The Next Big Thing

Fellow Melbourne-based author and all around good guy Jason Franks tagged me in his instalment in the author love chain The Next Big Thing. Basically The Next Big Thing is a chain of author recommendations where an author answers a series of questions on their blog and then tags more authors who do the same and so on it goes giving you an endless chain of wonderful new authors to discover and learn about their works in progress.  

So here goes for my answers:

1) What is the working title of your book?

The title of my current novel is 'A Town Called Dust.'

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

'A Town Called Dust' is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction fantasy story for young adults. The idea for the story started out while I was working as a teacher. I had a wish to write a story that would draw in young readers and I wanted to set it against the amazing landscape that is the Australian Outback. As is usually the case the idea germinated as a number of smaller ideas which collided together in my head, post-apocalyptic outback Australia, dirt-farming and the name Squid.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

As I mentioned above 'A Town Called Dust' is a post-apocalyptic Young Adult novel.

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

That's a tough question because I try carefully to avoid doing precisely that sort of thing when I write. I describe my characters, but only aspects of them that are important for characterisation. I'd like the reader to imagine them of their own accord. Also, given that no one outside a few people have actually read this book yet this isn't going to mean a lot to you but if you were forcing me to answer under pain and torture I would say:

Squid - The young dirt-farming boy who finds himself well and truly out of his comfort zone when he is dragged into civilisations fight for survival against the ghouls would be played by Max Records who played Max in Where the Wild Things Are.

Lynn - The feisty female lead who joins Squid in this adventure when she finds herself on the run from a dangerous enemy would be played by Chloe Moretz who played Hitgirl in Kick-Ass. 

Lieutenant Argus Walter - The mentor figure to the two younger main characters would be played by Chris Hemsworth. Thor himself could nail the Aussie accent needed for the gig.

Melbourne - Lynn's older brother and promising member of the elite soldiers tasked with protecting what's left of mankind from the ghouls would probably be played by, as much as it pains me to say, Robert Pattinson (think more Cedric Diggory and less sparkling loser). Hey, at least that guarantees a fan base right?

The Administrator - The tyrannical head of the Territory government would be played by Jeff Bridges.

High Priestess Patricia - Head of the oppressive church and just as cunning as The Administrator would be played by Helen Mirren.

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


Squid doesn't think life can get worse than growing up on his Uncle's dirt farm in the sunburnt Central Territory but when he is recruited
to fight against an army of soulless creatures that can kill with a single bite
he soon realises it can.

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

The book will be represented by my wonderful agent.

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

The first draft took me around 12 months.

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

I guess it would draw comparisons to books like The Hunger Games, The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Enemy and various other post-apocalyptic YA novels with a good dash of zombie, but that said, it differs from all these books and I hope the outback setting and the world I've built mean it will stand apart while still retaining what is great about the genre.

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

As I said I wrote this book while working as a teacher and so I think I was inspired by the students I taught and wanting to give them a great book to read set in their own country.

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

For me, this book is very much about the setting and the atmosphere that creates, there's some good twists and turns, plus the ghouls are a good twist on the zombie/vampire enemy and who doesn't love a good underdog story and basically the whole world's the underdog.

Alright so that's it for the questions and that means it's my turn to tag in some new authors. Introducing: Chris Andrews, Ben Hourigan and Carmen Tudor.