The Next Big Thing has become an internet meme in writing circles. An author “tags” four or five others, who then answer ten questions about their current work in progress.
My friend and author R.J. Sullivan tagged me for The Next Big Thing a while back. He and I have become writing buddies over the last couple years. He writes dark fiction and paranormal, with his latest release being Haunting Obsession. He’s my “original” Next Big Thing tagger. A few days later, Michael R. Underwood also tagged me. He’s the author of Geekomancy, a pop culture-obsessed book that my main character Crimsonstreak would absolutely cherish. The sequel, Celebromancy, is due out this year.
Since I've been tagged, it's up to me to answer a few questions about my current work in progress.
1) What is the title of your next book/work? I, Crimsonstreak 2…or as I like to call it, II Crimsonstreak: Subtitle Undetermined (but probably involves running or a bad speed pun)
2) Where did the idea come from for the book/work? Um…the first book, I, Crimsonstreak. So to answer this question I have to go back to the first Crimsonstreak book, which was my attempt to play around in the superhero genre. I wanted to write a book about a superhero whose sole superpower was speed while his mother and father both had multiple abilities (flight, super-strength, etc.), which makes the protagonist feel like he has a lot to live up to. At the same time, as a big fan of pop culture, I wanted to include several references to movies, books, and comics.
3) What genre does your book/work fall under? Blast it! I just answered this. [Drew Rosenhaus voice] Next question!
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? For some reason, I keep coming back to Chris Pine for the role of Crimsonstreak, a fast-talking, kind of cocky pop culture junkie. The guy from Arrow could also work since he’s basically a clone of Chris Pine except sociopathic and with stubble.
I would also accept Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Because he's JGL and he's rumored to be in everything.
My favorite character in the book, a sarcastic butler named Mortimer P. Willoughby, would be a pivotal role. I need someone with great comedic chops, the aura of a disciplinarian, and a British accent. Sort of an evil Michael Caine. However, since he’s already played a superhero’s butler, I couldn’t use him. Perhaps someone like Ian Holm or Jim Broadbent would work.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Super-speedster Crimsonstreak finds himself the key pawn in a war between a group of malevolent aliens and mysterious intergalactic space cops, with the fate of not just one Earth…but all of them…on the line.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? No. I’m a small press author…so II Crimsonstreak will come out from Vermont-based Candlemark & Gleam, purveyors of fine fantastika.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? The first draft of this one took about three months. It was not very good.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I always come back to Soon I Will Be Invincible because it’s a first-person superhero novel that deconstructs comic book tropes.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? I hadn’t really considered writing a sequel to I, Crimsonstreak, but after I dug into revisions on the first book and got to know my characters all over again, I decided I liked these people. I had an idea that would raise the stakes from the first book and spill over into a third book.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader¹s interest? The book will have a series of appendices, like the first book. I, Crimsonstreak contains five separate appendices that provide background on the characters through newspaper articles, magazine features, bios, and journal entries. You don’t have to read any of it to understand the main narrative, but I tried to give all my characters a rich sense of history despite the general lunacy and comedic touches found elsewhere. The sequel will also have appendices, though I did reduce the amount of extra material.
As the guidelines for The Next Big Thing dictate, I’ve tagged four other writers.
Witness the awesomeness of:
Justin Robinson - Much like film noir, Justin Robinson was born and raised in Los Angeles. He splits his time between editing comic books, writing prose and wondering what that disgusting smell is. Degrees in Anthropology and History prepared him for unemployment, but an obsession with horror fiction and a laundry list of phobias provided a more attractive option. His most recent release, Mr Blank, is out from Candlemark & Gleam.
You can find out more about him at his website.
Follow him on Twitter: @JustinSRobinson
He blogs every Friday at the Satellite Show.
Jay Faulkner - Jay Faulkner resides in Northern Ireland with his wife, Carole, and their two boys, Mackenzie and Nathaniel. He says that while he is a writer, martial artist, sketcher, and dreamer he's mostly just a husband and father. His work has been published widely, both online and in print anthologies, and was short-listed in the 2010 Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition. He is currently working on his first novel.
Jay founded, and edits, With Painted Words – a creative writing site with inspiration from monthly image prompts, and The WiFiles - an online speculative fiction magazine, published weekly.
He can also be found as a regular co-host on the Following The Nerd radio show. Check out his website for more information.
Find him on Twitter: @thejayfaulkner
Dwain Smith - Dwain Smith is the writer of several autobiographical novels detailing his experiences as a detective that can communicate with inanimate objects, a middle-aged supervillain, and a modern day mythological hero. He lives in the Washington, DC area.
For more information about Dwain and his books, visit his website.
Follow him on Twitter (he’s the one in the banana suit): @dwainsmith
Ben Langdon - Ben is an author of neo-pulp/superhero fiction, including the Small Gods series, which follows the lives of former teenage supervillains. He hails from Portland, Victoria, Australia, and teaches high school English and literature. His favorite heroes-in-training are his three children. Ben has written for The Age newspaper served as editor and publisher for This Mutant Life, a ‘zine for superhero fiction.
Find out more about Ben at his website.
Follow him on Twitter: @LangdonBen
Tony Bird: Tony is an estranged husband, father of four, blogger, ukulele enthusiast and staff sergeant in the United States Air Force. Originally from Indiana, he now lives in Okinawa, Japan with his wife, kids, and a big white cat. In his rare spare moment, he likes to study foreign languages and write fiction.
For more about Tony, check out his website.
You can also follow him on Twitter: @TheRealTonyBird