Last week, the inimitable Steven Saviletagged me on his blog as part on an ongoing chain of book/author recommendations called The Next Big Thing, a happy reach-around for writers where we all stride about like avenging peacocks with ICBMs where our penises should be. Today it’s my turn to take possession of the giant cockmissile, and answer the ten questions originated by Paul Magrs, then pass over the reins to five other writers who will be doing the same on their own blogs in a week’s time. Ready?

What is the working title of your next book?
The Marching Dead

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s the sequel to The Corpse-Rat King, which came out this October from Angry RobotBooks.

What genre does your book fall under?
Loosely under Fantasy, although very much at the absurdist end of the genre. Angry Robot claim they publish “SF, F and WTF?” I’m aiming for “WTF?”

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I don’t really envisage actors when I’m writing characters, at least, I do so very rarely. There was one character in the first Marius dos Hellespont novel who I based on Bill Nighy’s ‘uptight’ characterisation because it was a nice fit, but that’s as far as it went for these two novels.  If you absolutely had to have an answer, I’d say perhaps Paterson Joseph for Marius, but that’s all I’ve got.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
He found a King, won the girl, and saved the day. If it wasn’t the end of the world as we know it, he’d be bored shitless by now.

Which is 2 sentences, but sue me.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
As with the first novel in the series, Marching Dead will be published by AngryRobot Books, in April 2013. It was represented by the tall, virile and generally froody Richard Henshaw of The Henshaw Group.

How long did it take you to write a first draft of the manuscript?
I completed the first draft in a shade under 5 months. It’s currently with the publisher, who has probably had to call out for more red ink by now.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
That’s a hard one: I actually don’t read a huge amount of fantasy. The Corpse-Rat King seems to have collected a bunch of comparisons to Joe Abercrombie, so let’s say that.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
 A contract that said “two books, with an option on a third”.

The Corpse-Rat King was inspired by a dinner table conversation with a good friend in which we bemoaned the soft-focus, taking-itself-way-too-seriously, hyper-hygienic worlds of too many Fantasy novels. CRK was an attempt to subvert those tropes, and Marching Dead was a good opportunity to introduce a different tone into the world I had created, and push the characters into states of mind they hadn’t experienced in the first novel.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Anybody who read and enjoyed the first novel will—hopefully—enjoy the chance to meet with some characters alluded to in the first book, particularly Marius’ parents, plus there’s a randy smuggler queen with a patch and an undead dominatrix with a degree in gymnastics and a really really big tub of goose grease. And Gerd loses his virginity. And if you didn’t read the first book, and that makes no sense at all to you, then you’ll be pleased to learn that Marching Dead stands alone as a separate adventure, and you’ll get to experience all this sort of thing for the first time. And, as usual, everybody says fuck far too often for their own good.

And finally: A reminder… (the 5 who will be tagged)
In the interests of sharing the pimp—and really, isn’t that what life is all about?—I shall be tagging the sensational KA Bedford, Stephen Dedman, Wesley Chu, Daniel Russell, and Guy Salvidge. They may have already done this—I was too slack to check. They may not wish to be involved—I was too self-involved to ask. They may be dead—I was at home with my wife and she’ll vouch for me. But won’t it be fun to come back to their blogs in a week and see if they join in?


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