1) What is the working title of your next book?
Currently, it's just Century of Sand Book 2. I know I need something snappier, but the right words just haven't come to me yet.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
CoS book 2 (and Century of Sand book 1 before it, and book 3 after it) all stemmed from a dream in which I marched through a vast desert to climb a colossal termite at the very centre. Once my team and myself had reached the peak of the tower, I was betrayed and left to die. The image of that tower and the central conflict of my own murder stuck with me long after I woke, and have since led to a trilogy of fantasy novels.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy, but not the high, classical Tolkein-esque fantasy. It's more rough and gritty ala Joe Abercrombie, and written with a sort of road-trip structure that might remind folk of Gene Wolfe.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Forty years ago, I would've said Clint Eastwood would make a good Richard. He'd be a bit old for the role now, but Dominic West would do a great job as well. Richard's daughter, Ana... well, who else but Hailee Steinfeld?
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Richard escapes his psychotic master and escapes into a desert with his mute daughter by his side, hoping to find a legendary demon to save both their lives.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
As with my first novel, CoS2 will be self published. I wouldn't be averse to a paper deal, though...
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first draft took about four months, but the rewrite has been a year-long job and it's still not ready. I generally pump out first drafts fast and then agonise over edits for years.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
In terms of theme and structure, Century of Sand is most easily compared to the Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. There's also a bit of Blood Meridian in there as well. Not to say it's comparable in terms of writing talent - I wouldn't be tooting my own horn that much - but the idea of the long journey for personal gain as opposed to a grand quest to save the world is very much inherent in Century of Sand. It's about guilt and loss, not heroics.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Besides the dream I recounted earlier, I was pushed to turn this into a novel by a fellow writer. I'd adapted the first segment of that dream into a short story, and he was the one who loved the story the most and held me at emotional gunpoint until I had a plan to expand it into a novel, which then expanded into two novels, and then three...
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
If you love adventure fantasy but are tired of elves and dragons, this is the book for you. If you're sick of farmboys and prophecies and want relatable, fallible, human protagonists - namely, a man turned hollow by war and emotional manipulation, and a psychologically damaged daughter who's never seen her father's face before the story opens - then this is the book for you. If you love nail-biting battles where nobody is a super-soldier and survival is a matter of wits, endurance and a little bit of luck, then this is the book for you.
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Now, I'd like to see Merrilee, Tama and J.C. Hart take up the challenge!