Rebecca Schwartz tagged me in her Next Big Thing entry. So here are my answers:
1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?
It’s called The Way of the Shield, though the title itself is a work in progress. I’ve also got a short story brewing that, right now, I’m calling “Hard Vacuum Coyote”, but that’s still in its nascent stages.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
That’s actually a complex question. The main drive of it was to explore a place where traditional fantasy– kings and knights in armor and such– and modern, complex social structure overlap and clash. There is an old order of traditional warriors, and young men who still want to be a part of it– but in a setting that has more in common with 19th Century London or Boston. What role can that old order have– as well as the traditional nobility– in a society with a standing army, city constabulary and elected officials?
3. What genre does your book fall under?
It’s fantasy, though I’m not sure of the subgenre. Political/action fantasy?
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
You know, I never like thinking in terms of actors– certainly not famous ones. Because more often than not, the best choice is someone who doesn’t bring too much baggage to the table. I mean, if you asked Suzanne Collins when she was writing Hunger Games, I doubt she would have even been aware of Jennifer Lawrence.
(That said, at 6’3″ with a puppy-dog honest face, Liam Hemsworth from Hunger Games wouldn’t be a terrible match for Dayne.)
5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?
Disgraced warrior returns home to find himself neck-deep in political scandal, assassination plots and revolution.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Again, a complicated question. I first conceived of the book back in 2008– when I also came up with Thorn of Dentonhill, Holver Alley Crew and Maradaine Constabulary. All four are in the same setting, but as separate “book one of a series” concepts. I wrote Thorn first, with the idea that I would do Shield second. But then Holver Alley felt right as the second, and the Constabulary as the third, with Shield getting pushed back each time. I didn’t get properly started on it until March 2012, and even then, it’s been in fits and starts, as other things (such as minor rewrites of the other three) took some of my attention. But it’s still being drafted, hopefully finishing the rough draft by the end of the year.
8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
I’m not sure. In genre, the closest thing I can think of would be David Eddings’s The Elenium— for the knightly orders and the politics. But there are a lot of out-of-genre influences, so it ends up being the small junction in a Venn diagram of The Elenium, Les Miserables and The Pelican Brief. That’s a strange combination. I’m sure there’s a spot-on in-genre comparison that I’m ignorant of.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Daniel J. Fawcett has been my long-term brainstorming partner, and so a great deal of my inspiration comes from hashing out core ideas of the fantasy genre and worldbuilding with him. Pure and simple, the city of Maradaine (and the rest of the world around it), as well as the characters that inhabit it in all four books, would not be what they are without his input and influence.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I’m challenging myself on this one with my first attempt at a solid romantic subplot. So if that’s the sort of thing you need in your fantasy books, it’ll be there. But if you need guys with swords hitting each other, there’s that as well.