Thursday, December 6, 2012


It’s flu season, but that’s not the only thing that’s going around. There’s this thing called The Next Big Thing that’s also making the rounds. Basically, it’s 10 questions that give a writer a chance to talk about a work in progress or a pending book. An author answers the questions and then posts them at his or her blog along with links to the blogs of 5 other writers. The following week those 5 writers post their answers to the same questions along with links to 5 more authors and so on.

Well, I’m something of an iconoclast at times, so I’m not going to abide strictly by the rules of The Next Big Thing. I don’t imagine any Next Big Thing police will come banging on my door if I swerve a bit from convention. I mean, is anyone really keeping track? I’m not actually going to link to 5 others, because I have not bothered to approach any other authors with this thing, though 2 lovely folks have included me in their particular Next Big Things chains. I’m going to link to them here and also to the blog that includes the answers my brother Jeffrey Thomas came up with for the questions. Yes, it’s a bit of nepotism, but I don’t imagine the nepotism police will show up banging at my door, and if they do they might find that The Next Big Thing police have already whisked me off to writer jail.

I mentioned that two others were nice enough to welcome me into their Next Big Thing adventures. One of these is my wonderful friend Morven Westfield who used to make use of my artwork, poetry and articles back in the 80s when she published a splendid journal called Harvest. She is the author of two vampire books, Darksome Thirst, and The Old Power Returns. She also hosts a podcast called Vampires, Witches & Geeks. Morven is presently working on her third novel. Her blog, and answers to the viral questions, are here: 

The other delightful person who turned me on to The Next Big Thing is the fascinating David Rix, who is editing the anthology Rustblind and Silverbright. This gentleman has been known to spend a night among the ancient stones of a Dartmoor stone circle, has composed and played music, writes, takes amazing photographs, and is editing a book that promises to be a gift to lovers of intriguing and otherworldly fiction everywhere. Trains are the thematic link in the anthology Rustblind and Silverbright being conjured up in the mysterious chambers at Eibonvale Press.  David can tell you much more about it at his blog post, where he takes on The Next Big Thing questions.

I’d much rather be talking about my novel Fellengrey, that just came out from Raw Dog Screaming Press, but the conventions of The Next Big Thing seem to call for one to write about a work in progress rather than a work just published. My answers, therefore, will have to be vague, because the project I’m working on has not been formally announced, and the publisher has not even unveiled his publishing house yet, though he is a successful publisher. And, I’m not sure if The Next Best Thing is supposed to be for single author books exclusively or if one can speak of an anthology as I am going to do. Again, I’m being a rebel. So, here are my answers to the standard 10 questions that are making the rounds...

1 What is the working title of your next book?
Pardon my being secretive, but I don’t know that I’m allowed to divulge that at this time. I am writing two pieces for an anthology; my main contribution to the book, a longish short story, is presently called The Haunting at Atwood.

2 Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was having a phone conversation with a publisher friend and told him of an interesting feature about an old New England inn where I’ve stayed in the past. In our discussion we came up with the idea of using this particular feature as an interesting vehicle to use in a ghostly anthology.

3 What genre does your book fall under?
The book will be supernatural fiction. The Haunting at Atwood is a ghost story.

4 What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I hadn’t really thought about it, and I’m trying to rush this bit along, so I’ll just dash off to the next question. Sorry!

5 What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A fellow inherits something that calls for him to visit a spooky old house in Exmoor, England, where he and a pal and the daughter of a recently deceased friend are terrorized by a particularly menacing entity.

6 Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. It will be published by a friend who is a seasoned publisher.

7 How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m still working on it. I don’t have a full drafted version or even a full synopsis. It’s developing. I began it last March (2012), but I haven't had much time to work on it, sadly.

8 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’d compare it to classic British ghost stories, because of kindred tones and elements.

9 Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My discussion with my friend got the ball rolling, and he urged me to be a part of the anthology once I’d come up with the general idea. Further inspiration came a bit after. I had already agreed to work on the project when I saw one of my favorite films, The Innocents, based on The Turn of the Screw, and that really filled my sails with a ghostly wind, a big gust of inspiration. It made me want to write a good old scary tale set in Britain, something I haven’t done in years.

10 What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
The format will be interesting and quite original, the way the stories are presented and framed and launched from within another story. It’s a nice idea for an anthology, and it might include some additional material from the authors involved (besides simply short fiction), but I shouldn’t divulge too much.

So, there you go. Sorry for being so vague.

This is where I should, according to the laws of The Next Big Thing, be listing links to 5 other authors who will be taking on the 10 questions I tackled above. Sorry, but I’m breaking the rules here. I’m linking (again) to the friends I spoke of above and to my brother Jeffrey who in his own clever way takes on the10 questions of The Next Best Thing.

Morven Westfield knocks the questions out of the park here:

David Rix kicks some question butt here:

Jeffrey Thomas defies (maybe that’s where I get it!) the Next Big Thing here:

1 comment:

  1. I hope that this will be taken as being lighthearted rather than arrogant!