I was invited by the marvelous Meghan Arcuri to participate in what is quickly becoming a viral sensation. The Next Big Thing asks authors to answer ten questions about their current works in progress and to tag three to five other authors who then answer the same questions and so on. It’s an absolute honor to take part in this and to be even considered a “thing” let alone a “Next Big Thing” is almost beyond comprehension. Before I begin, if you haven’t read Meghan’s piece “Inevitable” in Chiral Mad, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. You can grab your copy here. All proceeds go to Down Syndrome and other contributors include Michael Bailey (who also edited the anthology), Jack Ketchum, Pat R. Steiner (who you’ll notice is tagged below), and yours truly to name just a few.
Now onto the questions.
1. What is the working title of your next book?
The working title is “House Story” and I’m hoping a more clever title comes to mind in subsequent drafts.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s been floating around in my head for years now, refusing to go away. My father was a painter and he used to say that you didn’t choose what you painted but that it was the other way around. I think the same is true of writing. That notion stuck with me and I wondered what would happen if something not so nice chose what you painted. And what if that something became more powerful when you painted it?
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Horror. Plain and simple.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
If anyone’s seen the film adaptation of Jack Ketchum’s The Lost then you’ll remember Marc Senter’s wonderfully psychopathic portrayal of Ray Pye. I’d have him play the part of my character Donnie. He’s a guy that’s done some pretty horrible things but is in some ways (I hope) still just a bit likeable. The part of Michelle would be played by Angela Bettis. She’s great at seeming naïve but then reaching for the jugular. I think she’d embody exactly what I imagined for this character. For the part of Will, the skeptical yet haunted paranormal investigator, I’d go with Mark Ruffalo, mainly because that guy can do just about anything. Finally, for the character of Liz, I’d go with Aleksa Palladino. I’ve been a fan ever since I saw her on Boardwalk Empire and I think she would fit the role perfectly. And just for fun, let’s throw in Daniel Day Lewis. Don’t make me explain this last one, people.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A successful small town painter buys a house, begins seeing a strange woman, begins painting said woman, begins to develop irrational fear of the outside world, and has three children who come together later in life to face said woman before she consumes all of them.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Can I cop out and say it’s too soon to tell?
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
You mean how long will it take to write? I’m about halfway through the first draft as we speak. I’m guessing another three months at most, barring a complete mental breakdown, the apocalypse, and/or sightings of a strange woman don’t get in the way.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think Jack Ketchum’s She Wakes, Richard Matheson’s Hell House, and Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives would be kind-of-sort-of accurate.
9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I guess the fact that the idea would not get out of my head no matter how hard I tried to surgically remove it. Not to mention there are so many great writers out there right now that it’s hard not to be inspired.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I suppose if you enjoy dysfunctional families and strange creatures (and they go so well together, don’t they?), then this might be right up your alley.
Well, that’s it. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read my answers and/or my work, and thanks also to Meghan Arcuri who tagged me in her Next Big Thing post.
As for my choices…
I had the pleasure to appear in Chiral Mad alongside Pat R. Steiner. His story “The Shoe Tree” is both haunting and unexpected. If you haven’t read any of his work, I highly recommend you stop what you’re doing (but at least wait until you’re finished reading this post) and seek all of it out.
I recently finished Jonathan Janz’s House of Skin. Or rather it finished me. This book will not let go of you once you’ve started reading. Jonathan achieves something that I think is quite difficult. He manages to be gothic and atmospheric while using crisp and trim prose. If I were answering these questions for a future work, I probably would’ve mentioned Jonathan as an inspiration behind said work. Please pick up everything this man has ever written at all costs.
Jeremy C. Shipp is…well, he’s more or less indescribable. Often shocking and always surprising, his work runs the gamut of horror and bizarro. I’ve been a longtime fan of his fiction and you can be sure his works are on my list this holiday season. If you haven’t checked him out, do so immediately. Just be prepared for anything, including attic clowns. Seriously.
My short story “The Boss”, which originally appeared in the October issue of The Horror Zine, also appears in the Fall/Winter print version of the magazine. There’s some great contributors in there, and take a look at that cover! Jeani Rector always does a great job with layouts and this issue looks to be great. If you’re interested, you can grab a copy here.