The Next Big Thing Meme

Rhonda Eudaly, one of the Four Redheads of the Apocalypse, did a meme recently on her upcoming book Vagabond. She herself had been tagged by J. Kathleen Cheney, but Rhonda did not get any volunteers to be tagged for a followup. I’m was a little late to the party to get officially tagged, but I figured I would do the meme anyway.

So, here are my answers for the “Next Big Thing” meme. If I could actually tag whomever I wanted, I would tag Nathan Lowell, C.J. Cherryh, Elizabeth Moon, Jack McDevitt, and Jim Butcher.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Ships of My Fathers

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
This one bubbled up out of a number of sources, but the central event was the death of my father seven years ago. Then, quite some time later, I heard a tale about someone discovering all manner of things about their father after his death, including details of some secret life the father had led. From that, I began to wonder how I would have reacted if I discovered that my father had actually been some kind of secret government agent, or a mobster, or an elite assassin for dark powers… and what would I do if they wanted me pick up where my father left off?

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Space Opera, which is basically Science Fiction where we get to have faster-than-light travel and the occasional ray gun. It’s written in the same universe as my first novel “Beneath the Sky”, though it is not a sequel. It’s just another story happening elsewhere in the neighborhood.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is hard for me, because I don’t really follow actors that closely. I’d probably want an older Nathan Fillion as the father, but it’s a very tiny part. It’s just that’s the kind of guy the father was. I think I’d want Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the protagonist, but I’d need him younger than he is now. He’s had that boyish innocence when he was younger, and he’s grown into a tougher figure. As for the rest… wow, too many characters to cast here.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
On the cusp of adulthood, Michael Fletcher finds out that his father Malcom was not what he appeared, and Michael sets out to find out who he really was and what happened to his mother seventeen years ago.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be self-published. I already have feedback from my first set of beta readers, and I’m doing another pass at the edits. It might need one more set of fresh eyes, but I hope to be doing the copy edits by late January and releasing it by March.  (And kudos to Rhonda for pointing out that self-publishing and getting an agent are not the only two options in this business.)

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Two months, and that wasn’t even full-time, since I took off about three weeks in the middle. Of the four novels I’ve written, this one was the fastest as well as the cleanest.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I would like to compare it (and the four that will follow) to the Vatta books by Elizabeth Moon or perhaps some of the Merchanter books by C.J. Cherryh, but I’m still too much of a fan-boy of these two legends to say I’m in their league.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I suppose it would be easiest to say “my father”, but other than having died, he doesn’t have anything in common with the protagonist’s father. Most of the ideas came simple noodling around in my head, but I should say that I “got permission” to do some things from Nathan Lowell’s Solar Clipper series. Most space opera is all dashing captains, exploding ships, and political intrigue. While this book has its fair share of that, I also wanted to include some wrench turning, the kind of boring day to day stuff that would make up most of your life aboard a starship. Nathan Lowell showed me that this boring stuff could actually be pretty interesting, so I went for it.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you read my first book “Beneath the Sky”, you’ll have seen hints of the Confederacy’s darker underbelly with pirates, corrupt politicians, and shadowy figures like Father Chessman. This book (and the four that follow) shows a young man coming to terms with what Father Chessman did to his family and him deciding to go after this powerful figure himself. And if you didn’t read Beneath the Sky… hey, come on, the link is RIGHT THERE! Ahem… I mean, give it a shot, ok?