Monday 19 November 2012

Chain Reaction

You've heard of chain-letters? Well someone somewhere has started a chain blog post, passed from one Indie Author to the next. This one has been passed to me by Sherrie Cronin, and as you can see, it's a series of questions. So without further ado, I present the next link in the chain...

What is the title of your next book?
There Are No Angels In Heaven. But don't quote me on this, because today is today and tomorrow is something else, so I might change my mind.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Went to bed one night and the Thought Fairy left it under the pillow. The grammar was terrible though, and needed a lot of work. Fairies, eh?

What genre does your book fall under?
Science Fiction. 'Cos it's in space. Could also be subtitled as a thriller, action adventure. 'Cos there's lots of that too. Or there will be when I write it in. I can only write for so long before getting the urge to kill someone in print. But Science Fiction is a such a huge genre in itself, so I suppose it's legitimate to ask what kind of science fiction it is. Hard SF? Soft SF? Galaxy-spanning space opera?
Pffft! Who cares? Sci-fi Pedants can argue forever about how many aliens dance on the head of a pin. Look, It's set on Callisto, one of Jupiter's moons; there's a mystery to be solved, baddies to be avoided, risks to be taken and bargains to be made and broken. And someone will almost certainly get shot before the end.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Giving me control of casting would be a very, very bad thing. And I accept immediately. I'd like to thank my mom, the milkman, the cat and the guy over there with the shocked look upon his face for this honour.
First up would the role of Christina Balbueno.  Maybe she could be played by Salma Hayek, but she's a little too sexy for the role. Then there's J-Lo, simply because everyone thinks she's my sister. But no, I need someone practical for the role. Flawed, determined, not afraid to go where men fear to tread. It's Bruce Willis with implants then - job done.
Next up is Shakespeare Cruz - oh yes, dear readers, he pops up in this one too. What do you mean you thought he was dead? Pah! Have you no faith? Anyway, that's a no-brainer. Danny Trejo. Simples.
Shakespeare Cruz's eight year old daughter, Seina, would be played by Tom Cruise in a dress - he's about the right height. Kagame would be played by Idris Elba, because he's just so cool. Mattias would be played by Enrique Iglesias, and Christina's father would be played by Salma Hayek. See, she makes it into the movie in the end.
And finally, Jar Jar Binks would play the guy who gets skewered by the forklift, burned in the chemical fire and crushed by the landing spaceship. Actually there is no such guy in the book, but the mental image pleases me.

So how does it look?

Okay, this is why you need an expert. Don't ask me to do this again.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
You're taking the piss, aren't you? One sentence? I don't do elevator tests. Read the goddamn blurb.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-Published. It's a sequel, and I enjoyed doing the last one. Looking forward to going through the process again.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well actually, it's not finished yet. For once this really is Speculative Fiction. Like, when am I going to finish the damned thing? But Even The Dead Dance To Live took about a year for the first draft. I've learned a lot since, so it should take less time but, as with the proposed title, don't quote me on this.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
That's a tough one. Like Paul McAuley's The Quiet War, it's set on Callisto in the near future. But the resemblance ends there. This one's a lot noisier. It's much more James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard and Martin Cruz Smith, plus a smattering of early Iain Banks, sans the fantasy science.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
In Even The Dead Dance To Live, there was a vignette that covered the tragic story of Commodore Balbueno and his fall from grace. That was a loose end that intrigued me, so this story will follow his daughter's quest to clear his name.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you've read the first novel, then maybe you're interested in what happened to the surviving characters afterwards. It is a stand-alone novel though, so you won't need to have read the first novel to get into it. Do you like gritty space stories, set in our own solar system, with realistic physics, complex plots and plenty of action? Well this is the book for you. Space colonisation, political drama and grim personal stories - that's what I do and I hope you enjoy it.

Phew, that's done. The next author in the chain is Adrian Staccato, so keep one eye glued to his blog for the next exciting installment of... The Chain (cue drumroll).

Over to you Adrian.

Friday 9 November 2012

Beyond Cool

You've heard of movie remakes. How about premakes? The artist Peter Stults has created posters showing what modern movies might have looked like if they'd been done during Hollywood's Golden Age.

I don't know about you, but if some of these what-if movies were released (or perhaps uncovered?) today, I'd rush to see them. And Tom Cruise's part is one he should play always - it's just better that way.

Check out the artist's site for more examples, some of which you can actually buy as a poster.

Now if I drop enough hints, can I get Santa to get me one?

Thursday 1 November 2012

Guest Interview: Sherrie Cronin

As a special treat to all my regular readers (I'm looking at you too spam-bots) I am pleased to welcome a guest author to the blog - fellow SF writer Sherrie Cronin.

Sherrie is the author of x0 and y1, and is a geophysicist with 28 years of experience in the Texas oil industry. She is married, with three children, and entered the world of writing with a short story she sold to Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. She has since published two novels of what will be a six novel series, and is hoping to release the third novel in the series in 2013.

Her debut novel x0 follows the story of Lola, a Texan geophysicist, and Somadina, a young Igbo woman living in Nigeria, in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The two women, on two separate continents, must connect somehow, for Somadina needs Lola's help to rescue her sister from a dangerous conspiracy. x0, a secret organisation that serves to assist people with extraordinary powers of the mind, must step in to intervene in a drama that threatens to alter a nation's future. What ensues is an international science fiction thriller with what one reviewer described as a 'great climax'.

y1 focuses on the story of Zane, who 'doesn't believe in magic, and he's gotten a whole degree in neuroscience just to try to figure out how he can possibly alter his appearance the way that he does'. The novel is set in the South Seas this time and involves an unsavoury pharmaceuticals company, an accusation of murder and a mystery to solve before Zane becomes a murder victim himself.

Sherrie has kindly agreed to be interviewed for this blog:

"Your novels clearly benefit from a lot of research, from life among the Igbo of Nigeria, to the South Seas and corporate intrigue in a pharmaceuticals company. Do you get your story ideas first and then set out to research them, or is it your research that gives birth to the stories?"
A little of both. For example I knew that y1 was going to be about the South Pacific and the pharmaceutical industry, so I started research on both .... and discovered that Samoa had been home to a series of ill-fated boot camps for troubled teens.  I had no idea, but out of that research came a new subplot  that tied in nicely with my main plot about medicating teenagers.

"On top of the research, your novels are intricately plotted with multiple characters. A lot of thought and time must go into that. I'm guessing you're an organised and disciplined writer. With three children, a family life and a successful career in the oil industry, how do you go about making time to write?"
Well, the children are grown and that does make all the difference. I pretty much started writing again once the youngest left for college. And I'm 20% retired. My employer lets me work 4 days a week.  So it's write 3, work 4. Oh and I have a fully retired husband who loves to cook. That also is a big plus.

"Your next novel, z2, looks to be due out in January 2013. After Nigeria and the South Seas, which cultural setting do you plan on jetting your readers to next?"
This one will be my North American novel ... but of course it is about a corner of North America few of us from the US know well. A lot of the story takes place where Belize, Guatemala and Mexico all come together.

"You mention in your bio that your muse insisted upon a six book series. Does this still stand, or has your muse come up with more demands since? And if not, do you have plans for another, different series one day?"
My muse and I have a firm agreement in place that this is a collection of six and only six novels.  Actually, the third one, z2. is now written and being edited, and the remaining three are pretty well planned out.  I have an idea for another very different kind of series down the road, but who knows. First I want to take some time in between and work on short fiction for awhile.

Many thanks to Sherrie Cronin for being my guest for the day. x0 and y1 are available to download as ebooks from Amazon and Amazon UK.