I normally eschew stuff like this, but a few other folks I know and respect have been doing it — a ten-question self-survey where you talk about your Next Big (Literary) Thing and then tag other folks to follow suit. Thinking I could answer a few common questions about my own project in the offing, I've now done the NBT thang for your reading pleasure:
1. What is the working title of your next book?
Flight of the Vajra — actually, that's the title. I went through some thirty-odd titles before settling on that one, so perhaps we could say that is the working title because it's the only title I came up with that worked.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
The various elements in the book — the far-future materials technology, the pontiff of a universe-spanning religion, the noirish protagonist — all existed as separate elements that were originally to be inserted into different stories. Over time they drifted together and started living under the same roof, so to speak. Before I knew it, it was hard to think of them as having ever been separate things.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Most likely "space opera", a term I don't mind using even when it only seems to cover part of the territory.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I could write a whole post about this alone, but the main character, Henré Sim, could be played by the Jeff Bridges of the 1980s (plus dreadlocks). Even there, he maps more to Bridges's attitude and swagger than his actual look.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A starship designer, an expert in exotic-materials technology, is coaxed out of self-imposed exile to work (along with a motley crew of others) as the right hand to a spiritual leader who is planning to enact a schism in the belief system she represents ... and becomes embroiled in a search for a one-man army who might well have been responsible for the death of his family.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published, but I don't rule out other possibilities for the future.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Approximately one year, late 2011 to late 2012. The actual research and preliminary run-up to the writing of it took a lot longer than that, but it was roughly a calendar year from Chapter One (actually, Chapter Zero) to The End.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A list of my indirect inspirations for the book might help:
- The Omega Point Trilogy, George Zebrowski
- Dune, Frank Herbert
- The Foundation trilogy, Isaac Asimov
- Nova, Samuel R. Delaney
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I'd been uniformly disappointed by the state of SF in the last several years, where everything that seemed wondrous and thoughtful had been traded out for brainless saber-rattling or compulsive bleakness. I'd been similarly peeved with fantasy, and the result of my being peeved had been Summerworld; so why not try the same thing with SF and see what came of it?
10. What else about the book might pique the readers’ interest?
I'll stick with a quote I found that helped kick the whole thing off: "Nature likes those who surrender to her but she loves those who do not," originally spoken by Turid Aarstad and quoted by George Russell in his liner notes to Electronic Sonata For Souls Loved By Nature.
Those who want to add links to their own Next Big Thing post in the comments are welcome to do so. All I ask is for a link back to here in your own post.