Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Next Big Thing

I took this idea from another would-be writer who was responding to ten questions from an online reviewer about her current work-in-progress. It's April 2nd, the weather in the UK is shit and I feel that the political changes that the country is undergoing are dangerous and far-reaching, and will have devastating consequences for some. All the more reason then to find positive things to talk about, and it's with great pleasure that I give my responses to the ten 'Next Big Thing' questions :)

1. What is the working title of your book?

The working title is 'What Comes From The Earth', a reference to both the miners in the novel and how humanity is born from the soil and returns there when we die. Death is central to the novel, and it comes swiftly and violently. While I like the imagery, I feel that it's a bit of an ugly title, but I haven't come up with anything better yet!

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wanted to write a story about trade unionism and what it's like to be a rep, but as I'm an international officer, I also wanted to set it somewhere abroad where the story would be an interesting one. I was very touched by the stories from South Africa of the miners who were gunned down by police in August 2012, and it was a story that seemed to sum up a tension at the heart of a country, as well as a class struggle which any British person will immediately recognise. It was an easy decision to set the story there.

'What Comes from the Earth' is set in rural South Africa

3. What genre does your book fall under?

It's a rough attempt at literary fiction - but I suppose if it had a genre, it would be a thriller, albeit a low, slow-burner with plenty of implied threat to the main character.

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

In the spirit of the endeavour, I'd want the film to be filmed on location with unknowns - maybe real life locals - playing those roles. If Hollywood insisted (oh glorious day), I would probably choose Don Cheadle to play Sithi. I loved him in Hotel Rwanda.

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

A man defies forces of chaos on all sides and learns about leadership and loyalty.

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

I'm incredibly excited and keen to get it out there for people to read, so I'll be self-publishing as soon as two of my readers give me thumbs up that they'd spend £2 on it. In truth, I fully acknowledge that this won't necessarily be a book with a mainstream audience, so just being well-written may not be enough to attract a mainstream publisher. You never know, though...

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

The project was begun during Nanowrimo'12 and the first draft will be finished during Camp Nano'13, so about six months.

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

Shamefully, I haven't read the book, but there are a lot of similarities to the movie version of 'The Last King of Scotland'. The setting will be broadly similar and there is the same sense of a strong protagonist and a strong antagonist playing off one another while a wider crisis looms in the background.

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

All of my Nano and my reading group friends have played a part in inspiring me. I just hope it's as good a read as they deserve.

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

I'm a first time author with a genuine story to tell - and I'd love this to be the start of a long and successful writing career.