The Next Big Thing Author Interview

by SJ Griffin

Thanks and huzzahs to Mary Bracht for inviting me to take part in The Next Big Thing author interview. Mary’s book The Tarot Killer is out now, it’s a cracking read and you can find more about it on her website. I recommend you do that, but only after you’ve read all about me, yes? Very well, carry on:

What is the title of your next book?

The Replacement. It’s the second part of the Vanguard Trilogy, I’ve rather cleverly put it after the first part (The Vanguard) and before the third part (The Perfectionist). I believe that’s how these things are usually done, it’s not a very original approach I’m afraid. It’s out in May.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

The Vanguard, mostly, what with it being a sequel and all. I think I first got the idea when I was doing this terrible job at Proctor and Gamble filling up tiny sample bottles of Pantene Pro-V shampoo when I was a student. The boxes arrived marked for the attention of ‘Sorcha Blades’ and I thought that was a name worthy of some attention. I then spent a few years trying to write something that people would admire and then I thought you know, this is getting me nowhere, I’m going to try and write something people will enjoy. And that was that. The story fell into place by itself. I think my brain had been busy getting on with it while I sorted myself out. Well played, brain, well played.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s science fiction. The Replacements is set in a world run by machines but not devoid of actual people. The first book was set in a world run by humans and was therefore a more dystopic affair but still science fiction.

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

I’m not sure. I’ve had people ask if Sorcha Blades is based on me which is odd given that she’s telekinetic (OK, I am too but don’t tell anyone) and I’ve been to drama school so maybe I should play her. I think Anna Chancellor should play Vermina because she’s wonderful, but beyond that I like to leave it to the reader to picture the characters for themselves so I’m not sure. Having said that, we are going to try and get someone interested in the film rights in 2014 so I hope someone’s got a better answer to that question otherwise it’ll be a very odd film.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

It’s all fun and games being a superhero, until it’s not.

Will your book be self published or published by an agency?

I’m currently published by a very, very small collective called The Squintarium. We are a bit like Gertrude Stein’s set in Paris in the 20s (I am clearly Hemingway in this scenario) but without the awkward ostentatiousness of any success or sellable talent. We do know a lot of very witty putdowns though.

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

Eight weeks. Or to be more precise 36 days over an eight week period. I set myself a schedule of 12,000 words a week and then I stuck to it like scandal sticks to Lindsay Lohan. I’m immensely proud of this because I also had to pay the rent and do all the other stuff life likes you to do and I don’t like to do.

What other books would you compare The Replacement to within the genre?

Well, it’s so startlingly original I couldn’t possibly. Ha! Kidding! Some early Philip K Dick. The X Men comics from the 80s. Nothing with robots in it at all. It’s easier to answer this question with The Vanguard because someone said it was like the delinquent offspring of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Neverwhere. I plan to marry this person but they don’t know that yet.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’m not sure. I’m always writing. I’m inspired by the desire to have a good time and to be peaceable. Which is what writing is, I think, good and peaceable.

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

The main characters are not all heterosexual. It has jokes in it. It resolves the cliff hanger at the end of the first book. It sets up the third one quite nicely. It will have a very shiny blue cover to match the very shiny red one The Vanguard has so they’ll look good on your bookshelf. I’ve got a theory about the stuff we put on space shuttles, the music and that, you can find out all about it in the book. It also aids weight loss, will make you better in bed and generally much more successful than all your friends.

Thank you

You’re welcome. I have more answers to other questions if you ever want to hear them.

And if this wasn’t enough and you need another Next Big Thing I can help you with to, or more specifically an Antony Wootten.  His book Grown-Ups Can’t Be Friends With Dragons is sadly not a self-help book but is quite, quite lovely. You can find out more here.