The Next Big Thing is Here! (finally)

The Next Big Thing is a many author blog hop, bringing attention to new authors and their works. Having agreed to take part when Johnny Worthen tagged me, I then forgot to post on the date I was meant to. My timekeeping is dreadful in every part of my life, I admit it.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea to write a book came from a walk with my brother’s dog, Boy, along the edge of a quarry. What if there were some bodies in the rock? Autotherapy itself was story-driven. I wanted it to stand out and to be different from other tales, but I needed it to appeal to certain tastes so that it would sell.

Vampires have been popular for years and hit the mainstream in the early 2000s, so I went for that (also I live in quite a creepy town that lends itself to thoughts like that) as a theme. But I didn’t want it to just ‘be vampires’. I wanted to give it the terror of Dark without switching off readers who had more grounded expectations in a thriller. Everything that ever happens has a reason, so I gave (a hopefully believable) one to the vampirism in my story.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a thriller, but I always mention that it has shades of horror (in case someone is of a nervous disposition), though I don’t consider it to be horror. I think it sits in the horror category on Amazon, but it’s foremost a thriller. There’s a ticking clock.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I couldn’t answer this one without help. For the past four years, I haven’t been bombarded daily with images of famous people and their latest appearances or escapades. No TV. It’s my one woman crusade against the rising costs of the TV licence.

The Internet is my only source of information for famous people, so I have only one suggestion so far:

James Purefoy: Jake Campbell; handsome, but somehow blending in.

My characters are clear in my head; their appearance is integral to the way they behave, but I tend to limit their physical description, because I believe it should be up to the reader. I leave a few pointers, but I don’t overdo it.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Murderers can be victims too.

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

My book was published by Rainstorm Press. I was lucky. I only sent my query to two online publishing houses. The first one said nice, helpful things, and the second was Rainstorm Press (who also said nice, helpful things!)

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

About 9 months in total. I kept having 3 month gaps, so it took over three years to complete, but only about 9 months for the first draft. I worked full time, so I had to use the rest of the time on the book. My family, boyfriend and friends needed me to take breaks.

Writing something this size for the first time was like the process of finding the best way across a swollen river with a lot of stepping stones to choose from. A lot of forward and back and sideways and violent wobbles. And fatalities. Some chapters never made it to the other side. Some characters didn’t.

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

I asked an old friend (far better read than me) what she thought. Her reply came back:

“The Silence of the Lambs (forensics, serial killer).
Return of the Native (importance of landscape to the story).
Dracula (just the Whitby bit!)
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (police procedure).
Interview with the Vampire (the little girl).
In Cold Blood (the farm massacre, ‘documentary’ feel).”

Thank you, Charlotte Mottram.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Kirkby Stephen is a creepy little town at night and it gave me some great ideas which work well offset against the beautiful backdrop. I had an overwhelming conviction that I had to write a book now.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

All the major landmarks mentioned in Autotherapy are real but tampered with (I didn’t want to get into trouble and I didn’t know what would get me there, so I changed everything a little bit). Streets are mainly imagined, but with stolen names. The hills play themselves, but under different names, and the featured monuments have been altered in character as well as name. For anyone who knows the area a little, it’s easy to work out where I mean in most cases.  The landscape here in Eden has a presence. As it’s beaten by the wind and rain, it gives off a wild permanence and I tried to convey that throughout Autotherapy.

What is the working title of your next book?

CareWars. But that’s truly a working title.

Check out two more authors who really are the next big thing:

Erin Britt
Susan Dorsey