The Next Big Thing

Last week Carole Matthews tagged me on her blog, as part of a chain of book and author recommendations called THE NEXT BIG THING. Today it's my turn to reciprocate and to pass on the torch. I'm going to answer a bunch of questions below about my new novel, BRENDA AND EFFIE FOREVER! which is available right now in hardback and paperback from Snowbooks. Then I'm going to tag five more writers who will tell you about their new books next Wednesday.

• What is the working title of your next book?

It’s out and published! And it went through many working titles before it eventually became, ‘Brenda and Effie Forever!’

• Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is the sixth in a series of novels, and this one in particular was all about drawing the threads of the series together at last – answering some questions about the main characters’ pasts and giving some closure to a few major plot threads. I knew I definitely wanted to involve the Bronte sisters in a Wartime flashback, the Hunchback of Notre Dame during a Parisian interlude and a frightening adventure with many tiny, ghostly mermaids.

• What genre does your book fall under?

The Brenda and Effie novels are what I call Comic Gothic Mysteries.

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

This changes all the time, and readers have brilliant suggestions for who should play Brenda and Effie. At the moment I’m picturing Victoria Wood and Julie Walters. Another day I might say Elsa Lanchester and Bette Davis. Or Patricia Routledge and Annette Crosbie.

• What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Hoping for a quiet retirement running a B&B in Whitby, the Bride of Frankenstein and her shrewish best friend Effie wind up embarking upon a series of spooky investigations.

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

The first five are published by Headline and ‘Brenda and Effie Forever!’ has been published by the lovely Snowbooks.

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

Six months.

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

The Brenda and Effie Mysteries have been compared with other comic novels that blend genres – by people like Jasper Fforde, Mark Gatiss, Terry Pratchett, and Malcolm Pryce. But to me, they genre they belong to is comic cosy mystery and paranormal romance.

• Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For me it’s always about the characters. I want to find out where they’re going and what they’re going to get up to next. This has taken me into some very peculiar places.

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

It’s a book about origins and destinies. Even though it’s the sixth about these characters, I’ve made it a stepping-on point for the series. We get to find out more than we knew before about both our heroines’ beginnings, and we get to learn what happens to them right at the end. It’s a book filled with spooky secrets.

 And here are the five authors I'd like to introduce, and who you can follow next Wednesday, when they answer the same questions...

George Mann - author of the spooky and exciting 'Newbury and Hobbes' Steampunk novels.

Lesley Cookman - the Queen of the British Cosy Mystery! Her Libby Sarjeant series is great fun.

Roy Gill - His Edinburgh-set werewolf novel, 'The Daemon Parallel' is magical.

Stewart Sheargold - has just published his first collection of stories. He writes luscious magical realism.

Mark Morris - has written many horror and dark fantasy novels and stories, as well as tie-ins to Doctor Who, Torchwood and Hammer films.


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