The Next Big Thing

Welcome to my edition of The Next Big Thing, which is a chain of book and author recommendations – so far luminaries like Sarah Pinborough, Paul Magrs, and Adam Nevill. One author tags five others, who then each tag five others until … well, presumably until every writer in the world has told us what they’re writing next. I wonder who was Writer Zero? I was tagged by The lovely Thana Niveau.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Brisneyland by Night, which will most probably change as soon as I think up a pithy one word title that will match the title of the sequel Vigil.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote it initially as a short story set in Brisbane (my hometown) – it was sparked by the idea that some parts of town are a bit weird. I started to wonder if there was something to that – some reason why the weird folk seemed to congregate in certain parts of the city.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s firmly urban fantasy, with some nasty twisted fairy tale elements.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh, some female leads who actually eat food would be good – then again that might be a bit like trying to find a virgin to sacrifice nowadays. Mmmm, someone a bit world-weary and in their 30s for Verity … can we get Maggie Gyllenhaal to play an Australian convincingly? Cate Blanchett could do it – she’d be my first pick, we just need to dye her hair; she’s a chameleon, is Cate. Eric Bana for Bela. Tony Curran for Ziggi. Arthur Darvill for David.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
What starts out as missing person’s case suddenly turns weirder and a whole lot worse for Verity Fassbinder, and she knows there’s a good chance she’s going to get shot – again.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Well, one lives in hope that when I finish it, an agent will be utterly charmed/not completely repelled by its smart-mouthed heroine and her somewhat creative approach to problem-solving. So, ‘no’ to self-publishing.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Errrr, it’s been worked on in bits and pieces over the last few years – initially as three novellas and now I’m almost done knitting everything together as a novel. There are notes scribbled on a cocktail napkin for a sequel.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Trent Jamieson’s Deathworks Trilogy would be the closest, with bits of Peter M. Ball’s Marion Aster series (Horn, Bleed), and Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Siren Beat.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I guess go back to the answer to question 2 – it was simply walking around West End and thinking ‘what if there was a seamy underbelly that wasn’t just criminal but magical and dangerous?’

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Mmmmm, magic, garbage golems, battles between angels and sirens above the city, fairy tale witches who make wine from children’s tears, and a main character with a very smart mouth and a lot of attitude.


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