Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I've been graciously tapped by the masterful crime novelist Wallace Stroby to participate in this week's segment of The Next Big Thing blog hop, a string of short interviews with various authors about their current book or work-in-progress.

I'm hardly alone.  Taking part also this week are three superb authors. There's suspense writer Alison Gaylin, Australian novelist Andrew Nette and Philadelphia's Dennis Tafoya.

Their interviews are now on their respective blogs (and I certainly intend to read each one myself).
Here's mine:
1) What’s the title or working title of your new/next book?

SPIDERS AND FLIES, published just a few weeks ago by Harvard Square Editions.  It's a story about a kidnapping that takes place in Martinique.
2) Where did the idea for the book come from?

Awhile back I lived in Martinique for a couple of years. It's a lovely place of course, and I just saw that Caribbean beauty as a great setting for a crime story mingling beauty and terror.

3) What genre is your book?

Crime, noir, with a dash of psychological horror.

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

For Paul Raven, who hatches the novel's kidnapping plot, I could see Anthony Mackie.  He's a little older than the character in the book, but he would work.  I liked his quiet menace in Half Nelson and the way he played a cerebral, deliberate demolition expert in The Hurt Locker.  As Raven, he should have both menace and an introspective side.

For Caroline Bishop, the mother of the kidnap target, I definitely can picture Tilda Swinton. She can embody just about anything on screen and brings an almost uncanny intensity and precision to every role she plays, whether maternal in The Deep End, passionate in I Am Love, or ferocious in Julia.  Caroline Bishop has a number of conflicting traits in this story (though the maternal trait, actually, is not one of them) and Swinton could carry them all off.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A fugitive's plan to kidnap  and ransom an expat  American woman on  Martinique goes horribly wrong.

6) Is/will your book be self-published or traditionally published?

It's traditionally published, though Harvard Square Editions is a small press publisher.

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

I write slowly, backtracking and revising as I go along.  I have to get things a certain way in the story before I can continue on from whatever point.  Besides that, I had a steady job when I wrote the book.  From start to finish, about 2  years to write.

8) What other books within the genre would you compare this story to?
I guess I'd compare it to two books that aren't genre books per se but that are two of the most unnerving and compelling reads I've come across - THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS by Ian McEwan and UP ABOVE THE WORLD by Paul Bowles.
Both are macabre and Gothic and both are about couples abroad in exotic landscapes who encounter serious trouble from people who live in the place they're visiting.  Big trouble occurring in so-called paradise.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

All the crime fiction I've read over the years. There's so much, but especially the stories centered around amoral sort of souls -- Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith, Ruth Rendell. And the Caribbean lit I was reading while in Martinique, people like Jean Rhys, an amazing writer.  Not a crime writer, but as dark as they come.  Like a lot of the best Caribbean writers, she gets past the tropical beauty to something sinister and even violent lurking beneath. 

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

It lays out clearly how to make a ti punch, a simple but delicious rum drink that's a favorite in Martinique. I drank them often enough there.  Still do. But they're best with Martinican rum, which blows away the rum from pretty much all the other islands, and it's very hard to find Martinican rum in the US.

And now, I feint right and run left and tag Jason StarrHis world of enjoyably twisted and darkly funny crime fiction needs no introduction. He'll join the blog fest next week and present his contribution on his blog.


1 comment:

  1. Nice answers and an interesting sounding book.
    Andrew Nette