The Next Big Thing: Beneath the Old Oak

I was recently nominated to take part in The Next Big Thing by the lovely Donna McNicol, where we let you in on all the info about one of our works in progress…I chose my NaNo novel:
Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)
What is the title of your Work in Progress?
Beneath the Old Oak
Where did the idea come from for the book?
When I first met my husband I read my future mother-in-law’s poetry and really enjoyed her writing, ‘The Death of a Tree’ was my favourite. Years later, a seed (or acorn) of an idea crept in and I had to run with it, and with her permission I’ll add the poem to the back of the book. 
It’s about the life cycle of an old oak…and piqued my interest when I thought about all an oak will have experienced in its life…
What genre does your book fall under?
YA, the accompanying story covers some graphic and heartrending times for fourteen-year-old Meg.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Meg would be played by a young Emma Watson, someone who could convey holding the weight of the world on her shoulders, and her mother would be an actress like Emily Blunt or Anna Friel who could portray a complete breakdown.
What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book? (Okay, I used four sentences…)
Meg’s mother is anxious, depressed and neglectful. Meg thinks her mum is broken and wonders if she’ll be next, or is she already broken too? Meg wants to escape, but her mum beats her to it. Solace is found in a huge, old oak tree and Meg begins to learn to grow…
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Right now I’m planning to self-publish as it’s a sister book to my earlier book ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ already out on Kindle.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This story was put on the back burner, but when I joined NaNoWriMo I knew it was the one I’d write. All the backbone was there, the story just needed fleshing out and writing, so the majority of its first draft was written in 30 days for NaNo… There’s still about 10K left to write (to add to my NaNo 50K), and I’m taking my time with the ending.
What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
Not really sure right now, my reading is so eclectic I don’t know anything out there the same. Meg’s story is heart rending and fits well into YA.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The poem inspired the oak tree and I inspired the rest, to explain…I suffer anxiety and depression and have been through much of the experiences in the novel…I write what I know. (Though the novel is fiction)
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
How would you feel if you leaned against a huge, ancient, old tree and it spoke to you? Not with a voice, but with emotions and imagery…your hands tingle and prickle, and your mind floods with emotions so great you are overwhelmed. You are privileged to experience fragments of the old oak’s history…  

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)

I’m now supposed to nominate five further nominees for: The Next Big Thing…I’d love to know more from these wonderful writers:
There are so many more I’d like to nominate but many have already been nominated…so nominate yourself with my permission if I haven’t tagged you!

12 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing: Beneath the Old Oak

  1. Abi Burlingham

    Aw! This sounds lovely, Lisa. I hope you manage to get it finished – I'm sure you will and you are quite right to take your time. Strangely, I wrote a poem ages ago which includes the line 'beneath old oak', so I'm drawn to your book already!

  2. Lisa Shambrook

    Thanks Abi, NaNo was a huge undertaking (my first time) so to finish that was cool, the rest of the book is coming slowly…after all the ending is so important and I don't want to rush it!

  3. Bullish

    Having read your snippets, it's great to see your overview! I'm totally intrigued!! If you're looking for beta readers, please put me on the list!!Thanks for the tag! 😉

  4. Sophie Moss

    This sounds wonderful, Lisa. I love the line, "Solace is found in a huge, old oak tree and Meg begins to learn to grow…" I've read some of your snippets through your NaNo weekly postings and it seems like a very emotional, beautiful novel. I have "Beneath the Rainbow" on my Kindle!

  5. JO

    This sounds lovely – there is an oak tree in Savernake forest, near why I live, that is well over 1000 years old – so it was a sapling when William the Conquerer landed. What secrets it must be keeping!

  6. Lisa Shambrook

    I get scared when people say they've got my book! Hope you like it! The oak is hugely symbolic of Meg's growth in this one, poor Meg has to grow up fast, and I don't think any of us understood ourselves at such a young age!


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