Wednesday 14 November 2012

The Next Big Thing - Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow

Last week, both Steven Savile and Sarah Pinborough tagged me on blog posts of theirs as part of an ongoing chain of book/author recommendations called The Next Big Thing. So today it's my turn to answer the ten questions originated by Paul Magrs, then pass the reins on to five other writers who will be doing the same on their own blogs in a week's time. So, here goes...

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

Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow, my eighth steampunk novel set within that particular universe.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

A combination of things really, as is the case with any book. There's a bit of King Kong in there, but Donkey Kong too, and Van Helsing, as well as the Hunchback of Notre Dame... But the driving force behind the plot for this book was the need to get the hero Ulysses Quicksilver back to Blighty having been away for the best part of three books!

I originally intended to go further, tying up elements that first appeared as far back as book 6, Dark Side, but then I realised I was trying too hard and decided to focus on telling a simpler story well, rather than a more complex one badly.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Mostly definitely Steampunk. That said, anyone who's heard me speak on the subject before will know that I consider Steampunk a flavour as much as a genre, so you could also say that Time's Arrow is a sci-fi-crime-thriller-action-adventure story, with added French people.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm... Tricky...

In my mind, Ulysses Quicksilver looks like Ulysses Quicksilver, and nobody else. That said, I could see someone like Julian Rhind-Tutt or Paul Bettany playing him on the big screen - or at least I could hear one of them playing him.

Maybe a young Sophie Marceau for the part of Cadence Bettencourt, or perhaps Louise Bourgoin.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Arriving at a murder scene, having travelled forward in time from the past, Ulysses Quicksilver is forced to go on the run through Paris, so that he might track down the real killer, clear his name, and save the woman he's loves from a most ill-advised trip to the moon - all befoer a terrorist known only as 'Le Papillon' brings the city to its knees.

(That's quite a long sentence, isn't it?)

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It's published by Abaddon Books, who have published all my other Pax Britannia novels to date.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Now that's a hard one! The book was written in three distinct parts at three distinct times, over the course of about a year. But I suppose in total it took three months to write, which is pretty much how long any novel takes me to write.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

My other Pax Britannia books. ;-)

But seriously, I don't read particularly widely within the Steampunk genre for fear of subconsciously copying someone else's ideas. I've read George Mann's The Affinity Bridge, and Lavie Tidhar's The Bookman, but it's nothing like either of those.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Ulysses Quicksilver and his ongoing adventures, and the fans of the Pax Britannia series who had been so nice about my previous titles.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

As far as I am aware it is the first of its kind. Because it was written and published in three parts, after parts one and two became available, in each case fans were able to go online and vote for how they would like the story to continue. Their choices completely influenced the course of the adventure.

The challenge was making such a story seem like it had been written in one go when it was published in novel form. Of course, the only way to judge if I succeeded with this is to read the book yourself.

So that's me done. I'm now had to tag five other authors to take their turn at answering the questions for The Next Big Thing. As a result, next week you can read about the books coming out from John Craven's ghostwriter Cav Scott, literary mercenary Josh Reynolds, master of monsters C L Werner, World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar, and rising Black Library star Sarah Cawkwell.

1 comment:

Jonathan Green said...


Of the five authors I've tagged, Lavie Tidhar clearly IS The Next Big Thing already and, unfortunately, is too tied up with being a world famous author now to take part next week.