Anne Billson tagged me in the 'Next Big Thing' blog chain game (is it a game? I suppose so, but one with a fun purpose).
"The scheme is simple. You write a blog post answering the below questions, at the end you then tag another five people who will do the same".
So here goes (the book I'm talking about by the way is a short story rather than a novel):
1) What is the working title of your next book?
'Multicide'. It's a title I think will stick. It has a certain pulpy ring to it and fits the story well.
As I frequently do I've ended up designing the cover before finishing the story. Appropriately enough with a few tips from Anne Billson (among others) along the way.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I've wanted to do this style of story for some time. It's in the "a group of strangers find themselves somewhere weird and scary" sub-genre. I can't remember exactly what triggered the thought process (which is worrying as it was within the last month) but I had the idea that it might be interesting to write such a story where all the characters were ones from other stories of mine. It was that thought that kicked the book from one I'd like to write at some point to one I was actually writing.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Very firmly horror. Most of my books have elements of the genre in them but only one ('Dear Suzanna') is what I'd call pure horror. That's strange because horror is probably my favourite genre as a reader. I suspect 'Multicide' is the horror story I've been building up to for a while. Pure, scary, gory, body count as high as I can make it stuff.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
George Clooney or Michael Moriarty as Curtis Merryweather (depending on the budget I guess, although I think I'd prefer Moriarty)
Famke Janssen or Alex Kingston as Jill Teague
Steve Buscemi as Marty
Matt Smith as Alexi
Emma Stone as Jackson
Clint Eastwood as Sam
Tobin Bell as the monster
Plus me in a cameo at the end :-)
Oh, and directed by Dario Argento please.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A group of strangers wake up in an abandoned hospital; then the killings start.
Self-published, although it will be the final story in my long planned short story collection which I may try to find a publisher for at some point.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It's not finished yet but I'd estimate the first draft will take about 3 weeks,
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
'The Langoliers' by Stephen King springs to mind. I'm pretty sure Dean Koontz has done something in this sub-genre as well but I can't remember which one it was. And of course the Twilight Zone episode 'Five Characters in Search of an Exit'.
I suppose in some respects there are also similarities to the body count genre that's typified in Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None'.
The other thing that did occur to me when I first started planning the story was those great tease covers they used to (maybe still do) put on comic books saying things like "AT LEAST ONE X-MAN (insert your superhero team of choice) WILL DIE THIS ISSUE!!"
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I think at its heart the story is about my experiences and frustrations as a writer. Without wanting to give too much of a spoiler a lot of people will die in this book and they're all people I've written about and grown fond of in the past. The stories of mine that I think work best are the ones where I really felt a connection with the central character. Putting that connection aside when you move onto the next book can be a little hard at times. (I'm concious that I sound like I'm talking about real people here and it's true that when a book I'm writing has me firmly in its grip the characters do feel very real). I suppose in a way 'Multicide' is my attempt to literally (pun intended) get rid of all my old characters and move on. It's certainly true that the central characters of 'Multicide' are all ones that I've tried and failed to write more stories about. Maybe this is my attempt to finally put aside those unfinished manuscripts and move on to something new.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
IT'S GOT THE DAMN CAT IN IT!
Seriously, everybody loves the cat and he's in it.
Aside from that I think it'll be a fun read for anyone who has read my other stories and knows the characters and a good lead in to my work for anyone new. Plus lots of people will die horribly in it which is always fun, right?
I'll pass the baton on to Sam Rollings, Heather Smith, Reina Salt, Dionne Lister and Jenn Waterman who are welcome to have a go or leave it as they see fit.