Interviewed by Jake Elliot (sort of)!
I’m excited! Today, my first interview as a published author has come to pass. Well, sort of.
You see, earlier this week, I was lucky enough to be named as an “author to look out for” by Jake Elliot (author of The Wrong Way Down and Crossing Mother’s Grave, both of which I’ve reviewed in past months). He’s taking part in a promotional campaign called “The Next Big Thing”, where indie and small press authors answer a series of pre-written questions about their work and present it to the world in a blog post. One of the rules of this campaign is that you must name at least one author who you think is the Next Big Thing for you — and then they have to do it, too. Given that my first novel is being released just two weeks from now (another cause for excitement), I thought I’d give it a go.
So, just in time to generate some hype before the release of Sun Bleached Winter on December 1st, here’s a little insight about my experiences writing the book, and some details about my next planned work:
1) What was your working title of your book?
Funnily enough, I think I’m one of the few authors who can say that their book’s working title is nearly the same as its final title. See, when I first started writing Sun Bleached Winter, the title I gave it, just off the top of my head, was The Sunbleached Winter. After I actually sat down and thought about it, I intended to name the book Waiting for Sunrise instead, but then a book with that title came out when I was only halfway done, so I took the old title, slightly revised it and there you go.
The novel I’m working on right now is titled Vectorspawn for the time being. It’s a sci-fi/horror story about zombies in space. I don’t know if the title will stick.
2) Where did the idea come from for your book?
Actually, I’ve wanted to write something post-apocalyptic for a while, though I didn’t really envision my first book being in that genre. I randomly got the idea of writing a story about morality and a protagonist slowly going insane as he copes with the consequences of hard decisions, and I needed a backdrop that justified this theme. I realised that post-apocalyptia (that’s a word, isn’t it?) was a great place to set the story – there are no morals in a dystopia, and everyone’s doing what they can to survive. You have to make hard decisions, which is why the protagonists of post-apocalyptic stories are often anti-heroes.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s classifed as a dark sci-fi novel, but being a horror writer, I’d personally say that it has equal parts horror as well. Many scenes in the book are intended to unsettle you – or at least gross you out.
My next novel, the space zombie one, will probably fit snugly in the same kind of genre, though being set in space, it’ll be something similar to the movie Alien in tone.
4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Movie rendition? Doesn’t that mean it’s the director’s choice, not mine? In either case, I’m not too sure as I’ve never really thought about it. Viggo Mortensen’s role in The Road is pretty close to what I’d expect for someone playing the protagonist in Sun Bleached Winter, though I don’t think he could pull off being 27 years old.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A man wanders around thinking about the past and people try to kill him. Though a lot more happens in between.
6) Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. It’s being published by a small press called Damnation Books, and it was an unagented submission. I’m not sure what will happen with my second novel yet. I’d love to be published by Random House or something, but that’s probably a pipe dream.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Almost exactly one year. I started it in April of 2011 and finished it in June of 2012. Considering it’s only 40,000 words long, this may not be a good thing.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well, I set out to write a book that isn’t really comparable with similar books that I’ve read. My book’s nothing like The Hunger Games and it isn’t The Walking Dead (though it certainly borrows a lot of its tone from it). The closest comparison would be The Road by Cormac McCarthy, though I’ve only seen the film adaptation.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My muse. If I don’t write what it tells me to, it’ll lock me up in a windowless room in the basement. Seriously, it’s already working on a robot clone to replace me if I don’t keep up my 1000 words a day habit.
10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Strangely for a spec-fic author, I appreciate the niceties of literary fiction. I tried to include some literary elements in Sun Bleached Winter for others such inclined. There’s a lot of emotion, characterisation, introversion and some incoherent rumblings about what it means to be human.
I’ve got some free samples you can try.