Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Last week, Frank Wheeler, Jr., author of THE WOWZER (which just wound up on Barnes and Noble's Ransom Notes' year end Best-Of list so go buy it and stuff), tagged me in the Next Big Thing meme that's been making the rounds. Now, I ain't one to tag others (in part because I'm lazy, and in part because I have no friends), but it's been a while since I've written a proper blog post, so I thought I'd take a crack at answering the questions, at least. So without further ado, here goes:

1. What is the working title of you current/next project?

THE BIG REAP. And I think the title's gonna stick, since my publisher's released the cover already.

2. Where did the idea come from?

I've talked before about the fact that my series' protagonist, undead soul collector Sam Thornton, came to me as I was drifting off to sleep one night. As for this book specifically, I wanted to pay homage to the iconic horror I was raised on, from the classic Universal movie monsters (and the novels that inspired them), to Stephen King and Alien, Jaws and Poltergeist and the like. So I folded them all into the Collector universe as best I could.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Folks seem to like to call this sort of book urban fantasy, but it seems to me, that don't quite fit. A lot of the action in my Collector series takes place in the middle of nowhere, which puts the lie to the "urban" part of the equation. I tend to think of the series as fantastical noir. But honestly, so long as folks are buying 'em, they can call the books whatever genre they like.

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

I'm always lousy about this game. My characters don't look like anybody but themselves to my mind's eye. That said, I've had this conversation with some folks online a time or two, and here's a couple bits of fantasy-casting I quite liked.

For Sam, I've heard Josh Jackson, whose world-weary charm on Fringe would fit the bill just fine. Clive Owen was also mentioned, and he's great with the sort of hard-bitten dialogue to which I aspire. Someone suggested Sam be played by Robert Downey, Jr., and I sure wouldn't say no to that, either.

Sam's handler Lilith is another fan-favorite when it comes to casting. Frontrunners include Christina Hendricks and Melinda Clarke. Author Dan O'Shea thinks a young Sophia Loren would fit the bill. I even got a vote online for Sofia Vergara, which is kinda left-field, but what the heck.

And for this book, I don't know who should play the monstrous antagonists, but I'd love Rick Baker to be the guy designing them.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sam Thornton's gig as a Collector means he's charged with dispatching the damned to hell, but when he's tasked with hunting down and killing the mythical Brethren – a group of former Collectors who've cast off their ties to hell – he's forced to ask himself, is he still working on the side of right?

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

THE BIG REAP was sold by proposal to Angry Robot Books by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Jennifer also brokered the initial deal for books one and two in the series.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft?

I don't want to jinx myself, since the book's not finished yet; as I write this, I'm at about 92,000 words, and I expect my first draft will come in just shy of 100,000. But I started it in August, and I'm getting close, so I'll ballpark the first draft at five months.

8. Which other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think Stephen Blackmoore's CITY OF THE LOST and DEAD THINGS play in the same pulp-crime-meets-dark-fantasy sandbox as my stuff. Ditto Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt books. As to whether I can hang with the likes of them is up the audience to decide.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Uh, see my answer to #2. For me, idea and inspiration go hand-in-hand. The Collector series is very much an assemblage of all the types of stories I love best: crime, horror, fantasy, action-comedy. I guess at root, I'm trying to write the sort of story I like to read. It just so happens all those sorts rarely wind up in one story.

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

It's got my own weird-ass take on vampires, lycanthropes, patchwork Frankenstein-monsters, and brain-munching zombies. Plus a healthy dose of secret history and religious conspiracy, and more action than you can jab a stake at. It also features maybe the weirdest, grossest scene I've ever written. (I don't know if that's a positive or a negative.) And while it's not intended to be the last of my Collector books, I will say this: it is chock full of BIG, IMPORTANT HAPS. So, you know, read it. Or don't. But please do.

So there you have it. Like I said, I ain't gonna tag anybody, but if y'all feel like joining in, feel free, and I'll be sure to link to you.