The next big thing…

Last week, I was thrilled when Paul Magrs tagged me in his blog post as part of a chain of book and writer recommendations. This week the ‘Next Big Thing’ torch slips into my trembling fingers. Below, I’ll give you the answers to ten burning questions – regarding my most recent project – and then pass the torch on to five more writers I’m eager for you to meet…

Ok, so here goes…

• What is the title of your new book?

The Daemon Parallel

• Where did the idea come from for the book?

A very spooky dream, that I never quite forgot. I dreamt about a boy going on a quest through a dark and twisted city, and returning home to his grandmother – who didn’t seem that pleased to see him!

I started asking questions of the dream – about why the city was so strange, about why the boy had to live with his spooky gran, and what kept these characters bound together. I decided that the boy’s dad had died – and his granny had offered to bring his dad back to life. The whole mad story unfolded from there…

• What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a quirky fantasy adventure, set both in this world and an alternative version of it, for readers aged 10 to 100.

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

Do you know, I think I’d prefer a TV series? I love the way telly can develop complex, twisting plots, and how you get to know characters over a greater span of time. (Not that I’d be uninterested in a movie adaption… Come back, Hollywood! Come back! I didn’t mean it!)

I’m struggling to think of age-accurate casting – these guys are late teens rather than early – but they have the right sort of look and style:

Thomas Knight (who played Luke in The Sarah Jane Adventures) would make a good smart-but-awkward Cameron.

And grunged-up Bobby Lockwood (Rhydian in CBBC’s Wolfblood) could be a very appropriate Morgan.

And as for spooky Grandma Ives? She’s absolutely Phyllida Law.

• What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A boy battles daemons – of all kinds – on a quest to bring his father back from the dead.

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

It’s published by Floris, and I’m represented by Fraser Ross Associates.

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

The first complete draft took almost exactly a year – the revisions took longer!

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

Reviews so far have drawn reference points to Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising), Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and the work of Diana Wynne Jones – all of whom I’m delighted and thrilled to be compared to.

• Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In some ways fantasy fiction was a lifeline to me as a kid and teenager – as it often is to those who don’t entirely fit in to the mainstream, for one reason or another. I guess I wanted to give something back – to add my own voice to that ongoing fantastic tradition.

• What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think London is maybe a wee bit over-subscribed these days as a fantasy landscape – my novel’s set in Edinburgh, a marvellously grand and atmospheric city, that’s still ripe for new adventures.

It builds to its dark and chilly conclusion as the nights draw in, and the year ends – hopefully it could be ideal reading for some of you this winter…

That’s  it!

The writers I’d like to introduce to you – and who’ll tell you about their current or upcoming projects next week – are:

Daniela Sacerdoti: Dani’s first novel, Watch Over Me, was a runaway success on kindle this summer. She also writes for teens (the Sarah Midnight Trilogy) and children (you can read my review of Really Weird Removals.Com here).

Lari Don: Lari’s exciting and fabulous ‘Fabled Beasts’ adventure series has just reached a breathless conclusion with Maze Running.

Joseph Lidster: Joe was responsible for some standout scripts for both Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood, and is currently writing for CBBC’s upcoming awesome-sounding Wizards Vs Aliens.

Pippa Goldschmidt: Pippa’s first novel Wider than the Sky was short-listed for the Dundee International Book Prize, and will be published next year. I can’t wait to read it!

Emily Dodd: multi-talented Emily is a poet, scriptwriter, editor, performer… Her first book, Banana Me Beautiful gains a paperback release this Christmas.

Click everyone’s name to be taken to their blog. Joe is currently blog-less, so I’m pleased to be hosting his ‘Next Big Thing’ right here on So check back next week!

{update: credit where credit’s due. The Edinburgh image on the right was facebooked by Edinburgh City of Literature and is apparently the work of Scott Hutcheson. The one on the left is by me!}

10 thoughts on “The next big thing…

  1. Thanks for the comment, Abi. Hope you enjoy the book – it’s out now if you’d like a copy. *whispers* I may have fudged the ‘next’ part of the ‘next big thing’ cos I haven’t yet signed on the dotted line for Secret Project Two, but I think that’s fair enough, don’t you?

  2. Your answers are fab and fascinating, especially your thoughts about the role fantasy has in giving outsiders a voice and a world of their own. Do you think all writers are outsiders in some way or another? And thanks so much for “tagging” me, even if I’m not sure what that means. (Is it like being tapped on the shoulder just as the bell’s going and told you’ll be “it” at the next playtime?”

  3. I *do* think all writers are outsiders, in one way or another – at least those that I have any desire to read are! And let’s face it, even if you write in a crowded cafe, the very act of writing itself is essentially a loner task. You have to want to spend a huge dollop of time immersed in your own thoughts to produce a story, or a novel…

    There is something a little playground about tagging, I agree. Although I guess I asked my Superlative Five first – rather than hitting them and running away…

  4. Pingback: Guest blog: Joseph Lidster’s ‘Next Big Thing’! « Roy Gill
    • Hi Marianne! Yes, the questions stay the same – only the writers change 🙂 Hopefully people can follow links from blog to blog and find out about a lot more writers and their current projects…

  5. Pingback: The Next Big Thing « auntyemily
  6. Pingback: Guest blog: Scott Handcock’s Next Big Thing! « Roy Gill

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