I’ve been persuaded by my fellow Dark Angel John Simmons to take part in something known as The Next Big Thing. It’s described as an author blog chain. This is how it works.
I answer the questions below and ‘tag’ five writers of my choice who, in turn, blog their own answers to the questions next week, each tagging another five writers, who blog etc in their turn. Meanwhile we all make as much noise as we can about the whole thing.
As John said, it’s a kind of literary Ponzi scheme – except that no money changes hands (when did it ever for most writers?). But it does allow writers to tickle people’s fancy with details of their new books and bring them to the attention of new readers. So here goes …
What is the working title of your next book? As regular readers of A Few Kind Words will know, it’s The Artefact – and it’s caused me a disproportionate amount of heartache for something that will end up making me five bob.
Where did the idea come from for the book? For many years I’ve wanted to mine the diaries I kept during a nine-month journey through Latin America in 1972/3. That trip was a huge landmark in my life and it’s still there vividly in my memory and my imagination. Having indulged in a bit of pilfering as a schoolboy, I was also curious about the circumstances that might lead someone to become a full-blown kleptomaniac. My Edinburgh-based compulsive thief finds his destiny oddly entwined with that of a tribe of Amazonian Indians.
What genre does your book fall under? Aha! My perennial problem. Young adult, most likely. In many ways it’s a great age group to write for. One has tremendous imaginative freedom, and the main characters are all already in a state of crisis simply by virtue of their age. It’s also a booming market at present. But if your stories work for adults as well, which mine seem to, then the young adult genre can feel like a bit of a ghetto.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Tricky. I’m not hugely au fait with the 20-somethings who would be playing my two main protagonists. A few years ago I might have said James MacAvoy for Adam, my (anti-)hero. Now possibly one of the lads from Angels’ Share? And a beautiful but determined Amerindian girl called Lali? Answers on a postcard, please …
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? Trainspotting meets the Emerald Forest.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My agent, Jenny Brown of Jenny Brown Associates, is an old friend. She will do her damnedest to find me a publisher, as she always has done before. If she can’t I’ll put it straight onto Kindle
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I wrote the first draft of my last book, The Reckoning, in 10 months. I can’t imagine what else I was doing at the time. The Artefact has so far taken well over three years. I wrote 60,000 words in the first year and about 5,000 each in the last two! But I am getting close to the end now.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I don’t know. I’ve been out of the loop and haven’t read enough of the genre lately. My last book but two, The Witness, had close parallels with both Kidnapped and The 39 Steps.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? No particular person or event. It’s more the product of my own experiences and imagination.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? It’s the story of a latch-key childhood, a curse, the Scottish criminal underworld, a hopeless romance and an embattled Amazonian community, all wrapped up in a rattling adventure. Piquante enough?
And finally, a slight hitch when it comes to my five tag-ees. Due to circumstances entirely within my control, I only invited them to take part yesterday. They haven’t all replied yet, so I’ll just have to let you know who they are next week.