The Late Next Big Thing

Towards the end of last year a meme flurried through the writing community called The Next Big Thing. The point of it was to allow folks to wax a little about their newest project and, by name checking other writers to take part, share the boost a little. Nice idea, and I enjoyed reading about what people had on the boil.

I was tagged for taking part by a number of people but I was still deep in the edits for the novel at that point and had precisely nothing to talk about, so I declined.

However, time has passed. Developments have…developed. So, if anyone’s interested, here at last is my Next Big Thing.

1) What is the title of your next book?

The Moon King.

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

Partly from the weather- and light-induced mood swings of my home city, Glasgow. Partly a fascination with the concept of cycles and phases. And partly from musings about social engineering.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It’s fantasy, with machines and engineering. So it feels a little like science fiction.

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

Blimey – that’s something I’ve never thought of but I’ll give it a shot to give you an idea of who the three main characters are. Anton’s a no-nonsense engineery type, driven and obsessive: I could see him being played by David Tennant, or a younger John Hannah. Lottie is an outsider artist, she’s a little fey, an at-heart unconventional in the most conventional of societies. I’d want someone with a pretty unique look like Natalie Dormer. And for Mortlock, the has-been cop, a man who had once been hard but had let himself go? I’d want someone who could be charming and bewildered, but show glimpses of inner steel. Maybe, I dunno, I’m thinking the lighter side of Ray Winstone, or…you know what? Porridge-era Ronnie Barker playing it straight.

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

In Glassholm, a city of cycles ruled by the moon and the king who captured it, daily life – phasing from the euphoria of Full to the depression of Darkday – has been predictable for five hundred years, but now the myriad monthly routines of the city are being disrupted, and an engineer, an artist and an ex-policeman become embroiled in the struggle to prevent Glassholm shaking itself apart.

6) When will the book be published?

April 2014.

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

About two years.

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

Man, that’s difficult. I guess in feel there’s a touch of Harrison’s Viriconium and Gray’s Lanark. But really it’s not much like either of them. That’s not much help, is it?

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

The only really inspiration I had to write the book was that I wanted to write a book (this is my first one). The one person who did inspire the name of one of the characters – the Moon King himself, also known as the Lunane – was GSFWC supremo, and learned space writer, Duncan Lunan.

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

Well, there’s all sorts of stuff in there. What can I tell you? There’s luck monkeys and invasions of crabs and secret whispering children. There’s incomprehensible machines and macabre unsolved murders. And there’s surprises too – but you’ll have to read it yourself to find out what they are.


I’m not passing this forward because I think every writer in the universe had a pop at it when the meme was fresh, but here’s a selection of TNB’s from some of the writers who tagged me.

Nina Allan, Ilan Lerman, Jaine Fenn


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