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Sunday, April 22 2018 @ 01:36 AM EST

The Next Big Thing

THE NEXT BIG THING is a chain of book and author recommendations. One author tags five others, who then each tag five others. The idea is that we all help people out there learn about all the good stuff that’s just out or coming soon.
Every Wednesday, the tagged authors post the answers to five questions on their blog or website. Yeah, I know today is Thursday. So, I'm running a bit late and we're just going to pretend today is Wednesday instead. Okay? I mean, what are you going to do? Call the Time Police on me?
Anyway, Alan Baxter tagged me on over on his blog after he was tagged by Angela Slatter, and now it's my turn in the hotseat. Here we go...

1) What is the working title of your next book?
When I first started writing it was just 'The Body Story'. I was about 5,000 words or so in before I realised that the real title was already there: both in a word written on a DVD, and in the actions and motivations and restrictions of the characters. Since then, the title has been 'BOUND' and that single word sums up a large part of the story, so I can't really see it changing.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
One of those strange things that pops into your head for no reason. A first sentence that just begged to be explored. "They found her body in the boot of an abandoned car." I wrote that down, and within an hour had another 1,000 words. Next day, all the newspapers had as headlines, BODY FOUND IN ABANDONED CAR, or similar. It was on the TV news for our region, too. Happened not too far from where I lived. That was pretty creepy. They caught the murderer, apparently, in not too short a time - a matter of days - which is a bit unlike the killer in BOUND.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Definitely Crime, not a hint of Horror or Fantasy or Science Fiction, which has been a strange experiment for me.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
If I was ever fortunate to have a story optioned or made into a film, I'd hope that there would be a Casting Director to take care of that. I don't like to describe the physical appearance of characters with anything more than very broad (and sparse) brush-strokes. I never really have a concrete image of what my characters really look like, and I think it makes it better, more immersive, for the reader if they can impose a 'face' of their own imagining onto a character.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Jim Henderson's wife goes missing then turns up dead in the boot of an abandoned car, the discovery of a DVD amongst his wife's possessions challenges Jim's image of their marriage, and leads him on a journey into darkness and depravity to find her killer.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I have a publisher interested in publishing BOUND as part of the new e-novella range.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It's taken six months and I'm still writing! But really, that's because I'm an 'Edit-as-I-go' person. By the time I've finished first draft, I've pretty much done a 2nd and 3rd draft as part of the writing process. Plus, there was almost 4 weeks off after I broke my right hand; that didn't help the wordcount much. I'm nearing the end now though, so it will probably end up seven months for a fairly polished 30,000 words.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
That's hard to say because I'm not really that well versed in the Crime genre. I've read a lot of Elmore Leonard and James Sallis and James Ellroy, but that's really about it. Sallis's 'Drive' and 'Driven' and Cormac McCarthy's 'No Country For Old Men' were probably big influences on the writing style. So was Daniel Woodrell's work. But I really couldn't make any comparison to the story or plot.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See question 2) - it was just one of those ideas that popped up and demanded to be explored. I was still pecking away at it every now and then - between short stories - and then a publisher contacted me and asked if I might have something they'd be interested in. I sent them the first 5,000 words and I received a very positive reply of "Wow, I wasn't seeing that shift coming. Please keep writing!"
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
BOUND is a dark novella and I've taken my characters to some pretty nasty places, but there is also hope and courage and devotion. Maybe, ultimately, retribution. I guess that, if you want a crime story that's more about people than it is about police procedures, then BOUND might be for you.
So, my job is almost done. Now, it is but for me to pass the Next Big Thing baton on to some other writers I think you might well be interested in keeping your eye on. I've only listed 3 writers (instead of the standard 5) because these are THE THREE that I think you need to watch and read. They'll be posting their answers next week, Wednesday 6th December, or maybe it will be Thursday, at their own blogs and websites.
And, without further ado, those three are:


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