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Welcome, friends old and new, to my blog. This is the place where I can share my scribblings and thoughts on loving life. I hope you enjoy them, make suggestions and come back to read more.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Next Big Thing: Strange Ideas

I've got a very special WIP Wednesday for you this week, and I'm squeeely excited to be part of this- The Next Big Thing blog tag. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this idea, it's a way for authors to share and promote their books by "tagging" each other and answering 10 questions about our next book or work in progress.  At the end of January, I was tagged by Gloria Piper, author of Finnegan's Quest: a metaphorical fantasy that pokes fun at life’s foibles—political, religious, and social. You can look her up at http://gloriapiper.wordpress.com/

And now... drum-roll...

Here are my answers to the 10 important questions.

1. What is the working title of your next book?
Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions. It's a collection of short (and not so short) stories that share those themes. It will be ready for release on Monday 27th May 2013.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Random observations and conversations, and my own experiences.

"Stamp" began after I covered a colleague in ink (I am SO not a grown-up) which reminded me of a question on a quiz show I'd seen, which was then followed by a recollection of a urban-legend that did the rounds when I was a teenager. The plot twist was finalised in the entrance hall of our school while we were locking up.

"A Flip of the Coin" was scribbled on a napkin in a KFC in Boston after a conversation about karma. I had a mint Aero Krushum, which was nothing to do with karma, but tasted good.

"Superstition" is inspired by a friend's habit of checking her front door is locked at least three times before she gets in the car, and my own equally-bizarre habits (often the source of amusement to my friends, but essential in my eyes). Anyone with experience of "magical thinking" OCD might find it quite... satisfying.

In all likelihood, the idea for "Rock God" probably grew from an episode of Supernatural, reinforced by Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods" and "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. Maybe a little "Velvet Goldmine" too...

"Late: a ghostly tale" is an extended rewrite of my original short story, which was based on my own paranoid fears about working late in a village school. Readers asked me what happened next, so I decided to tell them.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Supernatural Horror.

4. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Four brand-new tales to creep you out and mess with your head, plus an exclusive rework of Late: a ghostly tale- now with a revised ending and intriguing explanation!

5. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published as an eBook and paperback and available from Amazon on Monday 27th May 2013.

6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Two of the five stories arrived fully-formed and almost perfect. They were easy and were written in the space of days. The remaining three grew over a period of months, as I edited and re-wrote, changed my mind and changed it back again, before deciding on the final endings. I don't know which method I consider to be better- I think I'll let my readers judge! One of the original stories- "The Hungry-Man"- just kept growing until it became too long for a short story. I chose instead to develop that idea into a novel, which I keep tapping away at inbetween editing.

7. If your book was made into a film, which actors would you cast as your characters?
As it's a collection of short stories, there are many characters, so that would take me a while to decide! For some, I had a very clear picture in my head, so Ben would be played by a twenty-something Tom Ellis, Jimmy is Victor Sjostrom and Laura looks like someone I know in real-life (but she's actually nothing like the character- her face just fitted).Mia is based on someone I worked with- she knows this, and doesn't mind. Others are more vague; I know their feelings better than I know their physical features.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I really don't know if I could compare myself or my writing to a specific author: I wouldn't want to be presumptuous! I think my stories are quite classic in their intentions: not so much in the language or setting, but in the delivery. There's no blood or guts, just shivers and shadows. So, in that respect, maybe M. R. James or Shirley Jackson? I think the warped situations may have a little in common with Roald Dahl.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Victoria Pearson gave me courage and Nan Fry gave me the book to begin writing things down. I am eternally grateful to them both, as I am to my friends and colleagues who have had to tolerate me whittling on and scribbling notes at odd times (often mid-conversation). This book feels almost like a collaboration in that sense, as I have discussed the stories with so many people! I enjoy how they grow in my head, bouncing around until they're ready to be written. I also love it when people chip in their own ideas too- it often takes the story off in a new direction. I "magpie" shiny ideas and polish them up, so my betas might recognise an idea we've discussed in the book. Cake for them ; )

10. What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?
Those who have read "Late: a ghostly tale" will finally discover the secret, and what happens on the drive home. I hope that new readers will love the twisted take on familiar situations; as in nightmares, the scariest things are when normal stuff goes weird.

So, there you have it: my ten answers on Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions. I hope you enjoyed them, and that they have whet your appetite for the book. The following authors have generously agreed to be tagged next.  Visit their websites and, when they are ready, they will tell you about their Next Big Thing:

Shaun Horton

Meredith Pritchard (post is up now)

Eve Rabi (post is up now)

Jennifer Priester

Victoria Pearson (post is up now)


  1. Ooh I got a mention :D.
    I am so glad you started writing Louise and even though I don't like ghosties I will read your stories the same way I tentatively watch Supernatural. Thank you for introducing me to Sam and Dean.

    1. Of course you got a mention! You're very important! I know you hate ghosties, and that's why you reading my stories means so much to me xxx

      p.s. Sam and Dean RULE!

  2. Can't wait to read it! :~)

    1. Yay! Can't wait for you to see it! I've been procrastinating from finishing the final story (Rock God) by designing the cover- considering I know bobbins about designing, I'm rather chuffed with it!


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