Next Big Thing

Hi, everyone. I’ve been tagged by Jason Nahrung to be the next in the writerly chain of blogs about the next work in progress — The Next Big Thing!

In a bizarre confusion of crossed emails where I was trying to figure out what exactly this thing was, I have also been tagged by Cheryse Durrant.

I suspect that this thing has probably reached just about every writer in this Galactic Quadrant so far. Maybe some guy on the moon-base circling Epsilon Eridani has yet to check his email:)

Anyway, here is my Q&A discussing my current Work in Progress, Urban Fantasy Distant Shore. I hope you enjoy it.

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

Distant Shore.

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

You know, I’m just not exactly sure about that. Like a lot of things I write, it grew organically.

I have always been fascinated by New York and I took the opportunity of visiting Lunacon in New York in 2009 to do a bit of research for an Urban Fantasy set there. I guess that collided with an interest in my own Irish ancestry.

Somewhere in there the core idea of the twins with complementary powers emerged from the depths to help coalesce the plot.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Urban Fantasy.

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

Wow. That’s something I have never considered. Have to think about that one. I’ll update the page when I get a lightning bolt:)

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

In Distant Shore, twin Adepts of the McNally clan —  one from New York and another from Brisbane — must unite to fight an evil born more than a century before in the wild chaos of Manhattan’s Five Points.

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

Mnnn. Let me consult my crystal ball. Ah! Published by an obscure Martian small print. They have a great distribution on the Jovian moons, and a good blog following as well.

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

Around a year in between other projects. It’s now complete.

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

The book would probably appeal to readers of novels such as Neil Gaimon’s American Gods, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Clive Barker’s Weaveworld or the novels of Charles de Lint.

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

My agent at the time, Mike Kabongo (I am currently un-agented), challenged me to write an Urban Fantasy after the success of Justine Larbalestier’s Magic or Madness trilogy (which was also set in New York), particularly contrasting the Australian and American points of view. Seemed like a good enough reason to me. I have always liked Urban Fantasy, but have (until now) written mainly in the Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Genres.

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

Here is a little excerpt from the synopsis. . .

In each generation twins are born to two branches of the McNally clan — in New York and Brisbane. Inexplicably, one twin from each city always dies at birth.

The surviving New York twins always start out as a shining lights — great sportsmen, easygoing and loved – revelling in their power. Yet each generation they lose control, spiralling into crime and a violent death.

The Brisbane twins become aware of the realm of the Other. They are haunted by what they see and are driven to fight the dark, despite their lack of strength.

On each distant shore, both surviving twins are plagued by a sense of incompleteness. Jeb, the taciturn police psychologist from Brisbane, and Joey, the energetic football jock studying at Columbia. Each is unaware of their gifts.

At the start of Distant Shore, the power of the McNally Adepts has passed to a new generation. . .

Go for it, Dave Freer, Jane Domogala, Amanda Green, Kate Paulk and Sara Hoyt.

Next Big Thing Is Coming

I’ve recently been roped into a writerly blog chain called the Next Big Thing. It involves writers doing a Q&A about their latest work in progress, then tagging five other writers at the bottom of their post. The Q&A posts from those writers, then appears exactly one week later and so on. . .

It’s reached quite a few corners of the web already, which is not surprising. I’m not quite sure where it all started, but I do know that the number of writers involved must be pretty impressive by now.

The thing is exponential.

So the first week you would have one writer, the one who started it: 1

Next week you have: 1+5

Week three you have: 1+ 52

And onward until at week ‘n’ you have: 1 + 5(n-1)

So at week 11 (assuming all writers are unique), that’s 9,765,626 writers! Assuming writers are 1% of the population (7,000,000), the supply of keyboard-tappers is already tapped out!

Now, I’m not usually into chain emails etc. When I get one of those, ‘Pass this on to five people to make your wish come true/establish world peace/save the world – but if you don’t you will die a horrible death’ – I usually hit the delete button straight away.

But this writerly blog chain serves a positive function, allowing people to talk about their latest WIP and raises a bit of attention. It is also fascinating to see how the thing progresses through networks of writers.

When I was first approached I have to admit to being pretty confused about how it all worked. Initially I thought it was just a series of reciprocal arrangements where you each posted a Q&A of the other writer. This led me to be tagged twice (oops). Oh, well. The blog police have not burst down the doors yet.

All the Next Big Thing posts go up on Wednesdays each week. Mine will appear on Wednesday 28th November. I’ll be talking about my latest and greatest – Urban Fantasy Distant Shore (for a sneak peek, check out the Next Big Thing page on my blog).

Has this reached your writer’s nest yet? Does anyone know where this thing started?

Photos and Social Media

Trying to track down photographs of the weekend at Genrecon and post them has made me realise how behind the curve I am on social media. Many writers were taking photos and posting them on twitter almost like a reflex action. Right on the spot in all of twenty seconds. In comparison, my efforts to grapple with the social media were more like some huge steam-powered mechanism trying to build up steam to move its grease-laden gears.

OK, I’ve managed to find two photographs. For the second one I had to dress up in my costume after I got back to Brisbane and get my wife Sandra to snap a one on her phone. It was only after I got back that I realised I should have been getting everyone to take photographs on my phone so I had some pics.

Below is a photo of myself with Alex Adsett and Paul Landymore, partners in crime (photo courtesy of Australian Writer’s Marketplace Online).






Here is the one I took when I got back to Brisbane. Six gun Chris!

Thinking about social media in general, I’ve decided it pretty much comes down to personality. Some people are just chattier than others and will find it easier to use those platforms.

One of the streams of Genrecon was on the publishing industry, including social media and author platforms. The advice is to try an engage people through dialogue, rather than making the conversations ‘one-way’. Good advice.

Another interesting thing that really stood out in my head was that there are optimal times to post to the Twitter and Facebook universes. Both Twitter and Facebook are at their most active during the working week. Based on USA Eastern Standard Time Facebook’s peak is mid to late week just after lunch. Yep – all those office workers logging on to see what’s up after lunch. Twitter’s usage was more spread out across the week, but – with the exception of early Saturday night when everyone is finding out where people are going – the peak was still in the middle of the day in the working week.

So in terms of maximising the effectiveness of posts, the advice was to ensure that you try to engage in these times. I did not even realise it, but you can schedule your posts on Facebook. For us poor social media cousins in the antipodes, we could do one post during our waking hours, then schedule another one for the USA peak times.

Other than that, the thrust was really just to try and create genuine relationships rather than talking at people. Find discussions and groups that discuss the things that interest you and make some real friends there. Get involved. Then when the times comes to talk about your new work people want to listen, and will be more inclined to promote you.

My biggest constraint is time, and the fact that I’m just not that chatty as a person. I’m the one at the party prone to having the deep and meaningful discussion in the corner. I guess I need to find the cyber equivalent of the comfy chair.

Anyone out there got any more tips for working with social media?