BLOG HOP: The Book Challenge From NaNoWriMo

I’ve Been Tagged!  By Shirley Bourget

 When she talked about her latest release:   Blood: Book One of the Ancestral Skin Saga

A fascinating story of a ghost Native American Shaman

My Current Work In Progress

Thanks Shirley Bourget for this opportunity to talk about my current WIP ….. well when I was tagged it was current but I have now written the end. I’ve rewritten the entire Book using NaNoWriMo as my motivation to have a finshed and edited draft ready to send to my beta readers.   And I have done so with a week to spare

   What is the title of your next book?

One Hour To Midnight 

At precisely one hour to midnight  Veronica Langdon’s life changed forever when the teen gave birth to a baby son….the son she gave away.  

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea grew from a combination of events.

A plea from a local family whose son was dying and their desperate search for a compatible bone marrow donor. I tried to imagine myself in their shoes: do I let my child die or do I go publlc and ask for help? It was no contest. 

The other idea came from an interesting article I read about stem cell research and the pioneering therapy of using stem cells from the umbilical cord blood from a maternal sibling in treating bone marrow diseases. And the phenominal sucess rate reasearchers are acheiving with this technology.

But the main driver has lurked in the back of my mind forever.

As a teenager I did the unthinkable…. got pregnant. And way back then…times were very different…pregnant teens were hustled off, out of sight until the baby was born. The home where I was sent was a little more enlightened than some…I got to care for my baby for two weeks… before he was taken… I was then told to forget him and get on with my life. Yeah right!

I never grieved for that baby until one day the pressure grew too much and I snapped…but that’s a whole other story.

So in essence I have actually walked in my heroine’s shoes and I know first hand how she feels when faced with the dilemma.  Do I help my child, even if it means facing the painful decisions made in the past….or do I walk away? 

When I went searching and found my son….pulling the scab off that wound was an incredibly painful experience.       

What genre does your book fall under?

It falls loosely under the genre of romance to family saga at 76,000 words it’s certainly longer than the normal romance.   

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Anna Paquin has the right mix of fey and fiesty for Veronica and Johhny Depp has the right depth of dark and brooding and ability to with-hold dark secrets for Leon  

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ten years ago Veronica Langdon thought relinquishing her infant son was the toughest choice she would ever have to make….. turns out she was wrong.  Her child is dying and to save his life she has to re-visit her painful past, the child she gave away…. and the man she’s never stopped loving.

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

Originally I was intending to self-publish but I’ve approached two agencies and I’m currently working with a publisher on another book… so at the moment I can’t really say which way I’ll go.  It could go either way.    

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

The first draft took me three months. I entered it in the Clendon Award  in 2010 where it was a finalist. For two years I’ve sat on the critique from Mary-Therese Hussey, executive editor of Harlequin in New York who was the final judge of the competition. The rewrite was done with her comments very much in mind. The one comment that made the greatest impact was that a couple of the minor characters were not integrated in the entire story but the emotion was raw and believeable.  

One recent tool I’ve used in plotting is Pinterst. I create a board for a book…. with the cast of characters… and I find ideas just pop up univited. I’m busy doing the preliminary plotting for The Devil’s Kiss and already the plot is taking shape just by pinning pictures on a board.     

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

I would compare it loosely with books like Morning Glory written by LaVyrle Spencer  or On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah.

One Hour To Midnight has the same deep exploration of character and motives. The interweaving of family and community expectations and how they impact on other lives. It has a deep, dark family secret that no one cares to talk about and is brushed under the carpet until in one horrifying moment it leaps out of obscurity and threatens the lives of everyone in the present.   

There are excerpts from the book in earlier blogs as I worked through the challenge of NaNoWriMo.

Blogs :The toughest question a parent is ever asked….and a diffiuclt scene mastered. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I was sitting brooding one day about that long ago decision and the huge ramifications it’s had on my life, in ways that you could never imagine. When my father was dying he wanted to see me but I refused to go. Not because I didn’t love him but because I loved him too much. I knew he was going to ask me to forgive him for not standing up to my mother’s decision that I give up my baby. Could I forgive him? At the time I wasn’t sure…so because I loved my dad, I never gave him the opportunity to ask. And that’s been difficult to live with.   

Have I forgiven my mother….let’s say it’s a work in progress.

It was this sort of decision that finally inspired me to write about that experience….not in a personal sense because that’s still too painful….but the author’s friend what if kicked in and I turned that experience into this book.   

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

The setting is Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia.  

A few years ago there was a gangland war among the underworld families of Melbourne.  When I first thought up the idea for another book and was researching plot ideas I came across the background to this war and it has fascinated me ever since.

As the son of one of these families was giving the eulogy for his father, two men were overheard in the back pew commenting. “He’s next.”  And his was the next assassination. 

You can research this by googling Melbourne gang wars. 

The matriach of this gang was recently jailed for life at 88, she was in court in a wheelchair, for the murder of one of the last surviving members, her son if I remember rightly. A few weeks before she was crying all  over the news, “Dessy, my Dessy. Who could want to harm my Dessy.”

And she’d ordered Desmond’s assissination. Go figure! 

I found out far more than I could ever use but it stayed in the back of my mind and this knowledge became useful when developing the background for the plot of One Hour To Midnight.

But I’m not into giving spoilers so that’s all I’ll say.


Thank you for stoppping by, it’s been a pleasure and I look forward to your comments.


And next week do stop by my fellow writers and read about the books that have been their challenge during NaNoWriMo and find out what prompted them to write their books.


Ana Ross        

Patricia Preston

Pepper Phillips

Maureen Fisher

Shar Dimick    

Jen Yates         

Chris Redding     twitter  @chrisredding    Novel title  Incendiary   

Meg Bellamy    

Renne Pace    

Victoria Pinder


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Published on Monday, November 26th, 2012, under Latest News

2 Responses to “BLOG HOP: The Book Challenge From NaNoWriMo”

  1. Shirley, what a heart rendering book you’ve written. I’ll look for it. 🙂

    • shirley says:


      Thank you so much. Life is a journey some good, some bad but it’s the only life we have and we have to make the most of it.

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