Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Okay. I eventually caved. So I'll continue the meme but those whom I've tagged have probably already done this. Thanks to Louis Greenberg for making me get onto this.

What will be the next big thing in the world of fiction? Every so often a book, or a series of books, will come along and knock our collective socks off, be it Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code or even Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Next Big Thing sets out to give writers an opportunity to nominate peers they think are worthy of your attention.

The rules are simple. A writer nominates you to answer ten questions about your current work in progress. You answer those questions and then in turn, nominate a further five writers to do the same thing.

Author of First Kiss, Last Breath, Lee Mather kindly nominated me. I first encountered Lee when I reviewed his story, The Green Man, and knew that this was an author I was dying to edit (okay, not literally but yeah I dig his writing). So, to cut a long story short, I encouraged him to submit his next manuscript to me when I was still editing for Lyrical Press and, as they say, the rest is history.

So, on to my interview:

1. What is the working title of your book?

I’ve got two manuscripts I’m currently working on. One is Thanatos, the follow-up to my novel Inkarna. I’m kinda stalling on it because this month I’m concentrating on sorting out this year's Bloody Parchment entries so they can go through to judging. In addition, I’m also working on a fantasy novel I’m writing just for myself, about a talking griffin. It’s tentatively called The Blackfeather Chronicles, but I’m sure I’ll have a proper name soon.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Thanatos follows the rest of the story of how Ash gets into further trouble. It’s a continuation of events that were set in motion in Inkarna. For the sake of not writing a doorstopper, I had to split the story at a natural pause. Similar idea for Blackfeather. I’ve tentatively planned a trilogy, and I’m essentially over the halfway mark for both manuscripts.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy for Thanatos, and secondary world fantasy for Blackfeather.

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

If Daniel Radcliffe were willing to work out a little, he’d make a great Ash. I recently saw him in The Woman in Black, and he’s grown up quite nicely. I don’t think he’s quite tall enough but he has the right facial structure. And my ever-talkative griffin has none other than Johnny Depp as the voice.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Thanatos: Eternal enemies are not about to allow Ash his chance for a life of quiet contemplation.

Blackfeather: A young griffin finds himself cast into the role of an unlikely hero, but can he learn to fly in time to save his mistress?

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

Thanatos is promised to Dark Continents Publishing, who brought out Inkarna. Blackfeather I’m self-publishing since I don’t think it’s going to have mainstream appeal. There are no love triangles…

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

Too long, LOL. I’ve decided to write when I can without pressure of deadlines, so I manage anywhere between 2k to 4k a week combined. At a push I can do about 45k a month but I don’t feel like doing that right now. I just want to enjoy writing.

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

My Inkarna-verse I’d lump with Alma Katsu’s The Taker or Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Or even Poppy Z Brite’s Lost Souls or Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels. There are underlying themes that offer similarities in genre.

Blackfeather will appeal to fans of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern novels or Mercedes Lackey's griffins.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Real life is dull. I make up stories to pass the time. Also, I can't afford to pay a psychiatrist.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Here is a short excerpt from Blackfeather to sucker you in:

Like most of the strays my mistress brought home, I was one of the many she rescued from the market. And I’ll remember that day for the rest of my life, better than I do the events surrounding my initial capture. For certainly, as one belonging to the proud race of griffins—and Ravenkin no less—I should have some remembrance of a nest, of siblings and a mother. But, alas, those memories remain locked away.

The basket was small enough that I couldn’t turn, and the scraps of linen lining it soiled by my own waste. Terrible hunger blinded me to all reason—not that a griffin cub was wont to expressing any rational thought—but when I looked into Her eyes, the ravenous fires died back and, I’m later told, I stopped the incessant squawking and yammering with which I’d apparently been painting the very air blue.

Petite Anwyn had eyes like lapis lazuli, and her skin was bronzed—not from the sun but partially, as I later discovered, due to her foreign mother. And her hair. I always loved her hair—the palest gold, like corn silk. Eventually I would understand that her complexion was far too unusual to be considered attractive, but at that moment I gazed upon her face and I was lost. Some dim griffinish race memory stirred a resonance within me and I craned my neck so that I might be closer to her.

Her gaze was filled with compassion and I knew at that moment, even as I do now, that I belonged to her. Forever.

She didn’t have to haggle long to liberate me from the beast-seller. In hindsight I reckon the man felt, at that point, that he was well rid of me—a noisy, messy nuisance. Had he known my sheer magnificence once I’d fledged, he might have driven a harder bargain.

An unfledged griffin cub, I can guarantee, is nothing much to look at. Anwyn made many sketches of me when I first came into her care. A wide gape, almost bulbous eyes. Kittenish hindquarters unbalanced with the forequarters of a bird. Stumpy wings. Instead of glossy black feathers, I boasted a mess of vaguely charcoal-hued fluff. At this early age no one could really tell whether these would turn out to be pelt or plumage.

Griffins were almost unknown back then—and still remain rare—but when I was a mere cub no one knew enough about my race to know what to do with me. If Anwyn hadn’t come along I might’ve been pecked to death by the brace of basilisk hatchlings in the cage next to me or ended up in one of the labourers’ cookpots.

Instead I was given a name, a very fine name I might add—Silas Blackfeather—and took up residence in a small villa on the outskirts of the great city of Anfi, in the foothills of the Makarra mountains.


While I don’t expect these good folks to do The Next Big Thing (and some of them undoubtedly already have, I’m going to name some of the authors I’m close to and whose writing is absolutely marvellous.

Cat Hellisen is a close writing buddy of mine and she’s often delivered concrit just when I’ve needed it. I’ve beta-read her novel, When the Sea is Rising Red, and absolutely adore her "Hobverse". If I could write half as well as her I’d consider myself a great author.

Next up is Carrie Clevenger, with whom I’ve collaborated a few times. I edited her debut novel, Crooked Fang, and we’re writing buddies. I totally appreciate her eye-rolling when it comes to curbing my tendency toward purple prose. She also has a great love of music and has introduced me to so many new bands.

Then I need to mention Cari Silverwood. We’ve walked a long way together and I’ve edited one of her novels, Rough Surrender. She writes some of the most scorching scenes in BDSM erotica and I’m watching her career with great interest. She strikes the balance between writing heat and narrative.

Amy Lee Burgess is an old friend of mine and I remember ages ago begging her to write me something to edit. So she wrote about wolves, and her The Wolf Within series came into being. Seriously, if you’re looking for a wolf shifter story with a difference, go read her books.

I must make mention of Toby Bennett because he doesn’t make enough mention of himself. I first encountered him last year when one of his short stories made it into the Bloody Parchment anthology. But he writes books too, and he tells absolutely amazing stories. I’m looking forward to reading his novels.

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  1. Daniel Radcliffe as Ash!? Well, my mind is now blown, but in a good way. :) Can't wait for Thanatos and The Blackfeather Chronicles sounds very cool.

  2. Go look at the more moody images of him from The Woman in Black. Then add a little bulk, some stubble and long raven locks, and yo'll have it. But I don't think he's tall enough.