Wednesday, 28 November 2012

This week's word is: NEXT

Okay dragon fans, it’s been a long time coming, but finally I can bring you news of my next project.  And I’m going to do it in the form of the Q&A you’ll see below, which is part of a blog chain (that’s BLOG chain) called THE NEXT BIG THING.
I was invited to take part in this by the lovely Anna Wilson, who writes very funny stories about dogs, mostly.  You can see what she had to blog by clicking on her name.  I have to confess that I have never read one of Anna’s books, which is shameful when you think that her children have read mine AND she once cooked me dinner.  I think I can feel her scowling from afar.
Anyway, here’s the Q&A.  There will be more info coming over the next few weeks once we’ve sorted out the fine details.  Read on.
What is the title of your next book?
It’s probably easier to say at this stage what the title of the series will be.  The project is called THE UNICORNE FILES, which I’m planning as a series of three books.  Each book will be a story in its own right, but the stories will be linked by a common theme.  The working title of the first book is Cellular Memories.  There are two things I can tell you right away: I didn’t misspell UNICORNE, and the books have nothing to do with, erm, unicorns.  Mmm…
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A boy searching for his missing father becomes involved with an organisation that investigates paranormal events.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
Some years ago there was an American TV series called The X-Files, about an FBI agent called Fox Mulder who investigated strange events or phenomena.  When he was a boy, Fox believed he saw his sister abducted by aliens.  This is where his passion to uncover the truth behind supernatural mysteries began.  The Unicorne Files is an homage to that series.  It’s a kind of X-Files for kids.
What genre does your book fall under?
Mystery thriller.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, as no one has read the books yet, the characters are unfamiliar to everyone.  So the question is slightly redundant.  But I think Michael Fassbender might be interested in running the UNICORNE organisation.  Oh, and Emily Blunt could be the French au pair… doesn't matter that she's probably too old, she’s gorgeous!
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’ve been represented by the Johnson & Alcock literary agency for many years now.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m still working on it – in fact I’ve only just started book one.  I moved house last year and that has taken up a great deal of my time.  You won't believe how many shelves a man has to put up in his lifetime.  It’s hard to believe that it was during this week last November that I finished The Fire Ascending.  Boy, I’ve missed writing.  It would normally take me about nine months to write a novel, but the Unicorne books will be shorter and punchier than the dragon books.  I would think the first one will be going through the publishing motions round about May or June next year, ready for release early in 2014.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I honestly don’t know.  I’m not saying Unicorne is so original that it’s unlike anything else, just that I’m not really up to speed with what’s going on in the children’s fiction world right now. 
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I think I probably answered that under question three.  I’ve always had a passion for the strange or bizarre.  Fans who’ve read The Last Dragon Chronicles will know that I was never afraid to venture into the unknown.  You name me another series that combines squirrels, dragons and quantum physics.  Unicorne will look at all the areas I couldn’t explore in TLDC, such as past life regression and cellular memory.  Want to know what that is?  Read the book when it happens.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, first and foremost, people will read it to see how it compares or differs from the Chronicles.  Let me say right now, Unicorne is not a dragon fantasy series, though there will be a few dragon teasers in there. The writing style is also very different.  It’s not as warm (or as occasionally silly), but it’s tight and gripping and I would hope that the first set piece will grab people’s attention from the start.  One thing I’m very aware of is that my fan base has grown up over the course of the Chronicles.  I regularly meet people of 17 and 18 who loved the dragon books when they were juniors.  I hope they might appreciate this change of direction.  Every writer likes to try something different.  You need to trust me, folks! 
From a publishing perspective, there is a belief that dragons were last year’s thing.  I disagree.  If there’s one thing I've learned from writing the Chronicles it’s that people really love these creatures.  I fully intend to write about them again.  While I’m working on Unicorne, I will also be developing a huge synopsis for a MAJOR dragon series, one that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.  So all of you fans of David and Gadzooks, fear not.  By the time you’ve grown up and gone through college, there will be something else for you.  And believe me, it’s good.  Zookie, am I right or am I wrong?  Hrrr!  There, you got it from the dragon’s mouth.  Stay with me, dragon fans, it’s going to be an interesting couple of years.
It’s now my pleasure to ‘tag’ the next writers who will continue blogging on the theme of THE NEXT BIG THING.  I was supposed to come up with two links, but most of my writing friends have either blogged their 'thing' already - or they don't have a blog!  So I've cheated a little.  I am going to tag two authors - but two who write together.  The two Steves, Barlow and Skidmore, have been my friends for many years and I am really looking forward to seeing what they have to say about their latest projects.  Click on the link to go to their brilliant website.  They are two of the funniest authors I’ve ever seen perform in front of children.  They are also great tweeters.  You can find them on Twitter @the2steves.  Until next time.  Happy reading.  Hrrr!

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