THE NEXT BIG THING

by colinptucker

Last week Emma Swift tagged me in her next big thing blog. So here’s how it works: an author answers the ten questions below on his/her blog and then tags five authors/unfortunate victims to do so the week after.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

DOUGLAS BROWN, RUNNING DOWN

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

I’ve got Parkinson’s Disease and I’d always been sure of one thing: I wasn’t going to write about it. I could imagine the Parkinson’s novel, a depressive gloomy off-putting turgid miserabilist disease-of-the-week moan with bucketloads of fake chinuppery to leaven it. Gawdelpus, no, who’d want to read that?

However, however… slowly, slowly… my thinking changed, and I came round to the idea that I could perhaps write a novel involving a character with ol’ Parky’s (as Douglas calls it), but only if it had a strong thread of  black comedy running through it. And if the disease was peripheral to the story.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Genre? Is there a genre ‘unclassifiable’?

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

Owen Wilson as Douglas? Eddie Izzard? Whoever it is would need a light touch, but also an ability to deal with the darker moments. Today’s equivalent of Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon would be perfect for Brook. As for Cerberus… no, I’m baffled, I’ve no idea who could play her.

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

A rag-bag shuffle through a chaotic mind involving love, punch-ups, teenage misery, art theory, desperation and and appropriately desperate gags.

To which list could be added London bus routes, the function of piers, more desperation, the curious taste of John Innes Number 3 compost, muff-diving and an imaginary dog .  I could go on…

Alternatively:

A superficially comic novel about a forty-year-old who has early onset Parkinson’s.

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

It’s represented by Britt Pfluger and she’s currently waiting for publishers to appreciate the gem that’s being offered them. Come on guys, you’ll love it, you will, honestly. Trust me, I’m a writer.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Approx. six months, the last couple of months a mad charge banging out a steady 5,000 plus words a week.

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

Flann O’Brien’s At-Swim-Two-Birds is a fabulous mixture of reportage and fantasy which bears some tangential relationship to my story. Not much, but some.

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

Ol’ Parky’s. The bastard.

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

The pace. It doesn’t hang about. Story, story, story, I believe in story, in cutting to the chase. I don’t care for fat books, swollen with local colour. Plus the narrative shifts, perhaps? It’s mostly in Douglas’ voice but five others chip in from time to time, including his sixteen-year-old daughter, who’s a major player in the narrative. And there’s always the comedy and, when the mask slips, what lies beneath it.

As of right now – being an innocent in the ways of blogging – I haven’t fulfilled my quota of taggees, and am waiting for several replies. My signed-up victims so far are:

Adele Ward

Adele is a poet, novelist and publisher with a poetry collection called Never-Never Land and a novel called Everything is Free out in print and on Kindle. As Everything Is Free is a dark, alternative Christmas novel, it will soon be free for three days as a slightly different seasonal gift. When not writing, editing or singing with Rock Choir, she is a shameless drinker of wine at writing events around London because she doesn’t get out very much. That’s her excuse anyway.

Lucy Claire Hounsom

Lucy Hounsom is a writer of fantasy fiction and a recent graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her novel, Naris Deep, is the first in a planned trilogy set in the sundered worlds of Mariar and Acre. You can find out more by visiting her blog, Sylvan Historian.  Her short fiction features in the October edition of Inkspill,  a magazine set up by Bedford Square graduates as a platform for emerging creative and literary talent. She lives in Devon and is currently working on the sequel to Naris Deep.

Andrew W.  Campbell

As well as lecturing in English grammar at community colleges, North Carolina-native Andy Campbell works with gifted youngsters through the Duke Talent Identification Program, teaching Symbols & Structure: Uncovering the Unconscious, Words That Matter, Shaking-Up Shakespeare, and Totally Epic: The Hero’s Journey in Myth and Media. His blog, From a Gryphon’s Quill, touches upon mutant frogs, redacting the Bible, growing up geeky, and conversations with his students.
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