Over on Donna Hanson’s blog she talked about her Next Big Thing and tagged me so this is my turn.
Q: What is the working title of your next book?
Well, I had what I thought was a really neat title, but my critiquing group ROR kindly suggested I go back to the drawing board. At present I’m calling it ‘A Cup to the Dead Already’, from an Royal Flying Corps drinking song.
Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I said to my brother one day as we had coffee—hey, wouldn’t it be fun to read a story that was a cross between Life on Mars and Biggles?
Hah, he scoffed. Bet you couldn’t write that.
After that, the first scene wouldn’t get out of my head. I wrote it down to get rid of it—then couldn’t stop.
Q: What genre does the book fall under?
Alternate history, timeslip dieselpunk, paranormal adventure.
Q: What actors would you choose to play the parts of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh gosh, that’s a hard one, as I don’t get to the movies very much. One actor will have to be wiry and quick and very British, and one will have to be tall, dark and handsome and very American. I could give a couple of outdated names, but really don’t want to flaunt how old I am.
Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Jet fighter pilot Jim Miller is lost in the past, and has to survive flying biplanes in World War One while fighting a supernatural plot to prolong the war and change history.
Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will submit it to my agent, Tara Wynne, at Curtis Brown Australia.
Q: How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took less than a year to write, and it was over 200,000 words. This is a personal record for me! The second draft slimmed down to a mere 170,000 words, and took another nine months or so. I’m working on the third and definitive draft of the first book of three now—it will be around 100,000 words, my usual length, and it has taken over a year. However, this is due to me having a big break from writing in the middle of the year—earning a living sucks.
Q: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My goal is to make it as rollicking and historically interesting and as weird as The Anubis Gates.
Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
An old and abiding love for World War One poetry; a fascination with early flying machines; a desire for a ‘simpler’ hero. I think this book has been waiting for me to write it for a long time.
Q: What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?
It has lots of very cool aeroplanes.