In which I post about The Next Big Thing and am both a day early and a day late

Hello. Apologies for being a day late in blogging. Yesterday just sort of got away from me a bit. Apologies also for being a day early – today I’m a blogging in response to Nikki Goodman‘s Next Big Thing post, which I’m really supposed to post on Wednesday. But I figured that if I was both a day early and a day late, that would average to being precisely and perfectly on time.

So the idea of The Next Big Thing is that we blog about our writerly works in progress. Now I don’t normally blog about writing, because repeated blogposts about how today I mainly sat on my bottom and peered at a screen aren’t desperately interesting. I also don’t usually do chain blogposts, but Nikki asked so nicely, and provided questions to answer, thus minimizing the thinking involved. How could I refuse?

So here are some answers to questions about my current novel-in-progress.


Q. What is the working title of your next book?

Ghost Stories. And it always has been. Normally I’m terrible at titles and the drift and evolve over time, but this one dropped into my head fully formed, and I can’t imagine it changing.

Q. From where did the idea come?

From the main character – I was taken with the idea of a protagonist who is a stage medium, but my first attempt to write her as a young funny chick lit heroine didn’t work. I’d given that character a mother who was an old-time stage performer, and eventually (I’m not always the sharpest tool in the box) it dawned on me that the mum was much more interesting than the daughter and should be the main character. The rest flowed from there.


Q. Under which genre does your book fall?

This one (which is my second novel) is quite literary, which was a bit unexpected. My first novel is a rom-com.

Q: Which actors would you choose to play the part of your characters for a movie?

My main characters are Pat, who’s the medium, and Louise, a mum whose teenage son has been stabbed. Pat’s in her 60s by the time most of the action takes place. There are loads of fantastic British actresses who could play her. Maybe Pauline Collins – she has a mixture of warmth and grit that would work really well.

Pat also appears as a teenager. I don’t know who could play the young Pat – I’d probably go for someone new and completely unfamiliar.

In my imagination Louise just is Anne-Marie Duff, so that’s an easy one.

Q. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

It’s about a mother of a murdered son and a woman who says she can talk to the dead.

Q. Will you self-publish or be represented by an agent?

Too soon to say. Ideally traditionally published with an agent. I’ve talked about why I’m not mad keen on self-publishing at the moment here, but never say never.


Q. How long did it take to write the first draft?

I’ll tell you when I’ve written it. For my first novel the first draft took a neat 8 weeks, writing 2000 words a day 5 days a week. This one’s going much much slower, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m hoping it’ll make for a slightly less crappy first draft than I managed last time.

Q: With which books within your genre would your story compare?

I hope it’s unique, but structurally it definitely owes something to Margaret Attwood – I love inventive narrative structure. There’s also a hint of Kate Morton about it. I do like a bit of a timeslip.

Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’m not sure. I’m not a great fan of doing x-factor type emotional dedications. I’m not writing it for my dead kitten or wonderous great aunt. I’m writing it because I’m a writer, who wants to be a published writer, so writing books is kind of what I do.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well it’s going to be bloody marvellous  obviously. And there’s a  rock band in it and a deceased Pekingese and a Somme veteran called Stanley (also deceased). What more could you want?

As always, please do commenting and following/subscribing if you feel so led. Bye-bye.

Author: Alison May

Writer. Creative writing teacher. Freelance trainer in the voluntary sector. Anything to avoid getting a real job... Aiming to have one of the most eclectic blogs around, because being interested in just one thing suggests a serious breakdown in curiousity.

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