The Next Big Thing

If you visit many other authors’ blogs, chances are you’ll have come across The Next Big Thing blog chain. Here’s how it works – an author answers ten questions about their next piece of work, then they tag five other authors to answer the same questions one week later. Adam Nevill tagged me last week (here’s Adam’s post), and here are my answers.

What is the working title of your next book?
17 DAYS

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s a concept I’ve been toying with on and off since the mid-nineties. It occurred to me that if we knew the precise date of our own death, it would affect absolutely everything we do in the time which remains. But would that necessarily be a bad thing?

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s probably a little more mainstream than anything I’ve written before, but there are definite dystopian overtones.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Complete unknowns. That’s essential.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Mark Thane is going to die in seventeen days time. Probably. (Sorry, that’s two sentences).

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Represented (by Scott Miller at Trident Media, New York).

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Excluding the fifteen years I’d been messing with the idea on and off, about six weeks.

What other books/films would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are very definite shades of NETWORK, the 1976 Sidney Lumet movie. I guess there’s also a V FOR VENDETTA influence in there too.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The initial inspiration came so long ago now it’s hard to remember. I’m fascinated by our attitudes to death. I’ve always thought it fantastically liberating how animals live without fear because they don’t know they’re going to die. They assume they’ll just keep on going. We, on the other hand, seem to have either an unhealthy preoccupation with (or an equally unhealthy ignorance of) our own mortality. What happens if the rules change? How would you react if you knew exactly how long you had left?

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think it’s a really original book which takes the story in very unexpected directions. In seventeen days the main character goes on a remarkable journey. Oh, and there’s loads of sex. Move over ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, Moody’s gone all soft-porn.

More news about 17 DAYS coming soon. Here are the chaps I’ve tagged for next week:

ADAM BAKER
CRAIG DILOUIE
IAIN MCKINNON
ADAM MILLARD
SEAN T PAGE

What’s next?

I’m conscious that there are a lot of empty spaces on this site right now. The HATER and AUTUMN series are all but finished (though not quite) and the serialisation of TRUST is well underway, but other than that I don’t seem to have many updates to share with you right now. That’s largely because I’m working on a number of new projects, and there’s not a lot to tell about any of them just yet. In any event, I thought I’d give you the barest of details to try and whet your appetites and keep your interest. It also might explain why I’m not around here as much as I’d like.

In no particular order then, here are the projects I’m currently planning/writing/developing/working on…

17 DAYS
A brand new novel which I hope to have written by the end of September. Those of you who’ve been following me for a while might remember MARK THANE – an aborted serialised novel from 2005/6 (I think). 17 DAYS takes the germ of Mark Thane’s story and beefs it up by adding a few healthy dollops of social breakdown and urban terrorism into the mix. It’s actually broader in appeal than anything I’ve written before, I think, and I love it.

THE SPACES BETWEEN
A five (and a half) book series set in a dystopian future not too far removed from today’s reality. Greg Dawson is an armed social worker and one of the few remaining people who still genuinely gives a damn about anyone else. Many of the social and political problems we’re facing today have continued to fester, and the UK has become a dangerous place to live (unless you’ve got power and/or money, and 99% of the population have neither). Dawson’s work brings him into contact with the extremes of the social spectrum, and a series of diverse cases results in him uncovering things no one should have to face. There’s a rumour the world’s going to end soon, but that’s the very least of Dawson’s problems. This one’s going to take a while to see the light of day – it’s an intricate story, so all the individual books have to be fully mapped out before I start writing. With a little luck, I’ll be writing the first book in the series – tentatively titled TOMMY – in early 2013. Think CHILDREN OF MEN meets QUATERMASS, and you’ll start to get an idea of the direction I’m taking with this one.

STRAIGHT TO YOU
I’ve been really pleased with the reception TRUST has had, so I’m going to continue the resurrection of Infected Books by dusting down and re-writing my debut novel from 1996. The plan at the moment is to have the book reworked by early 2013, and to serialise it next year in the same way I’m currently serialising TRUST.

STRANGERS
A quick, dark and dirty horror novel. A really nasty little number. As close to a vampire novel as I’m ever going to get (with absolutely no fangs, capes or sparkly teens). This book is currently being scoped out with a view to (hopefully) trying to bash it out at speed in 2013.

AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION
Pretty much all of the stories which made up the original release of THE HUMAN CONDITION are now available online at www.lastoftheliving.net. But there’s more… new stories were written to accompany DISINTEGRATION and AFTERMATH, and to further expand the AUTUMN universe (did you read JOE & ME?). I’d like, therefore, to produce a definitive version of The Human Condition (mass market paperback, eBook, limited edition hardcover) which collects up EVERY additional AUTUMN story. ETA – the second half of 2013.

ISOLATION
A brief final word about Isolation, which I announced at the beginning of the year and have so far completely failed to update you about. It is happening. It will be made. We have a great team working on the project but, inevitably, it’s having to take second place to all our other (paying) commitments. It will be worth the wait, I promise. We’re going to be meeting in the coming weeks to get things moving. More news soon.

So there you go. If I’m not posting much on here, that’s why. I am busy, honest!