Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a 'blog hop' a sort of chain letter where one author tags another and so on. I have been tagged by the wonderfully inventive author Joan Szechtman who has written a series of novels about Richard III set in the present day - the King is whizzed forward in time during the last seconds of his life. Many of you will already be aware of Joan's work - which I thoroughly recommend - but anyone who is not can catch up with her on her website or her Blog.

Now, as part of this experiment, I have to answer some questions:

What is the working title of your next book?

Alianore Audley and the Holy Grail. Sometimes I vary this by referring to it as Alianore II, but it's the same work.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

From the workings of an insane brain. Seriously, I realised that although in theory The Adventures of Alianore Audley covered all my character's active life, there were within it many blank years. What clever people call lacunae. I've already published one short story in the Ricardian Bulletin that was set in one of these 'gaps'. So it wasn't a massive step to find another, longer period that could be filled. That year looks like being 1479, though it isn't quite definite yet. I might bring it forward a year, depending on how the plot works (or doesn't). Snag with shifting years though is then you have to go back and check everything all over again! Was the Abbot of Bogland Abbey still the same guy, and so on. You see, I do really try to get things right, even though in a light-hearted work like this I could take a more relaxed attitude. But then I wouldn't be me. I'd be someone else, and probably a lot richer and better-known. I might even go about presenting myself as an historian!

What genre does your book fall under?

Demented Historical Fiction. Humour. Fantasy. Parody. All of the above. Actually, it is probably more accurate than some Historical Fiction that has been published lately.

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

If anyone wants to make a movie and send me a large cheque they can cast whom they like! Difficult question. I think Celia Imrie would make a brilliant, older Alianore looking back over her life. I can't really think of anyone to play the younger Alianore - Honeysuckle Weeks perhaps, as she could certainly do the upper class Englishwoman bit. I imagine Roger Beauchamp as a bit like Richard Armitage to look at. But this casting game is too tough for me; I'd prefer to leave it to the experts, because I think casting Alianore would end up as a bit like the search for Scarlett O'Hara.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A crazy romp through the back corridors of Yorkist England - and Wales.

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

Almost certainly self-published. I am however open to offers and large cheques. I believe in the saying 'never say never.'

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

Wrong tense - I'm still writing it. Simple answer - too long. It suffers from my unique combination of obsession with historical accuracy (as to details) and acute literary laziness. I hope to get it finished by Summer 2013. God willing.

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

I wouldn't, except The Adventures of Alianore Audley. Or maybe The Daisy and the Bear by Karen Clark. (Which by the way, I highly recommend if you enjoy a laugh about the era.) Karen and I seem to be the only people who have attempted humour set around the Wars of the Roses.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

One or two people who suggested that I might still be able to wring some more out of Alianore. Alianore herself, to a point. She is great fun to work with!

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

To be honest, I doubt anyone will want to read it unless they are already fairly keen on the Yorkist era. It will help them 'get' the jokes. However, perhaps this book will be seen as a bit more off the beaten track than Alianore's orginal adventure. There will certainly be surprises!

The following authors have kindly agreed to participate in the Next Big Thing. Their posts should be up on the 19th December and I hope you will visit them and enjoy what they have to say. They have one thing in common - they are excellent writers whose works I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Barbara Gaskell Denvil  Barbara is a relatively recent recruit to the circle of authors who write novels about the 15th Century. She is a wonderfully inventive and original writer whose works will delight anyone interested in this era. Humour mixes with dark moments in her stories and her descriptions are to die for! When reading her work I have at times been reminded of Juliet Merkle Riley and at others Dorothy Dunnett. 'Nuff said!

Susan Higginbotham Susan is now a very well-established and highly-regarded novelist with a number of works covering the period from the early 14th Century to the 16th Century. My only grumble about her 15th Century work is that she tends to favour the Lancastrian perspective, but that does make a refreshing change from those authors who seem to want to canonise Richard III. And I forgive her much for writing positively about the Despensers! As with Elizabeth Chadwick and Sharon K. Penman, with whom she can reasonably be compared, you may be sure that anything Susan writes has been thoroughly researched. She also has an excellent website.


  1. Thanks for tagging me, Brian (and for your lovely comparison)! Looking forward to your next book!

  2. I look forward to the new Alianore (the sequel). And I adore Celia Imre in the part when you get the 6 figure movie deal... Writing must be simply a labour of love, though, at least in this life.