The Next Big Thing preview: MAYHEM

So, last week, fabulous horror novelist Adam Nevill tagged me as part of the next big thing round robin blog – you can see his here –

And so here are my answers on my Next Big Thing!

What is the working title of your next book?

The title of the next big novel is Mayhem. The second part which will be out the following year is Murder.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

While coming up with new pitch ideas after finishing the Dog-Faced Gods trilogy, I read Dan Simmons’ ‘The Terror.’ I really loved the way he’d used real events from history and real life characters but had woven his own version of their fates into it. That was my main inspirations I think. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction, so at some point I was going to try it. The two things combined and the pitch for Mayhem/Murder was the result.

What genre does your book fall under?

As with a lot of my more recent work, this is a difficult question to answer. I would call it Historical Crime, but there is a very creepy element to it so I guess supernatural thriller would also work. I really enjoy crossing genre boundaries and pulling bits from different ones that suit the story. It’s a pain in the ass for marketing people though.;-)

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

It’s not something I give any thought to. I never actually ‘see’ the faces of my characters when I’m writing them, plus I think readers should be able to form their own image of them without anyone suggesting particular people. Although obviously I’d prefer really HOT actors. There would have to be set visits. Where I could lick them.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

I got away with selling it without one, so I don’t have one! Um…

As Jack the Ripper terrorises London, another serial murderer is at work, dumping dismembered bodies in the Thames. Dr Bond, working both cases, becomes drawn into a private hunt for the killer…but is he a man or a monster, or both?

Summat like that anyway…

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

Mayhem comes out in hardback in May 2013 from Jo Fletcher Books (Quercus). You can read more about the imprint and Mayhem here:

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

I’m quite a planner so my first draft is normally just tidied up and then sent in. This took me longer than most books because of the historical/factual nature of the subject matter. I’d say six months.

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

I’m not really sure! But if you like creepy fiction and history – especially the Jack the Ripper period, then you’ll like this!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’m a very driven person and I always try and challenge myself with new projects. I wanted to take my writing to a new level with this book, both in its structure and content, and I think I’ve achieved that. I’m mainly inspired by other writers’ work. John Connolly is, and always will be, a huge inspiration to my work even though this book isn’t like his work, he blends supernatural into crime with such flair and skill, and I’ll never match his ability but I will always aspire to. In terms of narrative structure, Dan Simmons’ The Terror was definitely an influence – moving between points in time not always chronologically – first person sections and third person sections. That kind of thing. I think that this is a far more crafted novel than any I’ve written before.

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

The wonderful thing about writing about true unsolved crimes is layering your own solution into history. Most of the characters in the novel were real people and I’ve tried to stay as true to their movements as possible, while fitting them to my story. Although it’s not a Jack the Ripper novel, its in the same timeframe and there are cross-overs with the two sets of murders. I think I’ve got a really unusual take on the crime/horror novel in this book. Creepy, not gory.

Okay, so that’s me waffling about my next book – I’ve had to tag five others. Being me, I’ve only tagged four. I will no doubt burn in hell for this! But next week you can read about the books coming from the following authors:
Bill Hussey is an awesome YA author whose grisly Witchfinder series is well worth reading! Kids everywhere love it – adults too. Strange that someone so chirpy can write the death of children so well. That’s probably why I like him.
Suzanne McLeod is an urban fantasy writer (if we must use genres!) whose Spellcracker series from Gollancz have done tremendously well. A saucy minx. We drink together.
Jonathan Green is a prolific fiction and non-fiction writer who has covered a range of styles and genres in his time. He’s a steampunk king and a disco diva. I heart him.
Alexandra Sokoloff is a kick ass writer who grabbed my attention with her first novel The Harrowing, and we have been firm friends ever since. She’s blonde and mental in all the best ways. What’s not to like?;-)
So, that’s it from me. Wow. A blog actually about work. That’s a first.

About sarah

Writer of supernatural and crime fiction for Gollancz in the UK. I've written six horror novels and my first thriller, A Matter of Blood, wa View all posts by sarah

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