told him about an experience he had on holiday. He had been swimming in a lake with two friends when they were struck by lightning. They all survived but were very shaken up. It set me thinking about a different scenario involving three people and a lake. What if a traumatic incident in a lake ended in tragedy? Why might people be in a lake in the first place? Were there dark secrets to be discovered? What if somebody who drowned didn’t want to stay dead?

What genre does your book fall under?

I have trouble with this whole genre thing. The Drowning is a contemporary, gritty, supernatural thriller for young adults. Is this one genre or lots of different ones?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

My characters are so young (15 and 16) that the actors would have to be unknowns. Hopefully the film of The Drowning would be their big break. Unless, of course, we could get a couple of those One Direction boys to try their hand at acting – then we’d get a massive audience.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Sorry, I’ve cheated. I can’t sum it up in one sentence, so here are four sentences from the official blurb:

“Carl wakes up next to his drowned brother. What happened in the water? And who is the girl he glimpses nearby? He can’t remember … but he knows he must find out.”

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

It will be published by Chicken House in May 2013. I’ve never had an agent – so far I’ve always dealt directly with my publisher.

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

It took approximately 8 months to write the first draft, although it was a bit of a stop-start process. I wrote about 20,000 words in the second half of 2011 when I was still working part time and the rest in the first 3 months of 2012 when I was on sabbatical and had the luxury of writing full time.

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

I can’t answer this one, I’m afraid. I haven’t read anything similar, and I’ve deliberately steered clear of reading other young adult books with supernatural or ghostly themes so that I wouldn’t be influenced by them too strongly.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I suppose the real answer is Barry Cunningham and Imogen Cooper of my publisher, Chicken House. I ran a few ideas past them when I had finished the Numbers trilogy and they both liked The Drowning best, as did I. I’ve worked very closely with Imogen on this book and she’s encouraged me to try working in a more structured way than usual(!), which I didn’t expect to suit me, but has been very fruitful.

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

Well, I’m hoping that the book makes scary reading. I certainly freaked myself out writing it. At one point near the end of the first draft, I was so disturbed by the scene I was writing that I felt physically sick and had to step away from the computer for 24 hours to calm down a bit.


My 5 (actually 4) writers for next Wednesday are:

Che Golden

Veronique Martin

Thomas Taylor

Pat Walsh

They’re all smashing writers and I can’t wait to hear what’s next from them…

This entry was posted by Rachel on October 31st 2012
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Comments on 'The Next Big Thing'
  1. Hi Rachel. I was looking forward to this and I loved it! Thanks for taking part. Sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to read it. s xxx

    Comment posted by sophiabennett on October 31st 2012
  2. This actually sounds amazing! I love mysteries with a supernatural element. Can’t wait for it :) x


    Comment posted by Natasha on December 22nd 2012
  3. Hi! I love your books, and I cannot wait for the Drowning! It will probably take a while to get to the U.S., but it will definitely be worth it! Thank you for writing these amazing books.

    Comment posted by Hannah on January 15th 2013
  4. Oh, and I also think that the One Direction part would be really cool(: All of my friends would definitely be a fan if that happened!(:

    Thanks for writing!

    Comment posted by Hannah on January 17th 2013

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