Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Just before Christmas I was invited by Margaret Skea to take part in this blog hop, wherein authors tag each other in the hopes of sharing a little web traffic, perhaps encouraging blog readers to take a peek at the work of authors outside their usual sphere of interest and so on. We writers are notoriously desperate for attention - it's not for us, you understand, it's for our brainchildren.

Margaret is the writer of Turn of the Tide, Historical Fiction Winner in the 2011 Harper Collins / Alan Titchmarsh People’s Novelist Competition. She has won a number of awards and has been published in a range of magazines and anthologies in Britain and the USA.

Fair to say, I'm a blog-hop virgin but too much preamble won't make this any easier so I'd really best just get on with it. If you hear cherries popping, try to push it into the background.

So, to the questions...

What is the working title of your next book?

Evil Utd. It's the third volume in the Evil UnLtd series so you can see what I did there.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well, the idea for the series came from having watched too much Star Trek and that sort of thing and getting tired of seeing a lot of goody-two-shoes types travelling around the universe doing far too many good deeds. It was high time villains got a look in. From there on the ideas for each book kind of generated themselves.

What genre does your book fall under?

Sci-Fi Comedy. With much more emphasis on the Comedy than the Sci.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Ah, that's an easy one as I've already done a mock imdb listing for Evil UnLtd.
Although for the most part I prefer to remain tight-lipped about casting, as I'd rather readers be left to build their own portraits in their imaginations. That said, there are other possibilities - our main villain, Dexter Snide, for example, I always saw as Richard E Grant when first writing him some years ago. But it's a great part, so it's only right a number of actors would compete to play him.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

The Farce Of The Dark Side.

That's the tag line I use for the series. I don't actually have a line that encapsulates the third book. Yet.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?

Self-published. Although I am open to offers.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the book?

Each Evil UnLtd volume takes about 6 months to write. Although that's not always a contiguous 6 months as I tend to take breaks to work on other projects or just to take breaks. I find it helps keep the humour fresh if I'm a little flexible with self-imposed deadlines.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

Well, The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy series would be the closest comparison but these books have their own wicked tone.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As I say, what tends to happen is you get struck with a ton of other ideas while writing the previous instalment and then you're left having to cobble it all together in a plot that makes (some) sense. But the 2012 London Olympic Games were also a great inspiration on this book specifically. I'd actually had the idea some time ago for a plot centred around a galactic Olympics, but it turned out to be good timing that I waited this long to get around to writing it.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

Besides the high laugh to page ratio and the Olympic thing, we have the media, war and recession. So it's all good, obviously. Plus a bit of a superhero thread in this one. When you've created a band of villains of this magnitude you're obliged to pit them against a bunch of superheroes sooner or later. band of superheroes. I've had great fun - and a greater challenge! - some colourful costumed crusaders of my own.

On a less frivolous note, it's also very worth mentioning that all royalties from the Evil UnLtd books are currently going to Cancer Research UK. See the link here for details.

For right now, that's until May 24th 2013 which is the planned release date for Evil UnLtd Vol 3... but to be honest if the campaign proves successful I'm considering making that a longer term arrangement. At the very least contributing a percentage of royalties to Cancer Research on a permanent basis. So people buying Evil will be doing some Good.

And now, in true Olympic fashion, it's time to pass the baton to my fellow authors. In principle, I'm supposed to tag five but it turns out willing writers are harder to find than you might think. Fair dues and no worries to the friends who were busy or perhaps doubtful about the merits of blogging.

(But I want to make parenthetical mention of a certain class of author on Twitter. I threw out an open invitation on that social media platform because I knew how there were so many who were keen to spam with links to their sites and books as soon as you follow them. But as it happens, while pebble-dashing you with unsolicited links is apparently acceptable etiquette, they're strangely silent and unresponsive when actually offered the chance of some free promotion. To those writers, I just want to say I pray I don't get tarnished with your especially dowdy feathers.)

Thankfully, in the Twitterverse and elsewhere there are bright stars that shine. So I'd like to take this opportunity to direct your attentions to two very worthy writers I'm proud to know.

First of all, Stuart Douglas.

Stuart has worked in a toy shop, a farm, a chocolate factory and a zoo - if he ever gets cast as Dr Who he'lll have fulfilled his every childhood ambition! In the meantime he runs Obverse Books and Manleigh Books, publishing science fiction, steampunk, fantasy and pulp short stories, novellas and novels.

Observant readers will have noticed a link to his blog in my sidebar for these past years. I became friends with Stuart through Doctor Who circles and as well as having exemplary taste in TV and fiction, he's doing great things in publishing with a host of creative titles under the Obverse and Manleigh banners. It all started with some wonderful Doctor Who spin-offery and has blossomed from there.

Kimberly Menozzi

Kimberly Menozzi has lived in Italy with her husband Alessandro since 2004. A fan of bike racing and photography enthusiast, she is also the hired staff of a demented rescue kitty named Sophie who cuddles with her during cold winter nights.

Kimberly is presently working on several projects, including a novel set in the world of professional road cycling, a novella prequel for her first novel Ask Me if I'm Happy, and another novella loosely inspired by the events which led her to move to Italy.

I first met Kimberly through HarperCollins' authonomy site but have since stayed in contact and even had the pleasure of meeting her while on holiday in Italy, where we enjoyed a long-promised cappuccino.

While talent shows are among the lowest cultural denominators, there is nothing wrong with showing talent. So I'm more than happy to point you in the direction of these two talents. Go check them out and they may well have something to say on the Next Big Thing within a week or so.


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