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Nina Smith

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    A lifelong expat, I’m British/Australian and have recently moved to Texas from Japan. I've taken a break from my career in legal writing and business development to focus on my novel. I’m a member of an international writers group that meets monthly, and in addition to polishing off my first manuscript I am developing ideas for my second novel.

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  1. Hi all, I'm enjoying reading about your stories - thanks for sharing! FIRST ASSIGNMENT: STORY STATEMENT When Abi's husband is wrongly imprisoned in an Albanian prison, she must do all she can to free him and get them both out of the country safely. SECOND ASSIGNMENT: ANTAGONIST Karbashi is one of the most powerful men in Albania, and has accrued his immense wealth and influence through a combination of some legitimate and many questionable deals. He is charming, sincere and sinister. He adores his country and believes in its future, but understands and benefits from its flaws. He will do what he feels is necessary, and blindly justifies all of his decisions as being in the best interests of his nation whilst overlooking his own self-enrichment. But in terms of antagonists, Karbashi is just a side-act. We later learn that the real antagonist is Tina Bray, somewhat judgemental yet helpful consulate dedicated to helping the protagonist navigate the Albanian legal system. Tina is actually a cold and crooked dealer of illicit goods, including art, drugs and sometimes people. She is cold and aloof, and looks at life through a transactional lens. Her victims are willing participants and she thinks she's just doing what anybody in her position would be. With an inherent lack of empathy and discomfort at her self-imposed loneliness, Tina only shows any emotion when questioned about her position as Karbashi's second-tier mistress. THIRD ASSIGNMENT: BREAKOUT TITLE The Eagle Has Two Faces The Ambivalent Expat To Dig Is Destroy FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: COMPARABLES 1. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave 2. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (Female-led thrillers with a strong sense of place) FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: LOGLINE When her husband is wrongfully arrested in Albania, corporate lawyer Abi does all she can to expedite his release. But as her suspicions build around the circumstances leading up to his arrest, Abi realizes it's much more than their marriage that is at stake. SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: INNER CONFLICT Abi is a conditioned people-pleaser, and is coming to terms with this when she finds herself on sabbatical to support her husband's career in Albania. When her husband is arrested for manslaughter, Abi is tempted to follow the advice to wait it out at home. She is used to doing what's expected of her, and so this should come naturally. But the situation doesn't seem right. As she starts to explore the circumstances surrounding her husband's arrest, she sets off a chain of events ultimately leading to his death and her own fight for survival. SECONDARY CONFLICT Abi's secondary conflict is with her husband, Evan. Together since they were young, Abi knows Evan as a dedicated and passionate archaeologist who is supportive of his wife's successful advancement in the legal profession. As she's rapidly ascended the corporate ladder, Evan has enjoyed the pecuniary fruits of her labor. However, she has underestimated the fragility of his ego and overlooked his hang-ups about her success. Eventually she must face up to his slow-boil transition into a greedy and ruthless man with a price, and questions how she could have missed it. FINAL ASSIGNMENT: SETTING My story is set in modern day Albania. Europe's last frontier, Albania is a Balkan jewel of a country with an unspoilt coastline, dense mountains and a charmingly chaotic capital city. Thirty years since the end of its oppressive communist era, Albania is full of promise despite being rooted by corruption and chaos. It's a place that is at once captivating and endearing, but frustrating and backwards. It is a country of frenetic charm, rich history, abundant color and untold dangers.
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