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Beyond the Graves

The "The Next Big Thing" Thing

I’ve been watching the “The Next Big Thing” thing making the rounds of authors’ websites as one writer after another gets tagged.

I’ve been tagged at last, yay. Lisa Jensen, who tagged me, recently sold her reimagined Captain Hook novel, Alias Hook, to Snowbooks in the U.K. It’s due out in May 2013. I had the pleasure of reading it in manuscript, and it’s filled with the same cutting wit, swift violence and tender eroticism that distinguished her Tory Lightfoot novels. I recommend it highly.

-- What is the working title of your book?

The Crazy Adorable Faces. It was Four Little Kids and How They Die, but I decided to limit the point of view to one kid, so that didn’t work anymore.

-- Where did the idea come from for this book?

I was trying to weave some short stories together that were all set in the same seaside town in the 1970s. The common element was a girl who sees ghosts but doesn’t believe in them. So I gave her a couple of ghost hunters for parents, had them go missing and sent her off to look for them.

-- What genre does your book fall under?

Supernatural historical with some YA appeal.

-- How long did it take to write the first draft?

I’ve been working on it evenings since July and am just now at the end of act one, but I spent most of that time just working on the plot. I only started the actual writing fairly recently.

-- What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?

Chloë Grace Moretz, maybe? If Wednesday Addams were a real person who could act and was 14, she’d make a pretty good lead. If Lou Diamond Phillips could travel back in time to when he was 14, he could play the other kid.

-- What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A teenage girl overcomes her skepticism about the afterlife while searching for her ghost-hunting parents.

-- Will it be self published or represented by an agency?

I’m assuming my agent will rep it. I ran the idea by her and she made encouraging noises, but I haven’t showed her any pages yet.

-- Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I grew up in a haunted house.

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

I’d like to say The Haunting of Hill House, but that wouldn’t be true. I just like that book a lot.

-- What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Grace is being raised rather haphazardly by her alcoholic, dope-smoking aunt, who loves her a lot but isn’t much of a role model. Grace makes mistakes because she doesn’t know whom to trust and when to trust them.


And now comes the part where I provide links to five other authors.


I came to the The Next Big Thing thing pretty late. Oh yes I did. Was I a skinny, nearsighted kid who got chosen next to last for softball? Why, yes, I was. And did I later get bumped down to the spaz class, where I became King of the Spazzes and we beat the varsity baseball team at Russian baseball? Why, yes, I did.


Most of my writer friends have already been tagged, refuse to be tagged, don’t have a website or simply don’t bother with blogs.

KW: “I haven’t blogged since like February.” (Me: “What year?”)

RS: “I’ve been tagged three times already. It’s kind of cheesy, don’t you think?”

KM: “My time is better spent actually writing. Especially since my publisher wants me to pump out a book a month!”

So, no links to authors I actually know. Instead, here are some things I like a lot:

Philip Kerr: The Bernie Gunther Novels

M.T. Anderson: Feed

Paolo Bacigalupi: Windup Stories

Chris Wooding: The Black Lung Captain

Scott Lynch: The Gentlemen Bastards Sequence
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