I’ve been invited by Penny Grubb (http://pennygrubb.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/my-next-big-thing.html) to take part in the Next Big Thing Blog Tour. My five nominees were supposed to be listed at the end, but, for various reasons, they were unable to commit, so I guess this is the end of this particular leg of the tour!
In common with most published writers, I write to be read. But I also break a great publishing rule, imposed by agents and traditional publishers for reasons of their own: I don’t write in only one genre. In fact, I rarely consider genre before I set out to write a story. This makes my work difficult to categorise, of course. But, as I give a description of every book, I see no difficulty with this approach.
Take a look at the titles under the tab ‘My Books’ and you’ll see what I mean. There’s a romantic thriller, a sci-fi novelette, an anthology of tender love stories, a collection of dark speculative fiction, a cheeky story for the New Year, a selection of stories from my writing group, an erotic anthology and a collection of prize-winning sci-fi and fantasy stories to which I was invited to contribute.
So, it’s not immediately obvious what my next big thing might be. But, I am currently working on the second volume of an epic fantasy trilogy intended for an adult readership. Volume one is ready for publication and volume two is well along the editing path. Volume three is around as an outline combined with a huge number of ideas floating around the caverns of my mind. I intend to publish this story after I have introduced it by publishing a number of short novelettes starring various minor characters from the main story. So, that is likely to be the next big thing for me. Capricious? I’m an artist, in the sense that I create from imagination, and it’s difficult to pin me down. One thing I can promise my readers, however, is that the epic fantasy will be well on the way to completion before I publish volume one. I think there is nothing more irritating for readers than to become involved in a story that runs over several books only to find that the writer has either lost interest or failed to engage the level of discipline needed to complete the work.
What is the working title of your book?
The series will go under a title which, for the moment, remains secret. However, the first volume is ‘Joinings’, the second ‘Partings’ and the third is provisionally titled ‘Endings’.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This series has been around in my head for so long that I can no longer recall its germination. I can, however, let you know that it deals with themes of injustice, betrayal, religious hypocrisy and the strength or genuine love.
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s an epic fantasy, but excluding elves, dwarves and dragons (thought the latter mythical creatures do feature in the folklore).
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About seventy years! Actually, for reasons I won’t bore you with, it’s been an on and off project that started over 30 years ago with the development of the imagined world and the drawing of the map. The actual writing was interrupted by domestic events and life that got in the way but began around seven years ago. In that time, I’ve written two volumes of around 220,000 words each. I’ve edited one and am currently half way through editing the second.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m not into comparisons for my work, as I don’t consciously feed off the work of others. The book neither refers to nor borrows from any other. It’s the product of my imagination, influenced by the thousands of books I’ve read, the many films and plays I’ve watched, the multitude of life experiences I’ve passed through. I understand that literature is necessarily incestuous but I’d be hard put to identify any parents or siblings for this work. I’ll let readers decide.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My work is almost always the result of free imagination. I’m able to sit at the keyboard and produce a short story without any preparation. Obviously, for a series of this complexity and scope, I had to develop a history, customs, religions, landscapes, social patterns, laws, traditions, myths and all those other things that bring an imagined work to life. The themes, however, as explained above, permeate much of my writing; in particular the issue of injustice and the all-pervasive idea of hypocrisy within organised religion. It was undoubtedly thinking on these matters that brought the pot to the boil until the ideas melted together and became the story that now feeds the books.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
My stories are character driven. I aim to make the people who inhabit my fiction into characters they will know or, at least, come to know. Some are very bad, others are very good and, in between lie those people we all meet and live with, escape from, love, hate, like, despise and worship.
Which five writers will take over from you next week and tell us about their next big thing:-
Here was supposed to be the list for links to the blogs of 5 other writers taking part in the tour. Unfortunately, they were unable to commit for a multitude of reasons, most of which I fully understand, as a busy writer myself.