The Next Big Thing: The Unwilling

A photograph by Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

I’ve been tagged for “The Next Big Thing,” a series of posts about the projects that authors are working on.  A big thanks to the ever-amazing Peter Giglio, Scott Bradley, and R.S. Hunter for the tags.

This was actually a really hard meme for me to complete.  I’m working on a number of projects right now.  Closest to my heart at the moment is Efimera but to write about that project truly merits a different kind of post than this.  The Jealousy Glass, next novel in the Artifacts of Empire series, comes out this Saturday so I decided that writing about that wouldn’t be as interesting, perhaps, as talking about my far future project.  So that’s where this comes from.

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

The book that I’m currently working on has the working title The Unwilling.  There’s a specific reference that I pulled the title from (bonus points to anyone who can figure it out!).

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

As a fantasy reader, I’ve noticed that a lot of the tropes with which we’re so familiar come from Tolkien.  I’m intrigued by the stereotypes that seem to have drifted into the common understanding of what cultures and creatures are and wanted to play with that a little myself.  My Artifacts of Empire series is fairly minimal from a fantastic point of view.  While there are magic and certain magical creatures exist, much of that world’s magic was burnt out and you’re never going to see an elf or dwarf walking around Cercia.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

I suspect it will be hard to classify but I’d say dark historical urban crime fantasy with a strong hint of horror.

Let’s just call it… fiction.

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

This is a tough one and admittedly, I’m bad with naming my characters so I expect that the ones I list here will probably have their names changed by the time The Unwilling is ready to go.  I also don’t always cast people in my head–this story is definitely one of those where I haven’t done (until now).

Liach, a male elven “soldier,” would most definitely be portrayed by Sasha Roiz.  Roiz has done a lot of things but I’ll always remember him best as Sam Adama from Caprica, one of my favorite TV shows.  (And yes, I’m also a huge BSG fan.)  Roiz has a certain clarity and sharpness in his facial expression that would suit this character well.  He could stand to work on the pointy ears but we’ll forgive him that.

Photo by Dorothea Lange. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Daisy, who is the central figure as of this writing, would likely best be portrayed physically by Romola Garai a little older than she appeared in I Capture the Castle.  (Though her emotional and spiritual journey would better be summed up by Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone.)  Another candidate for casting would be the elven leader Iryamil—she’s Kate Winslet from her Mildred Pierce days, all the way.

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

Oh, the dreaded logline!  Perhaps… “How can you live forever if there’s nothing left to live for?”

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

I haven’t yet decided which way I’ll go with the book though I’m inclined not to self-publish at this stage of the game.  My other novels have been published by a small press and I found that to be a positive experience.  I’ll cheerfully admit, however, that I already have a cover artist/illustrator in mind if he’ll take the job (and of course, if I end up having a say in the matter).

At this point, I’m not represented by an agent but I’m very interested in speaking to one about this or my collaborative project.

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

It is still in progress.  I anticipate I’ll have a first draft finished by the end of next year or the beginning of 2014.  I have other projects going that also require my attention and this novel is complex in terms of scope and plotline.

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

This is The Lord of the Rings meets The Godfather meets The Hellbound Heart.  Which means, of course, that it will feel and act like none of these.

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

My research on the economic depressions experienced worldwide in the 1930s, my fascination with bizarre facets of history and my curiosity about genre reliance on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

I also give some credit for my attempting to try something like this on my workshopping adventures with R.S. Hunter.  His worldbuilding and outlining abilities are a thing of beauty–I’m incredibly jealous of the way that he develops all of his worlds.  (You can see a great example of this in his Tethys steampunk novels, the first being The Exile’s Violin.)

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

Two words: bad elves.

Now, the thing about this meme is that you’re supposed to tag other authors.  So here are a few I read/follow that I’d love to see do it (and I hope that none of you mind the tag):  Matthew Arnold Stern, Melissa Goodman, Michael Turner, M.S. Fowle, and Jack Lewis Baillot.

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