Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Next Big Thing

My old friend Garrie Fletcher (check out his blog here: has tagged me as part of something called The Next Big Thing wherein writers get the chance to tell the world of their current writing project by answering 10 questions about it. I then get to tag three other writers in to do the same thing, which I'll take care of at the end. 

So, Andy, what’s your next big thing?
I'm working on a graphic novel retelling of a real-life event from England's Medieval past, the centre-piece of which is a massive, bloody battle. Unfortunately, I can't talk too much about the specifics (even previous retellings) as I'm keen not to give the game away. What I will say is that turning something that actually happened into fiction has been quite a challenge. I did a ton of research but was still unprepared for how much you have to shape facts, timelines and characters to make something work as an interesting, proper story. 
1) What is the working title of your book?
That's another thing I won't be giving away just yet.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
A couple of years ago I was pitching ideas to a UK-based graphic novel publisher (now sadly defunct) and getting nowhere. The editor I'd been speaking to suggested this particular historical event to me but I have to confess it was something I'd never heard of before. But I started researching the subject, visited the site where it took place and quickly became obsessed with it. I wish I could say more because it's a fantastic, fascinating story.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It's an historical action/adventure tale.
4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
There are three main characters, so let's see... Liam Neeson to play the lead, Viggo Mortensen to play his nemesis, Tom Hardy to play his trusted lieutenant (as long as he promised not to do his weird 'Bane voice').
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Blood, guts, honour, betrayal, death and Vikings. Lots of Vikings.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I have a publisher although contracts haven't been signed yet. It's pencilled in for a 2014 release giving me enough time to write it and artist Dan Bell enough time to draw it.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm still battling through the first draft. What I quickly realised is that just because you have a list of events it doesn't mean you have a story. It took me a while to find a genuine 'hook' to hang the narrative on but I've found that now and the writing has been a lot smoother and considerably less frustrating since I did. The maxim about writing being '90 per cent perspiration, 10 per cent inspiration' has been particularly true in this case.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Brian Wood's Northlanders series for Vertigo would probably be the closest thing to what I'm doing but the tone of my project is very different.
9) Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The story's main character was a truly amazing man - a bloody lunatic but an amazing man. It seems bizarre to me that he isn't better known in this country for his extraordinary bravery and heroism. I think he has a bad rep that he doesn't deserve. It also seems strange to me that the event itself hasn't been adapted into fiction more often. It would make a hell of a novel and a hell of a film. Hopefully it will make a hell of a graphic novel, too. 
10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Dan Bell's lovely art - as the project progresses I'll be posting some of it up here (with Dan's permission of course). 
The three fellow writers I'm tagging are: Jason Cobley, Steve Tanner and John Paul Catton.