I've no idea who started this, but it's been all over the net like a...well, a net. The Next Big Thing is an author thing where we tell you about what we're doing next, and since I've been trying to think of things to tell you about my next book, it's all rather neat that Jane Lovering tagged me for it. Jane is my fellow Choc-Liteer, and has also spent many an evening in my company, usually in the presence of wine, discussing men we fancy (Aidan Turner, yes; Tony Robinson not so much).
What is the working title of your book?
It's called Impossible Things. It had dozens of working titles, none of which were quite right, before I thought of this one. Impossibility is quite a theme in the book, plus it rather reminds me of that Alice in Wonderland line about believing six impossible things before breakfast. Alas, my book does lack talking rabbits.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I never quite know, but I do recall with this one that I'd had a dream where strange tattoo-like markings appeared on my hands and face, and just thought that would be quite a cool thing to put in a book. And then there was the frankly terrifying dream about being a servant in a house that was welcoming the Devil. I'd also read a book with a blind heroine and, well, I like to challenge myself every now and then. This and about a million other ideas just sort of went into the pot and cooked for a long time, and eventually they turned into Impossible Things.
What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy romance, I suppose.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ooh I love this game. Actually in that dream I had about the devil, he looked a lot like Richard Armitage, and that devil eventually became my hero, Kael. He's a big, powerful, sarcastic, kind, impatient, clever, war lord (hmm, have I written one of those before?). And he can be so scary my heroine actually thinks he's the Devil. I reckon my Mr Armitage could do that.
As for my heroine, Ishtaer, I'm not sure. I originally imagined someone fine-boned and classic, like Keira Knightley, but the more I wrote her the more this didn't seem to fit. Then I chanced upon that famous Steve McCurry 'Afghan Girl' photograph and thought, "Oh my God, that's Ishtaer!" She has dark hair, skin like warm honey, and strikingly pale blue eyes. She always looks like she's poised to run. I don't know who could play her, actually!
Ishtaer befriends a student called Eirenn, who I reckon could be played by Robert Sheehan. Ishtaer, being blind, knows nothing of what he looks like, and Kael notices little more than that he's dark-haired. But he's very charming and charismatic, and I think the lovely Mr Sheehan would play him nicely.
For some reason I have a really clear vision of Bradley James, who plays Arthur in Merlin, as Marcus. Marcus isn't particularly nice to Ishtaer throughout most of the book, he's rather vain and spoilt--but then, he's rich, good looking and very skilled at what he does, so I suppose he's entitled.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It's about a warlord, a blind slave, and a dog called Brutus.
(Brutus would be played by a wolf, incidentally)
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It's currently under consideration with Choc Lit, who published my previous two books.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Er, quite a while! It was a story I started a few years ago but didn't know what to do with, and kept restarting because I couldn't get the right note, a bit like starting a song with a mischord. But once I restarted, I wrote the bulk of it in about six months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There isn't an overabundance of fantasy romance around, but I think Sara Douglass's Threshold was quite a big influence.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I'm not sure any one thing or person did. I was inspired by the same things that inspire me to write all my books: rampant curiosity, hours of daydreaming, and, as Capt. Mal Reynolds so memorably said, a powerful need to eat this month.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There's a dog who might be a wolf. Come on, you've got to admit that's cool!
(Editor's note: I've completely run out of people to tag for this. I may well be the last novelist in the universe who hasn't done it yet. Far out, man! If I'm not, and you want to do it, then feel free to tag yourself. Just don't do it in the street and frighten the horses)