Friday, 14 December 2012

The next big thing...

Last week Susan Murray tagged me for The Next Big Thing. This is a tag chain which, if it remains unbroken, will swiftly fill the web-o-verse with everything you wanted to know about the latest projects of writers (which is preferable to a lot else that can be found swilling around out there).

The idea is simple. There are ten questions about the latest project you are working on. You answer them, tag five people who will answer them, and so on. No money changes hands (damn!), but it is a good way of letting writers talk about what they are doing at the moment (between sessions of Angry Birds).

So, away we go...

What is the working title of your next book?
I’m actually three books ahead of my next book, if you see what I mean. The next one to see print (I hope) will be called Exile and Pilgrim and is the first sequel to Stealing into Winter which was published in September of this year (and which would make an excellent Christmas present for anyone you know who enjoys fantasy). The third book (Players of the Game) has also been drafted and I am currently drafting the fourth book in the series. So the other answer to this question is Retorsion, which is the fourth book about Jeniche of Antar. There may be more, but that’s as far as I’ve travelled.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have my ideas shipped in from Fortnum & Mason – nothing but the best. They come in hampers...

If only it was that easy. In a sense it is about logical progression. After I had finished the first book, there were so many characters and events that needed exploring and expanding, that I simply let them loose, asked for reports, and created a narrative from the letters they sent back to me.

The series began life with the desire to write a straightforward fantasy that had pace and a central character whose only desire was to stay alive, have enough to eat, and somewhere safe to sleep. No great house to restore to the throne, no magic quest to complete, no elves or dwarfs, no dragons.

What genre does your book fall under?
I hope it doesn’t fall. I have bills to pay. If it keeps on its feet, it will be found on the fantasy shelf of the book store. If you are interested in sub-genres, this one is future fantasy (post apocalyptic).

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

Sharifah Amani has exactly the look for Jeniche...

...and Rufus Sewell would be just right for Alltud.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A young thief discovers that you don’t always get what you want.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
That depends on sales of the first in the series. So why are you still here? Shouldn’t you be looking for it on an online bookstore?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Each of the books has taken just over a month to draft – that’s a chapter a day (about 2,200 words)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This harks back to the days when typewriters roamed the earth and fantasy meant Michael Moorcock; the days before a fantasy novel had to be in twelve volumes and have a prologue longer than most of my novels. Most mainstream publishers don’t touch anything this short (70,000 words) any more. Apparently people don’t read it. Which makes me wonder who the hell is buying my books.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Michael Moorcock. Fritz Leiber. I wanted to get back to those basics. Well-written, pacy, lively, character-driven works that didn’t rely on a conservative view of the world in which everything would be well if we could just get the right sort of ruler back on the throne. It doesn’t happen. Yeah, I know this is fantasy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t reflect the real world.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, it concludes a four book arc, but leaves the way open for more stories. And, like the others, it won’t give you a hernia carrying it around, you can read it in a fairly short time, and there is absolutely no guff, waffle, or padding of any kind.


So, there you go. And now all that's left is for me to tag some writers who will answer the same questions next week - over to you chaps:

Rachel Green (who was tagged by someone else first, but is worth visiting twice)