This week, the Next Big Thing blog chain has landed here. If you’re following it round the writing world, welcome. And everyone else, hello too. I have been tagged by Jack Barrow, so feel free to go backwards up the chain and look at his post if you haven’t already.
So, the idea of this is that it gets viral. No, don’t worry, not that kind of viral. Everyone hopes that you guys will get to discover lots of new writing, in all sorts of different genres, by people you’ve never heard of and really enjoy it. Very laudable, eh? At the bottom of these ramblings you will find links to the blogs or websites for five other writers who will be answering these same questions on their blogs, next week. They are a varied bunch – that was the point, so I did try to mix it up – so why not pop over and have a look at them?
Right then, without more ado, here are my answers…
What is the working title of your book?
The one I’m writing at the moment is called One Man – No Plan, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 3 it’s the third in a trilogy, the first two of which are:
Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 1
The Wrong Stuff, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 2.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
OK, look, you know the first scene on the oil rig in Cars 2? Well, that’s pretty much what’s going on inside my head all the time. Every now and again, I drag myself away from it to give Real Life some attention but most of the time, that’s where my brain is. So it seemed logical to write all these adventures down.
The idea behind the K’Barthan Trilogy; of another version of earth in a parallel reality, has been there since I was 8 years old. I’ve mixed it up with a bit of religion, a bit of ju-ju and a bit of quantum physics, or at least some of the theories behind it. I love science, it’s brilliant, there is so much interesting stuff about nature and the universe that we have yet to explain and I can’t wait for the answers.
However, for the moment, I’ll content myself with making them up.
What I tend to do is get some of the questions, some of the suggested answers, add a HUGE dash of salt, shake ’em up and, ding dong, you have things like K’Barthan Reality Theory and Random Physics. That said, having happily made Reality Theory up, in order to avoid mistakes with my Chaos Theory, I discovered, a couple of days ago, that its a real science. Which is somewhat disturbing. Then again, it probably only exists in very exclusive, expensive labs in America, or China, staffed by people called Leonard… and Sheldon – and OK let’s face it, the law of probability states that there will be at least one Colin – or their Chinese equivalents.
Obviously many of the ideas in the third book are there because they’ve developed from the other two but I am also looking at telepathy, the idea that you can ionise water molecules so you can use a fish tank like a huge computer memory bank, talking with body pigments, the way squid do, and space junk reclaimation. I’d love to write a book about the bus and coach industry, too, although I’d set in space so that no-one realised it was all true.
What genre does your book fall under?
Humour and the twilight world between sci-fi and fantasy.
There are made up races and creatures but it’s not about space and there are no dragons, orcs, dwarves, vampires or any of that malarky. Actually I’d never dare write about actual established mythical creatures, like those because I can guarantee that if I did, a lot of people, who thought they knew more about these things than me, would bombard me with disgruntled e-mails telling me how WRONG I’d got everything.
That’s why I invent all my own creatures. My species; my rules; no arguments
Basically it is full of jokes, futuristic technology and sarcasm. There’s some romance in it too. .
Hang on! Wit a minute, I know! I’ll call it ‘speculative fiction’ that’s a suitably loose fit, I reckon.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm… that’s tricky, especially the girls because they look like people I know rather than people who are known. And in half the cases, to get the right look you’d have to pluck the actor or actress in question from further back in time. So, I have some very bad drawings of the characters from K’Barthan 1 on Facebook. If I was casting the film, I’d say, get people who look like this.
The gallery is here…. I hope. Gallery
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When The Pan of Hamgee falls in love he thinks he’ll do anything to get the girl’s attention, but isn’t saving the world going a bit far?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Pretty much all my life, well, OK, I guess it took 13 years give or take a bit to really crack my first book, Few Are Chosen. I appreciate that some readers my well have felt as if it took me another 13 years to write the second book, The Wrong Stuff, but I promise it was only about 18 months. K’Barthan 3 looks as if it will take a similar amount of time. I was hoping I could do it in a year. Sorry.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well, I’m not aiming to sound like a particular author but I guess it might appeal to Adams, Pratchett and Red Dwarf fans because people reviewing it have compared it to them. They’ve also compared it to Rankin, Fford and Holt but Adams and Red Dwarf crop up the most often – they’re neck and neck, those two, just edging Pratchett out of the frame into third – the others trail a little behind.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Everything! I’ve always wanted to write a book. I wrote my first book when I was five. It was called ‘Charles the Dragon Slayer’. Charles was a man of few words because writing them down was so hard, ah if I could have touch typed back then. K’Barth was born soon after, I reckon I was about eight years old when I drew my first map. It wasn’t called K’Barth then, of course, but that’s what it was. Eventually, aged about 10 I discovered StarWars and James Bond at about the same time and my own particular brand of ‘hi-tech fantasy’ was born.
The stuff that goes in is… well…
1960s Telly: all those programmes like The Avengers that they used to show on BBC2 at 6 o’clock when I was a kid. I watched hundreds of episodes of bad 1960s sci-fi and fantasy. Including StarTrek, of course. EDITED to add and Dr Who! How could I, a pathological whovian, forget to mention that?
Music: I love music, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Stranglers, Blur, The Divine Comedy, Air, Schubert, Mozart, Bach and any number of other bands and composers.
Books: I loved books and as a kid I read the Narnia stories, lots of historical stuff like Rebecca, Children of the New Forest, Moonfleet. I probably read more E Nesbitt than is wise or prudent, Hilaire Belloc cautionary tales – they are brilliant – Goschinny and Uderzo, Viz.
TV Comedy: The Young Ones, Mock The Week, Have I Got News for You, Saturday Night at the Apollo, Bottom, Vic and Bob, Blackadder, The Fast Show and Little Britain – it all goes in.
Amimation: pretty much anything Dreamworks or Pixar ever did.
Then we get to the biggies, StarWars, Bond movies, Pratchett, Adams, Wodehouse and cars.
Oh lord I am an incurable petrol head. The best bit of the K’Barthan Trilogy has been working out what vehicles to base the snurds on. Even now, I’m a little distressed that there was no room at the inn for the Ferrari GTO, the E-Type Jaguar, The Triumph Spitfire or the GT6. And I was going to give Sir Robin (aged 70) one that looked like an Austen Allegro but I couldn’t find a way to jemmy it in. I have never driven a sensible car for long, indeed, in 15 years I think I’ve only owned a car for 6 months that had more than two seats. My current car is very new and very shiny but sadly, despite an extensive search I’ve not found a way of making it take off… well… actually I have, in its predecessor, but I don’t think I’d like to do it again.
This bit seems to be the best place to give a nod (more than a nod) to Sir Terry Pratchett. Writing books took me a long time to learn. The gap between what I wanted to achieve and what I could was very, very large. So one day I e-mailed Sir Terry. He was kind enough to write back to me. I was on my second go at writing a book by that time. So, I asked him for advice on closing that gap, between what I want to achieve and what I can. He sent me a lovely e-mail back, which, I have since lost, to my eternal chagrin. But the gist of what he said was; don’t worry this is quite normal, be patient, keep writing. Write something every day and eventually, you’ll teach yourself. So I followed his advice and here I am.
Thank you, Sir Terry.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Snurds. Seriously, they’re the best bit. Cars which fly, with missiles behind the headlights and machine guns… and laser cannon and pulse weapons… and they look like this…
And I want one. Really badly. So next time you’re stuck behind a caravan just imagine pressing a button on the dash… it slides back, there is a host of other buttons and levers, you select All Purpose Torpedoes, aim, fire and blow it out of your path… Mwa ha ha hahrgh… And my readers tell me my books are funny.
And on that note… I think I’ll stop.
OK, here are the five authors who have kindly agreed to take up the baton next week.