The Next Big Thing

Hi folks! Like many other writers, I’ve been tagged in the Next Big Thing meme (by three separate people on the same day, so I think the idea has hit critical mass and is about to collapse on itself like the Greek economy trying a pyramid scheme with Monopoly money). I’d like to use the opportunity to briefly plug my new book “Quiver”, which goes on sale on the 10th of December.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

My next book is called “Quiver”, and is actually a fix-up novel repurposed from four connected novellas, with plenty of new material and reworked to form one complete story. Two of these novellas have previously been published in the “After the World” magazine line – Gravesend and Corpus Christi. “Quiver” is the chance for me to wrap up the entire story in one volume, and I’m really excited to see it about to hit the shelves/ebook stores.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I originally wrote these novellas as part of the Black House Comics “After the World” series, a set of pulp horror books that saw wide distribution in Australian newsagents in about 2009. When I was first pitching ideas for the project, I wanted to do some sort of gonzo Mad Max style piece set in Australia, but other authors had already written pieces set down under. I was advised by editor Baden Kirgan to look further afield, perhaps the US or England. One of my coworkers (an expat Pom) suggested the location of Gravesend, Kent, and the name was too perfect not to work. Baden gave me some story elements required for the overall plot, and over the course of the next few novellas we came up with a story that I’m proud to put my name to. I gave the world Tamsyn Webb – a broken teenager, a sass-mouth who is a dead-eye shot with her bow.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Here’s some key words: Young adult, zombie, post-apocalypse, horror.

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

I reckon Rose Byrne would do a great job as Tamsyn Webb. Um, the bloke with the face scars from Gladiator would do a good job as Simon Dawes. I’d like to put Macauley Caulkin in there somewhere, but he doesn’t really fit with any of my characters – I just want to see him in a zombie film. And I would let all my friends cameo as zombies. Me, I’d be zombie #528 – Office corpse chewing on severed forearm.

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

“Quiver” is the story of growing up in a world that wants you dead.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

“Quiver” is the first prose novel to be published by Black House Comics, who are known for publishing a diverse range of Australian comics. BHC ran a great fiction series from 2009 called “After the World”, so it’s great to see them taking on prose works and giving them the same care as the comic lines. I really get the feeling that this is a labour of love for editor and publisher Baden Kirgan, who has given plenty of local storytellers a way to get heard over the past few years (and hopefully many more).

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It actually took a couple of years to write the whole story, and some elements of it have already seen print so this included revisions, edits, bouncing ideas between colleagues and Baden at BHC. Working in between other projects, I always found myself coming back to Tamsyn Webb’s story, so I think I was always working on it, even subconsciously.

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

I’d like to think it holds up to the Hunger Games books, the Passage, and hopefully classics like the Stand.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As above, Gravesend was originally my plan B, but it’s amazing where secondary opportunities can take a story. It just grew organically, and the characters are all amalgams of people I know in real life. Maybe one day I’ll tell them who they are in my book :-)

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

I’ve been told by test readers that it’s fast-paced, compelling and that my characters drive the story really well. It’s the tale of a broken young girl, whose troubled adolescence is interrupted by the end of the world. Trapped in a barricaded town, she soon discovers that the people within are far more dangerous than the undead outside. She learns of a cure for the disease, but it might just doom them all…

So there you have it, the Next Big Thing as happening in the world of the Fisch. Given that every man and his dog has been in this meme, I’m actually not going to tag anyone specifically. If you want to play, by all means consider yourself my tagees, otherwise I’m happy to let the meme die a peaceful death. There are a swag of excellent posts out there for the reading, and I’d like to give a big kudos to my taggers, the brilliant writers Kirstyn McDermott, Alan Baxter and Zena Shapter.

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