What will be the next big thing in the world of fiction? Every so often a book, or a series of books, will come along and knock our collective socks off, be it Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code or even Fifty Shades of Grey.
The Next Big Thing sets out to give writers an opportunity to nominate peers they think are worthy of your attention.
The rules are simple. A writer nominates you to answer ten questions about your current work in progress. You answer those questions and then in turn, nominate a further five writers to do the same thing.
Author of The Night Man Cometh, Tony Paul de-Vissage kindly nominated me after reading both The Green Man and First Kiss, Last Breath. You can check out details of his current WIP and his other nominations here.
So, on to my interview:
1. What is the working title of your book?
My book is called Rise and Fall. It is the first book of a planned series titled The Burning Gates.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I haven't a clue! I had an idea for a short story where, during the Balkan war, a group of soldiers encounter a portal leading to Hell and have to escape a hoard of Hellspawn. The only thing to survive was the concept of a portal leading to Hell. The story is set in the UK and it centres on one family faced with a series of apocalyptic "incidents".
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Urban fantasy and horror.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Richard Hardy is a leading man type so someone like Ben Affleck would fit the role. His brothers are Michael, slightly younger with an attitude, so I'm thinking Aaron Johnson, and Daniel, younger still and an introvert, so Kodi Smit-McPhee. Daniel's twin, Emma, is a bit more grungy, so perhaps Elizabeth Olsen. For Richard's bride-to-be, Rachel Brooks, I'd reunite Affleck with his co-star from The Town, Rebecca Hall.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Richard Hardy and Rachel Brooks were supposed to start their new life together, but instead, the end of the world began.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Watch this space…
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Three months (ish). Then the nightmare of redrafting commenced.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It's written as a series of viewpoints, similar to George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, and it has an apocalyptic feel akin to Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead graphic novels. In truth, it isn't much like either set of books though.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I love to write and I've been working hard to improve the writing techniques I employ. I've mainly written short fiction to this point and my next goal was to write something novel length. I've certainly done that with Rise and Fall! In terms of inspiration, writing is my one selfish pursuit. I do it for me, simple as that.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Here is a short excerpt to sucker you in:
Richard led Daniel through the gap in the railings, beyond a copse of trees. Shep followed without an argument and the three of them limped on in unison. They emerged at the top of a rise that allowed a glimpse of the centre of Stockport. Every road in view was crammed full of stationary cars and there were thousands of people fighting in the streets. It was pandemonium.
Richard watched in disbelief. The mob was frenzied and the madness was not constrained to one area. It was everywhere, unravelling as far as he could see. The thin line of police vans present were swamped by the chaos.
"Rick," Daniel said quietly.
"Help is coming," Richard muttered.
"Rick," Daniel repeated.
Richard didn't answer and this time Daniel dragged at his arm. Richard numbly followed the direction of his brother.
He saw it then. It was a great burning wound, a tear in the sky itself. Flames raged at its edges and what looked like streaming black smoke poured from within, spreading across the morning like blood from ruptured arteries. The smoke swirled down over static cars and the raging crowd. It broke apart, became swooping vultures. They slammed into people, disappearing on impact.
Panic choked Richard. Then he noticed the plane.
It was low, far too low. And it was coming fast. There were no roaring engines, no jet streams. There were no flashing lights. It cruised wickedly toward the town centre and it was not alone. Three more passenger jets followed ominously.
"Nobody's coming," Daniel whispered.
Richard didn't answer. Words escaped him as the first plane crashed into Stockport.
Failing that, try one of my other published works or one of my free downloads. You can find out details of all my writing on my website www.leemather.org.uk.
After my shameless plugging, who are my picks as writers to look out for? I've had the pleasure of working with, and featuring alongside, some talented and passionate individuals in 2012 and I'm pleased that the following people agreed to participate in the Next Big Thing as my recommendations.
My first is South African author, Nerine Dorman. Her novel Inkarna has made the 2012 Bram Stoker Award reading list.
Another Fading Light cohort is Jake Elliott. Jake discusses his fantasy novel Crossing Mother's Grave in an interview to feature on my blog later this month.
My final choice is Stacey Turner of Angelic Knight Press. She is the brains behind the forthcoming dystopian anthology, No Place Like Home.
Read their interviews and check out their blogs to see if you agree with my selection…
Find out more about my writing at www.leemather.org.uk
You could also follow me on Twitter even if you don't think if I have the next big thing in my locker…