Tag: Richard Harland

The Next Big Thing? Aw shucks…

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You may be aware of The Next Big Thing blog tour which has been making its merry way around the globe this past few months.  If you’re not, in a nutshell one author answers a set series of questions about their work, then nominates other authors to do the same thing, who in turn pass it on…. you get the idea.

Well, the talented and Kind Kelly Inglis tagged me in her own answers last time, and I’m honoured to take the time to answer my own….

What is the working title of your next book?

“Europa”.  I try to give my stories a title as soon as possible.  Names have a certain power, and one facet of that power is to give the named thing a personality.

With this story, though, Europa was just a working title until something more solid came along.  But it’s been called that so long now that’s how I think of it, so there’s every chance it will stick.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

From my interest in Napoleonic era Europe.  The whole of the 19th century is mixture of wonder and enlightenment.  Leaps in scientific understanding coexisted in a world still mostly unknown to even the most worldly of men, where the existence of lost animals and even fabled lands were still widely accepted as a given.

It was also a time of almost unbelievable feats of heroism.  If Nelson’s tactics to destroy the French fleet at the Nile were written in a fiction novel it would be laughed off as too fantastical.  The possibilities of stories set in such a time are breathtaking
What genre does your book fall under?

Steampunk….or fantasy.  I’m not sure.  Which genre sells more?  That one.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oooh, not easy.  The characters are still finding themselves but I suppose Michael Fassbender is a shoe in.  The guy is just ridiculously talented.  And Tom Hardy for sheer physical presence.  Cilian Muprhy is the perfect villain.  And no one does a strong female lead like Ellen Page…. Did I just list the Inception cast with Michael Fassbender?  Wow, that film would have rocked.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“I am more than my country.”
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ll be going the traditional route and heading out to find a publisher.  Having someone else deal with the business end allows the writers to focus on the writing.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m at the six month mark at the moment, but that’s with losing current versions and backups twice through a stolen laptop and a lost USB stick (tip to writers – triple back up your work!).
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Richard Harland’s World Shaker and Felix Gilman’s Thunderer.  Harland’s work is solid, no nonsense steampunk, and perhaps the finest example of the genre straight up.  While in Gilman’s Thunderer, the technology aspect is a sideshow to the left of field story it takes.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Believe it or not, my children.  Growing up I had been a voracious reader, and dabbled in some short stories for my college magazine, but the best novels, the Pratchetts and Rices, the Tolkeins and Atwoods, transported me so fully into their worlds… novels were a kind of magic mere mortals like me would never attain.

So I forgot about the idea and just got on with life and books.

When I learned I would be a father, though, I wanted to be more than just a father to my boys.  I want to show them that they can do whatever they want if they work hard enough at it.

It was my boys who gave me the inspiration and the courage to write.  And I make sure I give them an extra hug at bedtime each night for that.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

If you ever read a history on Napoleonic warfare and thought the only thing which could make it more awesome were bloody great steam tanks, I have some good news for you….

 

And that’s me!  Hope you enjoyed!  And passing on the baton, I’m tagging three up and coming writers whose work I’ve very much enjoyed.  Assemble: Jonathan Peace, Beattie Alverez and Nandita Chakraborty.

Other Cool Dudes

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Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while.  I haven’t so far, partly out of laziness (with a hint of being run off my arse with work), partly due to the the fear of missing someone off the list.  You see, I want to do a shout out to people who directly or indirectly give me a helping hand and keep me writing, and I’m one of those people who never took acting classes because of the fear of missing some people from the inevitable Oscar acceptance speeches   For all my four portrayals of James Bond, obviously.

First off a few authors.  I’m not going to give links to the Neil Gaimans and China Mievilles.  They don’t need it, and you know who they are.  Instead it’s people like Felix Gilman,  Aaron Bembski-Bowden, Richard Harland.
Felix was very nearly responsible for making sure I never wrote a word.  Go read his marvellous début Thunderer and you’ll realise why.  It’s hard to find such beautifully constructed writing in the same pages of concepts which are wide ranging enough to fill a novel themselves, let alone each page they seem to pop up on.
Aaron’s work doesn’t stretch further than the Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 IP, but don’t let that fool you.  His writing is as evocative and attention holding as any I’ve read.  I’m sure in time, once he breaks further away from Space Marines and into his own worlds, he’ll be as well regarded as his Black Library stable mate Dan Abnett.  (nerd warning; his blog contains more the usual number of war games models, best to steer clear if terms like ‘d20’ and ‘shooting phase’ bring you out in hives).
And Richard just writes fantastic steampunk.  Seriously, I can’t put it more bluntly.
I don’t read nearly the amount of books I used to, so I’m fairly discerning when it comes to sinking time into one of the few novels I’m going to be able to read in a year, so I’m more and more going for the recommended and tried and true writers, but if you’re reading this it’s likely you’re here because of my writing, and if you liked that (and thank and bless you if you did) you should check these three writers out.
Next up, a few support sites for fledgling authors.  First up would be the ever-so-useful I Should Be Writing from the ever-so-feisty Mur Lafferty.  I don’t listen to ISBW (as it’s known to its friends) as much as I used to, although that is mainly because I finally took the constant urging to stop thinking about writing and actually write dammit to heart.  But still, it was always there as I was initially finding my feet.
And then  there’s the mighty Writing Excuses.  Hosted by the talented in the extreme Mary Robinette Kowell, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor and Dan Wells.  This podcast tackles a subject about writing, the craft and art and even the business each week, with each host, each a more than established author in their own right, taking control.  I have no doubt I will continue to listen to WE no matter how long they continue to cast, it’s that inspiring.
And this list wouldn’t be complete without some of the (free!) fiction I routinely listen to.
First up, The Drabblecast.  If you’ve listened to any speculative fiction podcasts it’s almost certain you’re at least aware of The Drabblecast and it’s enigmatic host Norma Sherman.  If not, here’s a brief summery. Ahem.  It’s awesomely weird and funny.  OK, that’s it, nothing more.  Norm and his readers pick out some truly stand out stories, and the production values are second to absolutely no one.  Each week you can look forward to a short story, 1 100 word and a 100 character story, and also plenty of banter from the Shermanator himself which is always worth perking up and listening to.
Next, but certainly not least, is the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine.  Big Anklevich and Rish Outfield, the Dunesteef’s hosts, ten to pick up longer stories than the Drabblecast, but their subjects are just as left field.  What really sets the Dunesteef aside from other casts is the dicussion between Big and Rish after the story (itself always a joy to listen to) about themes, characters, and basically anything else which strikes them.  The talks can go on much longer than the story itself  but I never mind.  It’s like having two friends over for a chat.
And pulling up the rear just because it’s the youngest is the Journey Into… podcast.  Eagle eyed readers may realise I sold a story to Marshal Latham who produces Journey Into… last week, but even had I not, it would still be in this list.  It’s the Outer Limits, the Twilight Zone of podcasts.  I’m left feeling fulfilled and often nostalgic after each cast.
OK, that’s it.  Go out, read, listen, enjoy!  Enough of me, get to it!
Michael