Amin Chehelnabi and Leigh Blackmore both invited me to be a part of "The Next Big Thing", an informal project to get the word out about what book-length projects we're all working on. It's cool, because (despite the mythology around it), writers are actually not all that competitive; we're far more likely to want to help and promote each other than elbow our so-called competitors away from the writerly success table.
The idea is to answer a standard 10 questions, then tag five more people, putting their names and blog links at the end to keep the chain going. I'm doing it wrong. I'm posting my answers now, and I'll post my five links when I have them. We're all just going to have to cope with that.
Anyway, on to the questions and my answers!
- What is the [working] title of your next book?
After the Bloodwood Staff.
- Where did the idea come from for the book?
I've been a fan of Victorian adventure fiction for many years. I wanted to play with that form, with the conventions and tropes of the Victorian adventure tale, to see how far I could push them before they broke.
- What genre does your book fall under?
Well, sort of the point is that it both is and isn't a traditional adventure tale. It's got elements of fantasy, romance, humor, travel, and mystery, and it dabbles in being both satirical and metafictional.
- What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I've had the very good fortune of seeing my writing performed a number of times sometimes by people I've cast, sometimes by people who are a complete mystery to me until I see them work. Both groups have graced my words with their talent, goodwill, hard work, and creative passion. I don't even want to begin to cast the characters in my book, even just in my imagination, because that's not nearly as fun as the mysterious anticipation of what marvellous actors might show up on set.
- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The bookish and sedentary Hoyle Marchand finally gets the chance to live out one of the adventures he reads about so obsessively but he finds out those books never did tell the whole story.
- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Once I finish it, I'll be seeking representation.
- How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It will have taken about a year and a half.
- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hm. None, I hope. That's sort of the point: to not be entirely within one genre.
- Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My grandfather was the one who got me into reading Victorian adventure fiction; that was one of my inspirations. And my friend Gillian Polack also inspired me by telling me about getting into the Ph.D. program in creative writing at the University of Western Australia, for which purpose I'm writing After the Bloodwood Staff (I followed her into the program, you see).
- What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
I'm having a blast playing with the adventure tropes: turning them on their heads, warping them, laughing at them just to see whether it's still an adventure story when I'm done. If it is, I will have learned something about the nature of genre and the craft of storytelling.