The Next Big Thing!

So what’s all this Next Big Thing chatter in writer’s circles on Twitter? I wasn’t sure until I was tagged not once but twice! The idea, it turns out, is simple. Its a way to discover new writers, and find out a bit about what they’re up to. In return for being tagged I’ve got to answer a few questions – nothing too personal thank goodness! Oh yeah, and I’ve got to tag five other folk as the Next Big Thing!


First, the questions:


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

It’s called Timesmith, and it’s the sequel to Sorrowline, my first book which is due out in January 2013.

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

I’m not entirely sure! I jot down lots of ideas all the time, and this particular one came to me when I was researching my family tree. Sorrowline (and Timesmith) follow 12 year old Jack Morrow as he discovers he can travel through Sorrowlines – channels that connect every gravestone with the date of the person’s death. I think I’d been spending so much time looking at gravestones and death certificates that the idea must have grown from there.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Its a fantasy adventure for children aged 10 and upwards. A large part of the book is set is London during World War II, which acts as a very dramatic backdrop for the story.

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

Tricky! Jack is 12 years old, so I’m not too sure who that would be. The baddy in the book, called Rouland, is easier to conjure up. He’s an immaculately turned out, super-intelligent immortal, who does a nice line in EVIL. Whoever plays him has to not only look the part, but convey someone who feels completely justified in doing the things he does. He’s not a cackling madman, far from it. He knows what he’s doing: he has a plan. When I was writing Sorrowline I went to see Michael Praed in The Sound of Music. I was watching his performance and thinking of Rouland.

But a closer fit is possibly Mark Strong who combines the air of sinister intelligence with charming good looks perfectly. And that voice! Perfect!



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

Join 12 year old Jack Morrow on an epic adventure in war-torn London as he fights to discover the dark secret hidden at the heart of his family and avoid the terrible tides of destiny that lead to his mother’s death. (Say that in one breath if you can!)

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

I’m represented by the amazing Juliet Mushens, and the book is being published by Andersen Press.

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

Sorrowline took me about three months to write the first draft, then three years to edit it into a publishable condition. Timesmith has been slightly different. The first draft took me about a year, on and off, and I’ve just completed the second draft.

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

I think anyone who enjoyed adventure and fantasy will get a kick out of Sorrowline.

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

Everything I’ve ever read! I’m a big fan of comics, and the work of Alan Moore in the 80’s was a major influence. But the biggest inspiration has to be the idea. Once it took hold it was a story I had to tell.

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

Although there are many time travel stories I think the idea of Sorrowlines is quite new. And once Jack finds his way to London in 1940 he starts to discover an entirely hidden world – a secret society that rules our own. Everything he has learned about the world is challenged, and he discovers the truth about his mother’s death. Its a story set in a much bigger world, somewhere I’m desperate to return to in future books.

Done! Not so shabby, eh? Thanks to Mari Hannah and Lou Morgan for tagging me. Now, who shall I pick? Well, I’m honour-bound to pick my buddy, Curtis Jobling, of Werworld infamy. I’ll also pick Kirsty Riddiford who I met at a Society of Authors conference, the naughty Richard Rippon, (do you have a blog, Richard?), Bryony Pearce, who has probably already been tagged, and Carolyn Jess-Cooke, (her book, The Boy who could see Demons, is highly recommended.)

Good luck Big Thingers!


Writer & Artist based in the North East of England.

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