Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Next Big Thing

There’s this thing going round the internet and it’s called the Next Big Thing. I’ve been tagged to participate in the four or five times now, but didn’t have the time or the energy to take part. So I’ve reached a compromise: I’m adding my voice to the melee, but I’m not tagging anyone to do the same, mainly because by now every writer friend I have has already been tagged. And also because I like to see myself as something of an iconoclast.

So, here you go: my Next Big Thing. Hopefully.


What is the working title of your next book?

The Quiet Room.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Some time ago, I wrote a story for an independent publisher call Spectral Press, which was their inaugural release in a now successful line of chapbooks. The story was called What They Hear in the Dark, and while I was writing it I realised that it wanted to be a novel.

What genre does your book fall under?

Supernatural horror. It’s basically my spin on a haunted house story, but it’s also about an ordinary couple whose child has been murdered, and examines how they both try to cope with that loss. I’m trying to mix supernatural horror with elements of mainstream fiction – which is something I’ve always wanted to do at novel length.

What actors would you choose to play the parts of your characters in a movie adaptation?

Rod Stillwater would be played by Tim Roth

Becky Stillwater would be played by Naomi Watts

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

It's about a man and a woman and a murdered child, and a haunted room in a haunted house filled with haunted come, tell us what you hear when you open the door to The Quiet Room.

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

I’m represented by Sharon Ring, and this is the first novel I’ve ever written on spec, which means that when it’s finished my agent will send it around to publishers and try to sell it. It’s very scary, because my previous novels were all sold from pitches by the time I wrote them. This is a real leap of faith. There’s no publisher sitting and waiting for this book; I have to chase them.

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

A year and counting…I’m still writing it. The writing process on this one is like pulling teeth, but hopefully that means it’ll be good.

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

I like to think there’s a little bit of Shirley Jackson’s Hill House in my Quiet Room, and possibly even a few long, cold shadows cast by Ramsey Campbell’s Nazareth Hill.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired by the thought of losing a child; the murder of your son or daughter. Because what horror could be more devastating than that? How the fuck would you fill that void in your life and what would you do to combat that level of grief?

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

I think it’s well written, and certainly filled with emotion. I spend a lot of time working on my characters, and I want a reader to feel everything they do. I care. I want people who read the book to care.

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