Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Next Big Thing

Last week Cavan Scott (a writer with many fingers in many pies) rather kindly tagged me in the Next Big Thing, which has been referred to variously online as a ‘blog chain’, a ‘tag-athon Q&A’ and even a ‘pass-it-on interview’.

Whatever you care to call it, the idea is that you answer ten questions about the current project you’re working on and then keep the ‘chain’ going by tagging five more writers who will answer the same ten questions and then pass it on again...

So, anywho, without further ado, here are my answers -

What is the working title of your next book?
The novel I’m working on right now is called The Horus Engines, and will be the first book in a brand new series called Tales Of The Iron War.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It actually developed while I was writing a short story, The God Of All Machines, for an anthology I recently edited for Snowbooks called Resurrection Engines. As I was writing the story I realised that I was creating this epic back-story in my head, an entire war with a steam-driven alien invader that had lasted for thirty-one years (1914-1945) which was just screaming to be told. The short story itself flits back and forth between two time periods - the beginning of the war and a number of years after its end - so very little of the war iself is actually presented. That's when I started thinking, wouldn't it be great to have a series of novels telling the story (or, rather, stories) of that war...I could ask other talented Steampunk authors to write for the series too, to see what they'd do with it!
What genre does your book fall under?
Steampunk, only with a ‘BUTtagged on at the end. Sadly I feel that Steampunk as a genre has been rather tragically misused, misrepresented and under-explored of late. There’s a number of novels being released under the ‘Steampunk’ banner which, aside from the occasional mention of an airship, are really nothing more than Victorian detective novels, or have werewolves and vampires battling it out in late 19th century London – which should really fall under Urban Fantasy. With The Horus Engines I’m intending to push the boundaries a little bit, to really explore what can be done with the genre.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
OK, this is a difficult one. When I’m writing I never actually picture my characters in that way. I know roughly how they look, but it’s very rarely like someone famous.
Oh, alright then, if pushed I’d say that the two Scarlet Council agents Markham Vale and Gaius Creed could be played by John Simm and Adrian Brody respectively. Not least cos it’d be really cool to hang out with them on set.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Gah! I hate writing synopses, no matter the length, but here goes:
"When an archaelogical dig in Egypt in 1907 uncovers an alien crash site, Pharoah Rameses II (a human/machine hybrid clone of the original) unwittingly fires the first shots in the Iron War – thirty-two years later British agents Markham Vale and Gaius Creed are sent to North Africa to infiltrate the country and stop the construction of a fleet of giant space rockets, codenamed the Horus Engines."
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’s going to be published by Snowbooks in June 2013. From then on 3 books a year in the series will be published.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Hard to say as I’m still writing it. But I’m aiming at having the first draft completed by the beginning of March, so that’ll be between 3 to 4 months. I have several other projects on the go as well, so they all have to be carefully slotted in.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’ve actually stopped reading Steampunk novels since I started working extensively in the genre, but I particularly enjoyed K.W. Jeter’s Morlock Nights and Infernal Devices. I don’t think they can be ‘compared’ to The Horus Engines, but I’d like to think that anyone who enjoyed Jeter’s novels might also enjoy mine.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A combination of a hell of a lot of things, really; the compulsion to write, a love of the Steampunk genre, the fabulous Emma Barnes, being lucky enough over the past year or two to have worked with some of the most talented and generous writers on the planet…trust me, I could go on for hours here.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s an Alternate History/Steampunk reimagining of World Wars I & II, which continue in an ongoing series of novels. Also, the books can be read independently of one another and in any order you choose.
So, there you go. And now all that's left is for me to tag five writers who will answer the same questions next week - over to you chaps:
And the fifth will be Gary Russell who will be guesting on this blog next week!


Monday, 26 November 2012

Starburst Review

It may be Monday morning (not to mention being grey, miserable and peeing it down outside) but the week has started rather brilliantly in my house.

The fab Starburst Magazine has reviewed the complete Series 1 of the new Big Finish audio horror/supernatural series The Confessions of Dorian Gray and they've given it a star rating of 10/10.

I'm absolutely thrilled, not to mention bloody proud, to be a part of this brand new series, and must say a huge thank you to the brilliant Scott Handcock for creating such a wonderful sandbox for all of us writers to play in!

You can read the full review HERE on the Starburst Magazine website.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Reviews & Comments (redux)

Here's a few more lovely comments and reviews of my episode of The Confessions of Dorian Gray from people on twitter and review sites.
"This is excellent. It reminds me in parts of Dark Shadows' equally wonderful London's Burning. Sound design is beautiful, as are the performances. Very eerie story - this is shaping up to be an unmissable series."
"Excellent. Episode 2 even better than the first!"

"Enjoyed this just a touch more then the first episode - think it was the quicker focus on the proper horror elements, although I did enjoy the bits with Wilde last week, they did divert the rest of the story. Still a 9/10 though."

"8/10 for me! This series is shaping up to be absolutely fantastic. I can't wait until next week."
"Episode 2!!! Oh lovely."

"Lovely, lovely spooky stuff. Fabulous voice work and a cameo from Gary!"
"Holy crap @vlavla is killing me in this week’s Dorian Gray!"

"More than the first episode, this is a showcase for Alexander Vlahos: the script by Scott Harrison is powerful (and felt suitably creepy just as words on the page), but Vlahos wraps his voice around the narration."

Thursday, 15 November 2012

New Book Day (Part 1)

Look what the lovely old postman has just delivered - a box chock-full of hardback copies of my Blake's 7 novel Archangel.

The book is released in just two weeks time - November 30th - and can be pre-ordered from the Big Finish website either in hardback or in eBook format here, as well as on Amazon here.

The book will also be available to buy in bookshops and genre shops such as Forbidden Planet and the Who One shop.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Resurrection Engines - Final Paperback Cover

Those talented chaps over at Snowbooks have just sent me the complete, final cover for the paperback release of the Resurrection Engines anthology, and i just wanted to share it with you.

It's absolutely stunning and I can't wait to see it in the flesh. Luckily none of us will have to wait too long as it will be published on December 1st, just three and a half weeks time!

Here's the full ToC:

The Soul-Eaters of Raveloe      by   Alison Littlewood
A Journey To The Centre Of The Moon   by  Alan K. Baker
She-Who-Thinks-For-Herself   by   Juliet E. McKenna
The Great Steam Time Machine   by   Brian Herbert & Bruce Taylor
Silver Selene   by   Philip Palmer
White Fangoria   by   Roland Moore
The God Of All Machines   by   Scott Harrison
The Crime Of The Ancient Mariner   by   Adam Roberts
There Leviathan   by   Jonathan Green
The Island Of Peter Pandora   by   Kim Lakin-Smith
The Ghost Of Christmas Sideways   by   Simon Bucher-Jones
Talented Witches   by   Paul Magrs
Fairest Of Them All   by   Cavan Scott
Tidewrack Medusa   by   Rachel E. Pollock
Robin Hood And The Eater Of Worlds   by   Jim Mortimore

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Reviews & Comments

The second episode of The Confessions of Dorian Gray has only been available to download for 3 days and already the reviews and comments are pouring in on websites and on Twitter. So far they have all been fantastic (honestly, I haven't read a single bad word yet) and I've just been so incredibly bowled over by how well it has been recieved.

Here's what people have been saying so far:
"Second episode of Dorian Gray…Whoa. So Good. I got scared. And then I got emotional. And then I got even more emotional"
"@vlavla (Alexander Vlahos) you've gained a fan, a pitch perfect performance, loved it. @scott_handcock's Dorian Gray is absolutely fantastic! #HousesInBetween"
"Listening to @vlavla second Confessions of Dorian Gray before bed, Fantastic stuff!"
"@bigfinish very encouraged to see 'Series 1' on Confessions of Dorian Gray. Listening to episode 2 before sleep and I'm completely immersed."
"@scott_handcock the new C. of Dorian Gray is as brilliant as the first ! Cant stop singing this song. Look forward to the next. Well done!"
"The Confessions of Dorian Gray from @bigfinish read by @vlavla , Lorna Rose Harris, Rebecca Newman, Gary Russell and James Goss is superb!"
"@vlavla Interesting twist at the end of Merlin tonight :) downloaded 1.2 of Dorian Gray today, loving that also :)"
"Am sitting in park b4 work listening to Confessions of Dorian Gray ep 2. Chills."
"Confessions of Dorian Gray episode 2 is wonderful. Amazing. So good that I subscribed - something that I rarely do!"
"Oh god, The Houses in Between, I’m crying."
"The Houses in Between has assured me that the splendid opening episode was no fluke, and that this is a series being produced with a clear, smart vision. Every aspect is polished and on target; the music in this week's episode was beautiful and haunting. Houses is not quite as potent a package as This World Our Hell, but it's still excellent drama. 8/10."


 Download it HERE

Saturday, 3 November 2012

It's Dorian Gray Day!

November is a very exciting month for me - not only does it see the publication of my Blake's 7 novel Archangel in hardback on the 30th, but today sees the release of the first of the audio plays I've written for Big Finish!

The brilliant new horror series The Confessions of Dorian Gray began last week with a creepy little story set in Paris in the year 1900 with Dorian visiting his old friend Oscar Wilde.

The second episode of the series - The Houses In Between - finds our eponymous (anti) hero living in the heart of blitz-torn London in 1940, where his dark and sorded past is about to catch up with him. The 30 minute audio play costs a mere £2.99 and is available to download in MP3 format right now from the Big Finish website here.

If you enjoy it please download the other 4 episodes in the series (released every week throughout November), all of them penned by some very exciting writers, including David Llewellyn, Gary Russell, Scott Handcock and Joseph Lidster.