Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Next Big Thing

Mark West, a fellow member of the Terror Scribes collective, describes 'The Next Big Thing' thus: 
THE NEXT BIG THING is a chain of book and author recommendations. The way it works is this, one author tags up to five others, who then each tag five others until the Elder Gods are satisfied that we are all hard at work telling their stories and you're all hard at work reading them. 
I was tagged in this by David Price, so now I have to follow through . . .

1: What is the working title of your next book? 
I'm working on a couple of things at the moment. I'm working on the last draft of my novel, Troglodyte Rose. A novella of the same title, from which the novel is loosely adapted, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in 2010. I'm also working on a new book of poems, a collaborative play written with the other members of performance-writing collective House of Makeda, and a sequel to Troglodyte Rose called Scrapheap Mary. A self-contained excerpt has had over 60,000 reads at Wattpad, where I'm a featured writer.

2:Where did the idea for the book come from? 
As mentioned above, it started publishing life as a novella. But before that, it started life as a graphic novel-prose fusion, with equal parts sequential art and standard prose. Alas, funding issues meant we couldn't develop it in that format, but I have recently been offered the possibility of moving forward with a comic serial adapted from the original text. That's very exciting.

3: What genre does your book fall under?
The book is probably what you'd call 'weird' fiction. It has elements of fantasy, but has technology that suggests it's also science fiction. Then there are elements of horror, too. It also stays true to the experimentation of some writers within the weird subgenre, in places, and borrows liberally from pulp too. So I think 'weird' is the only way I can describe it accurately.

4: What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie adaptation of your book.
The original art of Rose always made me think of Angelina Jolie. But actually, she's not got the range, and she's too old now. I'm really drawn to the idea of Azealia Banks playing Rose now. Visually she looks very different to the character as illustrated by Kurt Huggins & Zelda Devon, but personality-wise, she's right there. I also think Naomie Harris would play the character well.

5: What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Rose and her hermaphrodite lover Flid, in a city underground, want to escape to the sunlight--until they find a drug that might just be the answer to their dreams.

6: Will your book be self-published or handled by an agency.5: What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
I'm coy about announcing books before they're finished and everything is set in stone. But I have an agent in the wonderful Chris Kelso, and the book will  be coming out from a recognised publisher of speculative fiction. I'm keeping the rest of the details under my hat until it's finished, it's been turned in, and a release date has been set.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The novella was written in about three months. But I've been tinkering with this version ever since. Granted, I've been swept up in so much other stuff (Need to Pay the Bills Syndrome) that I've not spent much time on the manuscript. But it's been a good two years since I started on this version.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Tank Girl comics, the Alien movies, Veniss Underground by Jeff VanderMeer, Vurt by Jeff Noon, Krokodil Tears by Kim Newman, Scar Night by Alan Campbell. There's probably a bit of Nancy A. Collins' Sonja Blue in there too, and rather a lot of gnostic influence. But I don't always find it helpful to say which other books a manuscript is like. You just end up listing nebulous influences. Much better to let a text stand on its own.

9: What inspired you to write this book?
The image of Plato's cave, with the shadows flickering on the wall. But more than that. The strong heroines I've been reading about since I was a kid. A desire to be political, and outlandish, and queer. A need to narrate alternative consciousnesses as viable realities, even in a world where consensus is king.

10: What else about the book might pique the readers interest?
This is a heartfelt manuscript, but one with a strong narrative thread throughout that moves with pace. I explore desperation, love, friendship, and the desire for something better. Structurally, I break a few rules. The book draws upon video games and cybersex. There's an episodic structure, mostly, with an overarching narrative that glues it together. Much of the narrative takes the form of 'trips', or adventures, within the overall tale. But it's a short book, and it's full of action as much as it's full of wonder and fantasy. Textually, I hope it's a layered, textured read. I'm also a poet, and I think that comes across in the language.

Now that's done with, I think I'll tag Chris Kelso, Marten Weber, Deb Hoag, Tom Bradley and Rhys Hughes.

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