Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Editor and author Brian Sammons tagged me to participate in an interesting blog hop called The Next Big Thing. So did C. Dulaney. It’s essentially an interview that gives writers a chance to talk about their current project and also an opportunity to promote fellow writers.

Before I get to my interview, I'd like to say a little about the writers I've chosen to tag.

Scott Baker
I met Scott at Crypticon 2012 in Seattle. I got to know him over some "sweetened Coke," provided by Maker's Mark fanatic Tony Faville. Scott has written the only other novel I know about that combines zombies and vampires, and he also helped sell my books at the convention when I wasn't at my table. He's beta-read one of my novels, and has helped me with technical questions quite a few times. Thank you, Scott. Looking forward to your interview!

Thom Brannan
I actually have never met Thom in person, but he and I have written nearly four books together. Thom has written I don't know how many books solo, but I know of at least six. He's a serious talent, and he writes so fast I sometimes refer to him as Barry Allen. Thank you, Thom, for your hard and excellent work on our series, and for your contributions to the genre.

Now on to the interview...

What is the working title of your next book?
It’s tentatively titled DOG YEARS. It’s a collection of novellas set in the PAVLOV’S DOGS universe, co-authored with Thom Brannan.

What genre does your book fall under?
Action horror in general. It also blends in sci-fi, and pits the zombie and werewolf subgenres against each other.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
When Thom and I wrote PAVLOV’S DOGS, we left certain narrative gaps. For example, we never fully describe where the zombies come from because we felt it had no bearing on the story. Zombie origins are now generally well known, so... we didn’t want to beat that particular dead horse if we could just show someone raising the club.

The author of THE WALKING DEAD comics has a similar philosophy: “I have ideas [about the cause of the zombie plague]...but it's nothing set in stone because I never plan on writing it.”

But PAVLOV’S DOGS does hint at the undead origins, and now in DOG YEARS we’re exploring where both the zombies and the werewolves came from. We also explore the backstory of their creator, Dr. Crispin.

So the idea for DOG YEARS came from narrative gaps left in the first book.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ll leave this up to the readers. I try not to think in terms of who I would cast because, well… have you ever seen a movie before reading the book? Then you actually read the book and you can’t picture the characters as anything other than the actors who portrayed them? Robert Langdon is forever Tom Hanks. Stu Redman is forever Gary Sinise.

I like my image of the characters to remain pristine as I write them. I don’t want Daniel Radcliffe running around nude in my imagination.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
From breakouts in the monster lab to his role in the zombie apocalypse, follow Dr. Crispin and his team of werewolves through three eras of mad scientists, abominations, and a frightening new adversary.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Permuted Press will publish the collection.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
We are still working on the last two novellas, but the first novella took us probably a month. Thom, for one, works incredibly fast. That’s a rare talent among writers.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
That’s a hard one. A reviewer compared PAVLOV’S DOGS to Peter Clines’ bestselling zombies vs. superhero novel, EX-HEROES.  But DOG YEARS, specifically?  It still revolves around a central versus concept, but it’s probably more comparable to THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Two things: our publisher’s idea to offer free content, and the fans of PAVLOV’S DOGS.

When the publisher suggested that we offer a free short story or novella in the same universe, we started thinking about stories we could tell. I looked at what the fans were asking for in their reviews, and that turned out to be more backstory.

So Thom and I thought, why give them backstory when we could give them a full-fledged story? Why give them just a novella when we could give them a collection?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well... we plan to offer it for free. And, as many of our fans like to say, it’s zombies versus werewolves. What else could you want?

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