Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Next Big Thing Rolls On

ast Wednesday, Bram Stoker award-winner and all-around nice guy Weston Ochse tagged me in The Next Big Thing, after horror and dark fantasy writer Tim Tebbon tagged him. This is a running shared-blog thread in which writers discuss their latest projects, and invite more writers to do the same.This is a running shared-blog thread in which writers discuss their latest projects, and invite more writers to do the same. Be sure to see these blogs by fellow writers Ed KurtzJoe McKinney, Shane McKenzie, and Ed Erdelac.

Here are the questions and my answers. Next Wednesday, I’ll hand it off to several more writers, including Scott Bradley, Pete Giglio and Gary Jonas.

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


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

It was the collision of several ideas. I had read about theoretical new cures for sufferers of Alzheimer's and dementia based upon near-future nanotechnology and bio-engineering. I imagined what might happen if this “cure” had unintended side effects or mutated into a self-directed plague that rapidly swept the world. And I imagined it might or might not be reversible. So the uninfected survivors might find themselves sharing the planet with an intelligent but no-longer-human race they had unwittingly created.  I realized it was a zombie novel without the supernatural element, but with all the suspense and horror nonetheless.

While I was still thinking about the book-length story, I incorporated the idea into a long story, “Lifeboat,” that was published by Jason Sizemore and Apex Books in The Zombie Feed Volume One.

The novel is also a love-letter to the late Michael Crichton (left), who invented the plausible techno-thriller with The Andromeda Strain. Many of Crichton’s books dealt with stories of scientists with good intentions who create situations that lead to dangerous, unexpected results.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a mash-up of science fiction, horror and thrillers, but I think it will appeal primarily to horror readers.

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

I originally envisioned a scruffy James MacAvoy as the main protagonist, Dr. Jeremy Hall, a young research epidemiologist from the University of California, Irvine’s School of Biological Sciences. But then I met writer Joe Hill at the World Horror Convention in Austin a year or so ago, and now I think he’s perfect to play the intelligent, somewhat reclusive scientist. I’m not saying that Joe is scruffy. He just has the perfect look in my mind’s eye. That's a pic of him (right) from his Tumblr on the set of HORNS, based on his second novel. His new novel, NOS4A2, is due next May.

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

After the greatest medical breakthrough of the 21st century transforms entire populations into a terrifying zombie-like species, a secret team of scientists races to devise a cure.

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

I successfully pitched the idea and outline to a respected indie publisher. I’ve published a good number of short stories professionally, but don’t as yet have an agent.

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

The first draft is almost done, and it has taken sixteen months, much longer than I’d hoped! Of course, during that time I also wrote a novella that will appear in a longer novel called Living Death Race 2000 in 2013 with Wes Ochse, John Everson and several other talented writers. And I wrote and sold more short stories.

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

The Andromeda Strain and Prey by Michael Crichton, and Spore by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow

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

Michael Crichton and John Skipp. And watching the original film adaptation of The Andromeda Strain.

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

It delves into some interesting tangents, such as how plagues spread, how small bands of scientifically-trained people deal with isolation and apocalyptic threats, and the current wonders and dangers of widespread medical research into nanotechnology, viral and genetic manipulation and engineering.

So watch for more answers from Scott Bradley, Gary Jonas and Pete Giglio next Wednesday!