The Next Big Thing

December 17, 2012

Sheldon Higdon asked if I’d do this “Next Big Thing” blog chain. I’m not particularly keen on this sort of thing, mainly because my work is so volatile right up until it goes out the door, but Sheldon’s a good friend, and my last post on this project was somewhat cryptic. So I thought I would follow-up with something a little less vague. This is my next novel-length project. Whether it turns out to be any kind of “Big Thing” remains to be seen.

1. What Is Your Working Title Of Your Book?

The Galvanized Man

2. Where Did The Idea Come From For The Book?

The book stems from several points of origin. One is the wonderful short story “These Things We Have Always Known” by Lynda E. Rucker. There are a couple of lines in it that stuck with me like good barbecue:

“What are they?”

“Instruments,” I said. “Instruments for the summoning of dead races.”

The Galvanized Man was also inspired, in part, by this old political cartoon, A Galvanised [sic] Corpse. I like stretching the term galvanize to mean resurrection, although that’s not strictly what the cartoon’s about.

The book also draws on my love of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos and some recent reading I’ve been doing on dreams and the Aboriginal Dreamtime.

All of these things kind of clicked together in a strange way that I hope has turned out to be a pretty compelling story about how our dreams shape our lives and our lives shape our dreams.

3. What Genre Does Your Book Fall Under?

Ostensibly it falls under horror. Maybe even occult horror, as I’m coming to realize I gravitate toward such things as dark religious themes and secret societies. However, there are some elements of fantasy and a touch of soft science fiction involved.

4. Which Actors Would You Choose To Play Your Characters In A Movie Rendition?

Hmmmmm. That’s a tough one. I don’t typically visualize actors while I write. Maybe a young Clancy Brown for the antagonist (who’s not really bad, just misunderstood). Lucy Liu for the sidekick. Vin Diesel for the ex-boyfriend.

I’d have to say Milla Jovovich for the protagonist, but that’s probably wildly inaccurate.

5. What Is The One-Sentence Synopsis Of Your Book?

In a future stained by a failed apocalypse, Victoria Cliffborn embarks on a journey to save her father and becomes entwined in a war between two ancient cults for control of reality.

6. Will Your Book Be Self-Published Or Represented By An Agency?

I’ll shoot for establishing a relationship with an agent, then look at the small presses. As of now, I have no plans to self publish.

7. How Long Did It Take You To Write The First Draft Of Your Manuscript?

About a year. I wrapped up the first draft a few weeks ago. Too long, if you ask me.

Part of what I’ll focus on with my big project is shortening the first-draft phase. I have several ideas on how to do this, and I’m going to shoot for 3-6 months.

8. What Other Books Would You Compare This Story To Within Your Genre?

Maybe Laird Baron’s The Croning in terms of tone, but that’s probably a stretch. I just finished reading it, so it’s fresh in my mind. There are similarities to King’s Dark Tower series as well, such as time bending and questionable realities, but I can hardly compare the writing to King’s, or Baron’s for that matter. In terms of plot and character, there are similarities to Gaiman’s Neverwhere, but I don’t write like Neil Gaiman at all. There I go, being vague again.

9. Who Or What Inspired You To Write This Book?

I’m continually inspired by many things, so I can’t point to any one item in my life and say, “Here! This inspired me!” My wife and sons are always a source of inspiration.

That said, see question #2.

10. What Else About Your Book Might Pique The Reader’s Interest?

The book was really a stretch for me. It’s written in first-person from the female protagonist’s point of view. I wasn’t sure I had the attention span to maintain a single voice throughout, but I think I managed pretty well. And writing in first person led to what I think is an interesting little end to the book. It’s not a twist ending necessarily, or gimmicky, but I don’t think I would have ever imagined closing the book the way I did if I’d used any other point of view.

Thanks to my inviter, Sheldon Higdon, author of Hand-Carved Coffins: http://www.sheldonhigdon.com/blog

Check Sheldon out. He’s a talented writer and one of the most generous people I know.

I’m supposed to tag five other authors to write similar posts. For several reasons, I’ve decided to break the chain. I am going to list out some other writers you should go check out, but I’m not asking them to do this “Next Big Thing”. I just think you should read their blogs and take a risk on their work.

Scott A. Johnson, author of The Stanley Cooper Chronicles.

Scott was one of my mentors in my graduate program. He has a keen sense of humor, writes some very cool stuff, and has a lot to share about writing and the writing process.

Tim Waggoner, author of Like Death and The Shirley Jackson Award nominated The Men Upstairs.

Tim was my other mentor in my graduate program. He’s a thoughtful person, an excellent teacher, and crafts some pretty strange stuff. Well worth checking out.

Chris Shearer, writer, editor, reviewer, critic.

Chris is one of my trusted sources when it come to contemporary fiction worth reading. His reviews are found at FEARNet and Cemetery Dance. I’ve read some of his short fiction, and it’s clear he has a handle on what this thing called Horror is all about.

Kristin Dearborn, author of Trinity.

Kristin’s debut novel Trinity was released in late September. It’s a solid book, well written, with a unique take on alien abductions. She recently did this “Next Big Thing” thing, so take a look as see what else she has coming down the line.

Jason Jack Miller, author of Hellbender.

Jason’s the only writer I’ve met personally who successfully parlayed self-publishing into a book deal. He has a lot to say on the subject of self-publishing and is worth listening to regardless of your perspective on the matter.

Lawrence C. Connolly, author of The Veins Cycle.

Larry taught several classes in my graduate program, and I’ve had occasion to hang out with him at a few Cons. He’s extremely insightful when it comes both to writing and the business of writing. His Veins Cycle books are a wonderful blend of horror, action, and Native American mythology.

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