Gareth L Powell tagged me in The Next Big Thing meme that has been going round the internet for a while now. The idea is that you answer some questions about your next book and then tag some other writers to do the same thing. Incidentally, Gareth’s post focuses on his book, Ack-Ack Macaque, which launches this Wednesday at Forbidden Planet London.
For mine, I’ve decided to talk about the book I’m currently writing…
1.) What is the working title of your next book/short story/project?
It’s called All That Glitters, although I anticipate this title changing in the second draft.
2.) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Staying within the broad church that is fantasy, I like to try to write something different with each project and so – having previously tried my hand at epic and urban fantasy – I wanted to give a crime novel a whirl.
At the same time, I am intrigued by the way that fantasy can seem polarised between the “natural world” fantasies that are often set in a faux Ye Olde Worlde like that created by a Certain Oxford Professor and the urban reaction to that from other writers such as Miéville. It also struck me that the de-facto position in Tolkien-like fantasy: that humanity was destined to take over as the dominant species – doesn’t stand up very well and so where could that take you? What might happen if I was to spin that kind of world out a few thousand years…
This is what happens if you take long walks in London…
3.) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s slipstream: there’s hard-boiled crime; urban and epic fantasy; and an occasional threat of satire looms over the whole piece.
4.) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I think Cliff would probably be played by the likes of either Paterson Joseph or Idris Elba with an assist from the CGI industry to give him his stoney exterior. Teasal, the mercurial and filthy rich Fae, would probably be Johnny Depp. Naturally, Andy Serkis as the goblin rights activist, Puss head, and the less well known Clémence Poésy as Seren.
I could go on: Brad Pitt would make an excellent cynical and power hungry Leonis. I struggle to see who could manage the right balance of principled but weary Gambon: perhaps Susan Sarandon. It’s a fun game…
5.) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I plan to use this book to obtain an agent and so it will be doing the rounds in spring of next year.
6.) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
An opportunity to repay his debts proves to good to be true when Cliff Falls, private investigator and drunk, finds himself investigating a murder that could lead the world into war and reveal his own guarded secrets: the body is human.
7.) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
*Coughs* I’m choosing to focus on actual time writing rather than elapsed time. I’m still writing it at the moment but I believe the time spent writing the first draft will wind up around four months which is a bit longer than expected due to having to write it in sections. Sometimes life does that.
8.) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
That’s tough. I’ve tried to step away from other stuff to create room to move and so while my city does have its roots in London, it isn’t actually that city and therefore comparison to Rivers of London or London Falling seems misleading. Yet suggesting it’s a secondary world fantasy also feels wrong because the time period is clearly more modern than is typical even in city based fantasies set in other worlds.
It’s probably most consciously riffing with Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant, Mieville’s New Crobuzon and Williams’s War in Heaven by way of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe.
The book is meant to be fun and so contains lots of stuff I like much as Justina Robson did with her Quantum Gravity series.
9.) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wrote this for my own amusement. It’s been a pressure valve for most of the year and, although said year has made it very hard to write, it has kept me sane. I think art works best when it’s a support system for life. Stephen King said that and, allegedly, he’s written a few books.
10.) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Let’s see: Machiavellian elves; sex-addicted fae; halflings with drug habits; alcoholic chimera; activist goblins; crime-lord pixies and a number of Dark Secrets. Hooked…?
Tagging my next big things…
Paul Graham Raven – cracking writer, academic, musician, critic and all round good egg.
Justina Robson – brilliant writer who I haven’t caught up with in ages.
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz – fab writer, writing for Strange Horizons amongst others. Interested to see what fiction Rochita is working on.