Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Next Best Thing? Me? Really?

I was recently tagged as The Next Best Thing by editor Brian M Sammons.  I have been fortunate to be chosen on three occasions now for anthologies Brian is editing or co-editing. So I'm really pleased and flattered that he considers me worthy of passing on this mantel. Thanks Brian. Here's to great sales for Eldritch Chrome (Edited with Glynn Owen Barass), Edge of Sundown (Edited with Kevin Ross) and the latest one Atomic Age Cthulhu (Edited with Glynn Owen Barass). All of these anthologies are planned for some time next year.

Now I have the utmost respect for the following people who I believe could also be the next best thing ...


Jan Edwards
Kit Cox

Now onto answering the questions :)
What is the working title of your next book?
I’m currently working on two new projects but can’t really talk about them at the moment because they are subject to contract. As well as those two, there’s a finished novel which is being considered by an Agency in America at the moment, and I’d rather not talk about that until it has a publisher attached. There’s also another novel in the works, but that’s in the early stages of planning at the moment.
However I’d love to talk about my two most recent books SILENT SAND and ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S.
2)    Where did the idea come from for the book?
SILENT SAND – A Vampire Gene Novel – is number five in the series and sees the return of my characters Gabriele Caccini and Lucrezia Borgia. Gabriele is captured and taken to a secret military base in the Nevada Desert. There Lucrezia is working as a scientist, doing experiments on a new form of vampire. Like the fourth book, HATEFUL HEART, SILENT SAND is  a stand-alone story though it follows on chronologically from the other books. The idea for the story came from a ‘what if’ question. What if my vampires, following on from the threat in HATEFUL HEART were to face an even bigger and better foe?

As always the book contains blood-thirsty fierce vampires, sex and lots of action.

ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S was an idea that came from a dinner table discussion with my partner David J Howe. David and I were discussing what title might be evocative in today’s market and the title came about before the idea of the story. I didn’t want to write something that was a direct knock-off of the Breakfast At Tiffany’s story that the title might imply. Instead this is a completely original story, but with some tips to the hat to both Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Shaun of the Dead. It is also my first dabble at writing within the Steampunk genre. I really enjoyed inventing the weapons and gadgets which appear, so I’m sure I will be doing more in the future.

In this book you’ll find Zombies, Steampunk weapons and a large helping of black comedy.
3) What genre does your book fall under?

Both books fall into the horror category, but I like to mix the genres so SILENT SAND is Horror/Fantasy and ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S is Horror/Fantasy/Steampunk

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

If ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S was made into a movie, I’d really like to see Frazer Hines as Rocky the gangster, Mandy Patinkin as the Jewish manager at Tiffany’s, Anthony Head would be brilliant as the inventor and as for Kat Lightfoot (my kick-ass heroine) she should be played by an unknown actress who has the look of a young Audrey Hepburn.

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

SILENT SAND: The ancient vampire family find themselves facing their greatest foe yet, something primal and insidious, and from which they have no protection.
ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S: A Steampunked story of diamonds, chutzpah, death and horror from the blood-drenched pen of Sam Stone.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m not working with an agency at present, but my partner David is checking contracts and chasing deals for me. Both these books were commissioned prior to writing.
SILENT SAND was commissioned by The House of Murky Depths. I pitched the story and plot in a phone call with my editor Terry Martin and he bought it on that basis. In face I only sent him the full synopsis when he needed it to commission the cover art.
ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S was commissioned by Telos Publishing after I pitched a four line synopsis to Editor Stephen James Walker.
I don’t believe in self-publishing: though I make no judgement for those that do as it is often a way to get known and some people have become hugely successful by doing it. I write because I love it, but I also want to be sure that what I want to write will also sell. This is also my livelihood and I can’t afford to spend months writing something that won’t be sold. I love working with editors to discuss and refine ideas, and I love the process of writing: creating characters and worlds for them to inhabit.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

SILENT SAND took a few months to write. I am a fast writer and tend to do all my planning in my head beforehand. This means that when I come to put the words down, they flow easily as I already know where I’m going with the story.
ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S was written in ten days to first draft. On my first edit I added about 10,000 words more. It was then passed on to my editor. From beginning to end it took about three weeks to complete it and I’m extremely pleased with the end result.

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

That’s a tough one! I don’t really think that my writing or stories are like anyone else’s. However, people who like adult, fierce vampires often enjoy my vampire series. So if you like Anne Rice, Christopher Pike, Stephen King or Dean Koontz, you will probably enjoy my writing too.
I did have one reviewer say that my writing in ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S reminded him of H G  Wells and Alan Moore, which is a rare complement!
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My partner David always inspires me. We talk a lot about plots and character and story – all of which are equally important to me as a writer. David helps me refine my ideas. He’s my muse.

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

I like to write lots of action and try and keep my writing style very fast-paced. My readers often tell me they find my books to be page-turners. I’m not a big fan of long wordy sentences, or of using words that make my readers have to stop in the middle to go and find a dictionary. Reading should be FUN. It is entertainment. And entertain is what I hope I do most of all because losing ourselves in a good story is what it is all about. A lot of writers forget that.
Plus, no matter what subject you are writing about, it’s usually all been done before in some way or another. I see it as a challenge to try and approach things differently. My Vampire Gene series for example, isn’t written in a formulaic manner. Each book is different and hopefully gives my readers new surprises and new philosophies to consider. It’s why the zombies in ZOMBIES AT TIFFANY’S aren’t just humans infected by some communicable disease. They are caused by something evil getting into the hearts of the soldiers at war. Something sees and fills the darkness within them.
I think it’s important to have multiple levels within your stories, even though different readers will interpret them in different ways. It’s what keeps it interesting for me as a writer, and which keeps the readers coming back for more. And as I say, it’s all about the readers.

1 comment:

Anna said...

This was a really interesting read. I love hearing writer's methods and the origin of the books I've read and loved.