So last week it was my turn in the Q&A to talk about my next big thing (Blood and Dust), and I tagged five writers to share theirs. Today is the day!
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Angela Slatter tagged me in this Next Big Thing writerly chain thing, in which we answer the questions below before sending the same queries off to five of our pals. Blood and Dust is my next ‘big’ thing, to be released soonish in digital format by Sydney publisher Xoum. Let’s get started.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
The story began more than 10 years ago in a role playing game I was running while living in Rockhampton. Add in my dissatisfaction with the watering down of vampire as monster and metaphor, plus my love of Australian stories, and this yarn finally emerged. It originally moved from the outback to the big smoke, back to the outback, so I’ve cut the yarn into two standalone novels. Blood and Dust happens mostly in rural, regional Queensland; The Big Smoke — still a work in progress, and uncontracted — happens primarily in Brisbane.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Let’s call it a supernatural thriller in which bad things happen. Does that qualify as horror?
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ve not thought that far ahead, but it would be exciting to see so many opportunities for Aboriginal Aussie actors to go crazy! It’d be a multinational cast, too: Eastern Europeans, English, Asian-Australians, yobbos. The sequel brings in serious Western European and US action. Get me the casting agent, stat!
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Bad things happen when an outback mechanic gets caught in the crossfire of an outlaw vampire motorcycle gang and a big city vampire gang.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Blood and Dust was sold to Xoum by my agent, Selwa Anthony.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first draft took probably more than a year to pull together. That was in the late 90s.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Based on hearsay, because I still haven’t read the sucker, maybe 13 Bullets or, in terms of nastiness and based on the disappointing movie version, 30 Days of Night.
I like to think of it as Anne Rice meets Mad Max.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This is a little like Q2, but let’s run with it and say Bram Stoker. He’s the chap who crystallised my love of supernatural, Gothic literature with Dracula. You’ll find references to it, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and a few others besides, in Blood and Dust: little homages to the greats of vampire lit. How would vampires survive in the Sunshine State? This story is one answer.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If this were a DVD, it’d have warnings on the cover for coarse language, violence, adult themes, drug references, sex. But, y’know, it’s got a big heart, too.
That’s it from me. I direct you to my five victims to find out about their Next Big Things!
Last year we scoffed down American Horror Story, an incredibly thoughtful and homage-laden haunted house story with some exceptional ghost work. Well, season three has just been commissioned, and the first season has recently been released on DVD.
I got sent a review copy of the DVD package, and it’s handsome.
Do not watch the extras if you haven’t watched the show. Half the fun is trying to work out the back stories of the characters and, indeed, work out who’s a ghost and who isn’t, and who will become one and who won’t. So an extra profiling the who and the how of the spooks is great to recapture or put things in perspective, but will screw up the show.
Film fans will enjoy the info about the title credits — great to see some Nine Inch Nails input there! — and the ‘making of’ likewise sheds some light while talking up the show.
Strangely, for a show that worked hard to avoid cliche even while exploiting so many tropes, the ‘Murder House’ extra, dressed up as a ghost tour visit riffing from the show, added little that wasn’t covered elsewhere, and let the side down.
The commentary from creator Ryan Murphy on the pilot isn’t overblown and provides some interesting tidbits and insights.
Online, there’s a shallow doco site about crime scenes/haunted places, and it covers six in Australia. They’ve misspelt Boggo Road in Brisbane and bollocked up the text for Snowtown (awesome movie, by the way!). Sigh.
Still, watching the pilot again reminded me of just how superb Jessica Lange is in this show — indeed, the performances are first rate across the board — and I reckon it will reward a second viewing to appreciate all the bits ‘n’ bobs the makers have used to set up the succinct 12-parter. I remember being a tad disappointed with the final episode’s touch of twee and apparent set up for season 2 (falsely, because 2: Asylum, is all new), so another viewing could indeed be illuminating.
One for the Xmas pressie list, for sure.
Midnight Echo is ramping up to the release of Issue 8 at the end of November — herewith, some dirt on my yarn in the magazine, ‘Hello Kitty’. It includes an extract, which makes me stress that the attitudes and opinions of characters therein are not necessarily those of the author …
Other writers in the mag include Joe R Lonsdale, Felicity Dowker, Joanne Anderton, Jason Fischer and Andrew J McKiernan — and MORE!
And Issue 9, with a theme of legends, is open to submissions.
This is the cover for Blood and Dust, my outback vampire novel coming soonish to digital shelves everywhere thanks to Aussie publisher Xoum. I quite like it! (Honestly, the art dept has fkn nailed it, yeah?)
The cat has kind of slipped out of the bag on this one, but it’s nice to be able to share the
horror joy. The story’s more than 10 years and four major iterations in the making, and for those who know — this is the story of Kevin, the vampire. And yes, the Monaro is still there …
You might have also noticed recently another lurvly book cover hitting the interwebs:
Why yes, I have read an unedited version of this novel by Kirstyn McDermott, and yes, it is very good. Coming soonish, too!