Nick Quantrill was one of the first writers who ever did me a favor. He said some very nice things about my first two books with JB Kohl, One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. I was thrilled with this because his books, Broken Dreams and The Late Greats are great books that introduced me to a new world of British crime fiction.
When he tagged me in his Next Big Thing posting I was flattered. Nick is indeed a big thing on the horizon. You should check out his dark adventures in the seedy underbelly of Hull, England – and land I was scared to learn is a real place. They might not be the best books for the tourism board, but they're great for crime fiction fans.
So here is a reprise of my Next Big Thing answers with a few rewrites.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
I never know what will be out next. That’s up to the publishers to see what they want to put out. The most recently completed novel of mine is called The Year I Died Seven Times.
I'm nearly done withe the first draft of the sequel to The Devil Doesn't Want Me. I'm still hemming and hawing about titles on that one. I feel like I should keep it in the series format and have something with Devil in the title, but that risks people thinking I'm writing a horror novel or using some cliched title already in use a million times (See: Running With The Devil which would be a perfect fit, but it's been done)
I'm taking suggestions
2) Where did the idea come from?
Somewhere I came up with that title, The Year I Died Seven Times and I wrote a book around it. Not really the “right” way to do it, but it worked out well.
For the sequel to Devil, I had really rough outlines as we were submitting the first novel. I think maybe 10% of my original pitch for book #2 stayed. The rest evolved and I think it's much better.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Every thing I write is Crime, probably on the hardboiled end of the spectrum. The Year I Died 7 Times is about a missing girl, but it’s not a detective or a who-done-it. More mayhem and really sad attempts to find the girl. If you’re like me, parts of it will be kinda funny too.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
The girl who goes missing could be played by that girl from Gilmore Girls who played Rory’s best friend. Though on the show she was Korean and the girl in my book is Japanese. So maybe find a big star in Japan who people here don’t know.
The lead is a late 20’s male. Kind of a slacker. I can’t think of anyone A list, but I’d love to cast Jack Huston, the guy who plays Robert on Boardwalk Empire. That guy can be in any adaptation of any of my books, any time.
I've been asked to come up with casting for Devil before and I'm stumped. My best pick for Lars is David Straithairn. Not sure if he's too old now or not.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The Year I Died 7 Times: Ridley snaps out of his slacker-ish ways when he meets Miho, a beautiful Japanese girl, but when she vanishes one night he sets out to find what happened to her not knowing he’ll be dealing with vicious gangsters, drug dealers, former FBI agents, angry roommates, gang bangers and surly doormen and not realizing that by the end of his search he’ll have ended up clinically dead seven times.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I have no plans to self publish at the moment. It is out to a publisher right now who is considering it.
REVISED: They said no. So, I have a book for sale to a publisher. Who wants it? Don't all jump at once
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?
A short amount of time spaced out over a longer period. I started it early in 2012, then set it aside to get to some other, more pressing projects. When I came back to it, it finished up quickly. So about six weeks total with a nine month break in between. The actual writing time was fast, even for me, and I'm pretty quick. I was motivated.
This sequel is going very quickly too. I'm at about 4 weeks right now and I'm at 52K words. It helps to write characters you know well already.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hopefully nothing, but I’m always trying in my own way to rip off guys like Duane Swierczynski and Victor Gischler.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
There is rarely any real inspiration for my books. I just think of something and if it sticks with me I write it. I tend not to write ideas down and that way if they are still rattling around in my head weeks after I haven’t made an effort to retain the idea, I know it’s a good one because it stuck with me.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Um, did I mention the guy dies seven times? It was an interesting experiment to see if I could keep up the tension when the reader basically knows how each chapter/section is going to end. I think I pulled it off, but this story had a long gestation while I figured out how to do it.