Transylvanian psychological-thriller science fiction writer Veronica Sicoe nominated me to continue The Next Big Thing, where authors talk about their WIP (work-in-progress). I’ve shortened the title to Next, as Big seemed overly ambitious and Thing is already a brilliant science fiction story in its own right.
What is the working title of your book?
Having just launched Monsters a couple of days ago, I’m between projects at the moment, pondering several interesting lines of inquiry for my next book, so I’ll talk about Monsters.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
2012 is the National Year of Reading here in Australia. The slogan love2read captures the essence of the campaign with adroit brevity. Reading is something we take for granted. Public literacy is a relatively modern phenomena and is somewhat understated in society. I’m convinced reading leads to a quiet revolution, but it’s contingent on love, not soppy romance, but a hungry desire for mental callisthenics. As frivolous as Twilight or Harry Potter may be, there’s a very real benefit socially and individually for those that love to read, as their minds are exercised, their imagination inspired, and their sense of pathos is recharged.
Ours is the age of distraction, the age of dilution. Short attention spans are the bane of reading, but for those that love to read, there’s no more exciting time to be alive. In Monsters, I wanted to capture the unique age in which we live by contrasting it to a broken society in which reading was akin to witchcraft.
What genre does your book fall under?
Primarily, it is an action/adventure novel, with a sprinkle of science thrown in for good measure.
Which actors would you chose to play characters in a movie rendition?
I’m rather frugal with character descriptions, describing what a character looks like only if it directly contributes to the mood of a section. I don’t think there’s any description of what either Bruce or his son James actually look like other than that they have beards. The rest is left entirely to the discretion of the reader. In light of that, I’d have to say no-name actors rather than Hollywood stars. I just can’t see Brad Pit or Angelina Jolie fitting the brief.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Like most writers, I suffer from prolixity. One sentence? Are you kidding me? What is this? Twitter? OK, here we go…
After the collapse of civilization, reading is lost, readers are persecuted, but one family seeks to restore knowledge, only monsters stand in their way.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Once, self-publishing was the kiss of death for a professional author, but times have changed as writers like Hugh Howey and Matthew Mather have shown. I’d love to be represented by an agency, but I suspect it’s not as glamourous as it seems and, besides, I’ve done well out of self-publishing, having met people from all over the world through my books, from university biology professors to scientists running coffee shops (damn, that’s got to be a great cup of joe). Writing is holistic, very much about the journey rather than the destination, so I’m OK with being an indie (independent writer/publisher).
How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About four months, then another two months revising and editing.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Wool, Hunger Games and Fahrenheit 451, although I don’t know that I’m doing those novels justice in making such a comparison.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My wife and kids. My wife and I read Hunger Games aloud with our girls before seeing it as a movie, tapping into the girls’ excitement for the story. Funny thing was, I’m not a big fan of the first person narrative used in Hunger Games, so I was the one that had to be dragged along.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, there’s monsters, lots and lots of monsters, and they never attack the same way twice. With each attack you learn more about this fictional future world and how people deal with the stress of no longer being at the apex of the food chain.
Who will you nominate for the next big thing?
I’m going to mix things up and pick writers that are at different stages in their careers as well as in different genres, but they’re all writers I’d like to hear from.