Liah S Thorley  - Writer

The Next Big Thing

Hi fellow writers and readers.  It is a real pleasure and privilage to take part in this event.  It is also very interesting to read other peoples responses and get a glimpse into their current projects and working processes.

A big thank you to the lovely YA writer Sally Poyton for inviting me to join in. If you haven't seen her interview already please do click the link below and have a read.

Here's my interview, please use the scroll button at the left hand side to get to all my answers.


What is the working title of your book?

Exiles - since The Next Big Thing went out I have changed the title to Homeward.


Where did the idea come from for the book?

The basic premise was inspired by the life of my great great great grandmother, though, aside from the foundations it is entirely fictional.


What genre does your book fall under?

Historical Romance. For once there is no blending of genres and no supernatural elements.


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

Ooh thats a toughie, again away from my usual style I havent actually thought about that.  With my last book, Hidden Doorways, I knew right from the start who I would ask to play my characters, but then Doorways was almost a screen play to begin with and it wasn't hard to imagine one particular actor, David Tennant when one my characters, Philip was inspired by his interprestation of The Doctor. But back to Exiles.

Emma Burns - Joanne Froggat, she would do a great job of playing my strong willed and ever suffering protagonist.

William Finch - Dan Stevens, who has shared the screen with Ms Froggat before in Downton Abbey. I can see him in the roll of a school teacher with a mysterious past and a good heart. Though he will have to dye his hair black.

This is something else I have changed my mind on since the entry went out. on reflection I think Rob James-Collier would be a better choice. Not that I'm stuck on Downton Abbey actors, but I think Rob is a very strong and diverse actor who would be able to pull off the depth of character required for William, plus he looks exactly the part. I also feel that it would be nice to see him play a man who maybe be deep, damaged and mysterious but is fundamentally good and kind rather than devious and cruel.

Lucy Matthews - My good friend Hayley J Williams, a fabulous British actor working in Hollywood. Though a natural blond she would be great as the wily redhaired Lucy.

Inspector Mendoza - Antonio Banderas, not just because he's Spanish, but because he's sexy as hell and any excuse to cast him really.

I can't give you Jacob Burns as I haven't met him yet either and I don't think I know enough child actors to name the children.

Since this went out I have now written in Jacob Burns and I think someone like Jerome Flynn would work well. He's a solid actor who can play the tough guy with a sensitive side well, plus he has a great 'lived in' face.

There is also another character writen in after this article first went out; Mercy Finch - Here I would go with another friend, Nina Lacelle Fogden as she has the perfect combination of elegance and gusto required for Mercy.


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Having made the life changing decision to take her three youngest children and follow her convict husband to Australia to begin a new life, Emma is facing an epic journey both physical and emotional, but she finds more than she bargained for as she deals with trials and tragedy along the way, making new friends and falling in love with someone else.  


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

Hopefully by an agency.


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

This one is only about half done and I started in June, though I did put it down for a bit to re edit Doorways. The first draft of Doorways took five months, then editing was a little over a year, I expect Exiles will be something similar. - I was right.


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

I'm actually going to mix metaphores and say Charles Dickens meets Australia (as in the 2008 movie).


Who or What inspired you to write this book?

As I mentioned earlier, my ancestor Mary Keeling. In the mid 19th century Mary made the same decision as my charcater Emma, choosing to leave her eldest child behind and take the rest of her family to the the otherside of the world and join her convict husband Reuben Thorley in Australia, where she faced the hardships of starting life in the new world. Though, as I said, aside from that basic premise the rest is pure fiction.


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

The voyage - I don't believe many novels out there have taken the reader on the physical journey to the new world from the perspective of a woman whoes husband was a transportated convict.

The Victorian world - Experiencing an english families perspective of early white Australian society where prejudice and contrasts surround them.

Adventure - Glimpses of ther cultures; Brazil and South Africa.

The emotional rollercoaster - As Emma and her family deal with various trials and tribulations.

Mystery - Who is Mr Finch really? And what is it he is hiding?

And of course the Romance - Between Emma and a man whome she really shouldn't be considering.

So here are the writers I am tagging and who will be posting their own Next Big Thing interview shortly;


Gabrielle Aquelina - A great friend and tallented writer who co-founded Abingdon Writers with me in 2008 and now lives in Western Australia. Her chic-lit novel Rock-a-Lilly will definately be the next big thing one day soon. Click the link below to get to her site.



Jan Greenough - Another founding member of Abingdon Writers and a fabulously tallented writer of historical fiction, and a person who has been a great help to me and my dyslexia.  click the link below to visit her sight.

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