the next big thing

So several people have tagged me in this sort of thing and I’m meant to do it [meant to do it yesterday/a week ago yesterday] as it seems everyone’s doing it. Just about everyone I know has already done this so I won’t be tagging anyone else. Anyrate: selfinterview!

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

To Live

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

The idea came from a thousand different ideas falling into the same idea. I’ve been planning, in a sense, a new world for most of my life. It’s going to be the setting for several novel[la]s and sort of what all of this is for, all the writing: to one day be good enough to create a new world, new lives. And so everything and everyone has fallen into it, from way back when I wanted to be a cartoonist or a videogame designer [when I was, like, ten to fourteen] all the way up to now. It’s built on a mythology that all my other books, the ones that take place in the real or realer world follow.

But, anyway, it was meant to be a quick 20,000 words about a man who accidentally becomes a demon and the little girl who follows him through the world while a war occurs offscreen while an ascetic castrated monk follows them. It ballooned well past 20,000 up nearer to 100,000 words and I think I managed to capture everything I meant to do, even if it took me five times as long to do it.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy. It’s sort of an inverted epic fantasy taking place in a steampunk world. There are dragons and gods and angels and demons and species between human and animal and airships and metallic men and wizards and people of various races and cultures and technologies. It’s about imperialism and war and Death and dying and living and what it means to be human–especially that. To be human.

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

There are essentially three characters that the novel follows and one of them begins at infancy and goes well into old age so I’ll just stick to them.

Sao, who the novel circles around though I wouldn’t really say the novel’s about him. He’s the core in a lot of ways. Anyway, hard to say exactly who should play him. He’d have to be an asian actor and I suppose he’d have to be played by a few actors as we begin at his infancy and move into adulthood. I’d prefer the actors to be Japanese because that’s what his culture is modelled after, so maybe Joe Odagiri as an adult. As a child I would’ve said Yuya Yagira but he’s an adult now, too, so maybe he could play Sao as an adult.

Aya would be played by a few actresses starting in childhood and moving to adolescence and then old age. As a child I’d pick Quvenzhane Wallis and as an old woman I’d choose Toni Morrison and just pretend she’s an actress.

My nameless monk could be played by just about anyone because he needs to be somewhat androgynous, hairless, and pure looking because he never says a single word until. Maybe Cillian Murphy fifteen years ago. I’d have to find some unknown, probably. Maybe that little kid from The Road.

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

In a world where gods still live and dream, To Live is a story about language and love, mythology and morality, and what it means to be human as it follows three people’s journey through a world torn apart by war.

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

Those aren’t really the same things, but it won’t be selfpublished, though I’ve no idea who’ll publish it, though. Hopefully someone cool and somewhere I can be proud.

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

Two weeks.

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

Hm, in a sense you could think of it as George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire told only from perspectives of those without power. Imagine one of those novels narrated by a kitchen maid or a farmer or a vagabond and you’d sort of get a feeling of it. It’s a bit more contemplative, maybe a bit in the vein of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun or Samuel R Delany’s Neveryon. It’s concerned more with simply what happens on the page or even what’s expressed by the characters. It’s a novel about the disenfranchised, I suppose.

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

My whole life. Everything has been leading to me finally diving into this world, as I said above. This is the first novel there, but I’ve several short stories and a novella that also take place there with many more novel[la]s and stories to follow. It’s a world and now we live in it and though the stories aren’t explicitly connected, they all happen across the same globe, in different countries and continents and time periods. It’s been inspired by everything I’ve ever read and watched and listened to. Every videogame I ever played, every novel I’ve fallen in love with, every song I couldn’t get out of my head, every time the world seemed like too much, every time I feared I was too dissimilar, too foreign, too everything I wasn’t meant to be. It’s my whole life and it’s To Live.

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

Dragons fly, gods die, new ones are born, war everywhere, love here and there, sprinkles of happiness in a world where little goes right. It’s a novel about hope, and, because of that, it’s tragic, but hopefully beautiful. It’s the most realised thing I’ve written. It’s what I’m most proud of and it means the world to me. I typed through tears, through nausea, through pain, all selfinduced. I love every word in it and I’m afraid of every space between them.

To me, it’s perfect and I hope one day you’ll see it.

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