The Next Big Thing

Zena Shapter,, has kindly tagged me for the Next Big Thing chain blog that’s going around at the moment. Thanks, Zena. Helen Lowe also asked me, and thanks to Helen too – Here are my answers.

What is the working title of your next book?
It’s Rebellion, Book 2 of The Tainted Realm trilogy.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I don’t remember, precisely, but I’ve long wanted to write a series about a nation that was tainted by the way its founders seized power many years ago. A nation that suffers from collective guilt to this day. That was the germ that created Hightspall, the remote island brutally seized from the Cythians two thousand years ago.

Cythe’s history, art and culture were erased and its clever native people were reduced to despicable degradoes, on the verge of extinction when, without warning, they vanished.

For fifteen hundred years they have lived underground in Cython, served by their Pale slaves, the descendants of noble Hightspaller children once given as hostages to Cython but never ransomed. For all this time, the Cythonians’ lives have been shaped by the alchymical books called the Solaces, sorcerously bestowed upon them by an unknown benefactor.

Now Hightspall is struggling under the weight of one natural disaster after another; its people feel that the very land is rising up against them. Then the last of the Solaces appears in Cython, the iron book called The Consolation of Vengeance, and the Cythonians know that it is time to take back their land.

Only one person can prevent Hightspall from running with blood – a Pale slave called Tali who has just come of age. But Tali’s four female ancestors were killed in the same brutal way and she knows she’s next to die. To survive, and gain the justice she so desperately craves, she must escape Cython, though no slave ever has.

And now the creator of the Solaces is hunting her.

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s epic fantasy through and through.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I have no idea, I’m afraid. I don’t watch many movies and I’m bad at remembering actor’s names.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When an escaped slave (Tali) discovers that her people face genocide she must confront her darkest fear, a return to slavery, before she can hope to save them.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’s published worldwide by Orbit Books, the SF and fantasy imprint of Hachette.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
22 days for 166 K words. I like to write first drafts at high speed, working long hours each day. But I had planned it in exhaustive detail beforehand. And I then spend quite a few months in redrafting.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Comparisons are invidious, and I’ll leave it to other people to make them. Instead, I’ll list some authors I’ve enjoyed recently, though I try not to be influenced by anyone; and to eliminate outside influences when I notice them.

I’ve enjoyed the works of Tad Williams, particularly the Dragonbone Chair series. And Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion series. And recently, I’ve loved CJ Sansom’s first two books in his Shardlake series, about a hunchbacked lawyer detective in the time of Henry the Eighth.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My biggest inspiration for writing is my fans, who start asking for the next book within a day of each new title being published.

Rebellion-TPFNL medWhat else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Tali’s counterpart is Rix, and this sums up his story: When a dishonoured nobleman realises that his country faces annihilation, he must find redemption before he can hope to lead the defence of his people.

And there are two antagonists, Lyf and Axil Grandys:

Lyf: In the bloodiest of wars, a resurrected sorcerer-king is forced to choose between victory for his betrayed people and the fate of his beloved land.

Grandys: A legendary hero obsessed by war and winning must learn to accept defeat before he can deliver his persecuted people to their Promised Realm.

Next week, December 19, authors I’m tagging include:

Mary-Lou Stephens,

Clair Corbett:
Happy reading.

2 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing”

  1. I love all CJ Sansoms books ! I wonder, once the short stories and then the Tales from the Children of the Mirror, have been written do you have any other ‘irons in the fire’. Does an idea for a book just pop into your head or slowing evolve. You’ll probs say it depends, lol. Anyway keep up the great writing.

  2. To be honest, Sue, ideas for books rarely pop into my head out of nowhere, as they do for other writers. The way it usually works is, I want to write a new book, so i sit down and list ideas, one after another, until I come up with something i can work with. At the moment I don’t have any other irons in the fire I’m serious about. Since I’m pretty much booked up 4 years ahead, I’m just concentrating on those stories. But should a brilliant idea occur to me, I’ll try to find the time to follow it.

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