Month: December 2012

The Next Big Thing

This is my part of The Next Big Thing author blog hop. Thanks to Travis McKenzie for the tag.

What is the working title of your next book?
The Test, though that really is very much a working title. Haven’t been able to come up with anything more compelling yet.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The Test depicts a society which believes it can determine a person’s underlying moral inclination. The idea sprang from hearing psychologist Gina Perry’s analysis of Stanley Milgram’s experiments in the 1960s in which participants were encouraged, despite their misgivings, to obey the instructions of an authority figure. Those who “failed” these experiments, those who went ahead and obeyed, were told that the experiment had revealed a core of evil. What if a society took that judgment seriously?
In this story, those who pass a final Test at the age of 25 are seen as being inherently good. Those who fail are thought to be inherently evil and are encouraged to submit to treatment. Nobody truly expects to fail and no-one knows that those who fail and who accept punishment are turned into gargoyles.
Throughout the book, various characters struggle with their own notions of good and evil. However, the fundamental question is not the nature of evil, but the perception of difference – the creation of us and them.
What genre does your book fall under?
Speculative fiction
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Most of the characters in my book are from what is known as the forgotten areas. Perhaps a few forgotten actors could be discovered/ rediscovered?  But have to say I really admired Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Perhaps you’re not so different from the gargoyle/person beside you.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Six months and counting.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Someone who read a little of it very kindly said it reminded them of George Orwell’s 1984. (and of course I’m not Orwell, but there are some echoes of psychological dystopia)
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Hearing the stories of those people who had obeyed the instructions in Milgram’s experiments and how the quick, thoughtless judgement that they had a “core of evil” affected their whole lives.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Other strange creatures such as the K’lenws which looks like a small gargoyle, loves to eat chocolate and has made a home out of builder’s rubble.

You might like to take a look at The Next Big Thing on Danny Fahey’s or Bob Ashby’s blogs too.

Catalina

I’ve been tagged by T.B.McKenzie (a fellow Dragonfall Press author) to post something about my current work-in-progress as part of The Next Big Thing. I’ve spent some time recently reading some other Dragonfall writing and have just finished Danny Fahey’s Catalina. It’s a curious mix: a fairy story in which you think you know all the characters, but which still surprises you. The protagonist, Catalina, is an orphan who needs to discover her true identity and her own abilities. So far, so familiar? There’s also an evil witch aunt, a knife-throwing villain, a transformed rat, defeated wizards and a lonely prince who has been turned into a wolf-boy. You’ve come across these characters before, right? But Fahey mixes it all up into his own insightful blend. Although Catalina is described as a young adult novel, this is an ageless book for lovers of fairy tales. There are echoes of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. But the writing is Fahey’s own: charming, delightful and a pleasure to read.
My answers to The Next Big Thing questions will be up on 19 December. (as will Danny’s and Bob Ashby’s)

Advice to Aspiring Artists

“Saying that we have enough artists is like saying we have enough scientists, we have enough designers, we have enough politicians — we have enough politicians — but, you know, nobody gets to be you except you. Nobody has your point of view except you. Nobody gets to bring to the world the things that you get to bring to the world — uniquely get to bring to the world — except you. So, saying that there are enough writers out there, enough directors out there, enough people with points of view. Well yeah, there are, but none of them are you. And none of those people is going to make the art that you are going to make. None of them is going to change people and change the world in the way that you could change it. So if you believe somebody that says, “no, no, we’ve got enough of those,” then all it means is that you are giving up your chance to change the world in the way that only you can change it.”
from the incomparable Neil Gaiman