The lovely and very talented AJ Ashworth has tagged me in “The Next Big Thing” blog meme, which invites writers to answer some questions about a recent or forthcoming book. My novel, “The Summer We All Ran Away”, will be published by Legend Press next August. Here are my answers to the compulsory “Next Big Thing” questions…
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This sounds dopey, but it’s the truth – it came from a recurring childhood dream about a particular road in Falmouth which leads straight downwards into the harbour. The dream was very simple – just standing at the top of the hill, looking out across the harbour, seeing a house on the other side, and wondering what would happen if I tried to cross the harbour to reach it. My fascination with this dream-house and the people who might have lived there was the inspiration for a novel about runaways past and present, and the price of following your dreams.
What genre does your book fall under?
I’d say it’s probably Posh Escapism. Is that a thing, or have I just made it up?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
If I could pick absolutely anyone to be involved, it would be the Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki. So I’d be choosing the actors more for their voices than their appearance.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
It’s a story about love, murder, redemption and running away.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published in August 2013 by the brilliant Legend Press.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About eighteen months, I think. It got interrupted at various points along the way by “New World Fairy Tales” winning the Scott Prize, my Fifty Shades book review going a bit viral and landing me the deal to write the “Lighter Shades” trilogy, and being chosen as one of New Writing North’s 2012 Read Regional authors.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Probably sheer bloody-mindedness! After a fairly relentless two-year focus on short stories, taking on a novel was a bit of a shock. The shape of the story also changed several times, with the final solution to the mystery only falling into place right at the last minute.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Fellow Forteans will be pleased to know that an Alien Big Cat is an important part of the story.
And that’s me! I’m handing over the baton to the following five writers, who will hopefully be posting their “Next Big Thing” updates in the next week or so:
Carys Bray, whose beautiful short-story collection “Sweet Home” was the very worthy winner of the 2012 Scott Prize.
Jonathan Pinnock, a fellow 2011 Scott Prize winner who wrote the good Regency Steampunk Jane Austen monster mash-up (that’s “Mrs Darcy vs the Aliens”, and not “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”) and whose short story collection “Dot, Dash” is next on my reading-list.
Sophie Duffy, whose novel “The Generation Game” is published by Legend Press.
Joseph D’lacey, author of “Blood Fugue” from Proxima Press – a brilliant / horrific vampire novel that restored my faith in the Immortal Undead.
AJ Kirby – author of many horror novels, my favourite being “Bully”, which actually made me feel like I had to take a bath after finishing it.
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