The Next Big Thing!


Ah, the screw turns and we've reached the end of our journey. Alas, I am the dregs of writers in my small circle of associates to tag for this blog meme. I thank hardboiled writer Christopher L. Irvin for including me—infamy is mine! Without further ado, I present you the question and answer portion of our post.

What is the working title of your book?

All The Dead Men. I wouldn't consider it a "working title" as I've been chained to it for some time. In fact, the book has had two other titles that didn't stick. Let's just call it The Title and go from there. It'll be our little secret.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

One might think I hate vampires, but I just really like werewolves. This book came to life as a one-page, hyperbolic, black and white comic I painted in the late 1990s. All the main elements behind the protagonist are there. If you're ever at my home (and it's not the dead of night and I'm not murdering you), ask me to dig it out. It'll be fun, 'cause I'll be famous soon.

What genre does your book fall under?

Ugh. The unfortunately named "urban fantasy." I prefer to think of it as "horror thriller." No gentle lovemaking or unrequited longing here.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

That's a tough question because of all the varying ethnicities of my characters. There aren't a lot of top-of-mind actors who are non-white. I've always imagined Alexander to be a taller version of Miles Davis with a stronger hairline. Idris Elba would be great as Detective Roberts and Garret Dillahunt for Pepperman. Someone like Tyler Mane for big blonde Mark and a younger, taller Danny Trejo for Barros. Maybe Gong Li or Yifei Liu might have the right look for Ana. Definitely Lucy Liu for the Queen of Dragons. I don't know. I bet this kind of speculation on my part will foul the story up for someone along the way. Whoops.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A two-hundred year-old werewolf whose memories are being stolen struggles to reconnect with his long past humanity and unravel a vampire conspiracy.

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

I don't want to self-publish--not to take anything away from that. I don't have the time or the gumption to self-publish, that takes serious hustle. I'd rather partner with a publisher for distribution and marketing, build a solid relationship, and continue to produce additional stuffs. I have some encouraging options right now, so things are looking pretty good.

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

About a year. Then another. And another, and so on. It hurt a little every re-write over the last decade.

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

Definitely the rougher side of *gag* urban fantasy. Nancy A. Collins' Sonya Blue stories, Kim Harrison's Hollows books, or maybe Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson. Wow, that's a lot of ladies. Let's toss in Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden), Richard Kadry (Sandman Slim), and Mike Carey (Felix Castor).

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My notion that werewolves have been getting shafted in popular media was what inspired me. I was tired of the angst-ridden character who becomes an uncontrollable beast during the full moon and kills everyone only to be killed by a silver bullet fired by a loved one. Thank the Great Hamster I don't have to breathe online, that was a long sentence! As for who, one of my favorite writers is David Gerrold. His work in science fiction inspired me to keep writing. He also wrote a book, Worlds of Wonder [How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy] that encapsulates his analysis on teaching writing. (Which he does from time to time.) I read Gerrold's book. Twice. I need to read it again. I still haven't internalized enough of the insights I gathered from the damn thing. In fact, Gerrold scares the crap out of me. He's terribly creative and has ridiculous technical skill for writing. (The E-Prime chapter alone causes me physical pain.) One thing I did take inspiration from was a little fill-in-the-blank exercise. To answer the question "What is a story?", write these words "A story is" and finish it. Here's what I wrote and what I strive to do:
A story is a journey. From beginning to end, a story is a journey where everything changes and will never be the same.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, one of the themes I dig into throughout the book is North America's spotty track record on race. Alexander, the main character, was born in the mid-1800s to an African-American man and a native woman, so he's seen his share of racism as well as committed a few atrocious acts of his own. That history haunts him regularly. Also: there are significant, non-white, female characters who have not been raped and can hold their own. Which brings us to the copious acts of violence and other depraved behaviors. Yeah, that.

This Next Big Thing ends for me, right here as the Last Big Mess. I was unable to find writers with blogs who hadn't already been tapped for the meme. Alas. I will, however, point out who in my nutty circles I can recall, beyond Chris Irvin, that have participated or will be: Bracken MacLeod, Mina Kahn, T.G. ArsenaultMandy DeGeit, and Jan Kozlowski.