And so the Blog Tour participation falls to me and what an honour it is. When I was younger I used to fantasise about being interviewed and here I am being interviewed. Okay, I used to fantasise that I was getting interviews by Parkinson or Terry Wogan and this was in the eighties. Getting interviewed like this, at least you have control over that you say as apposed to a like situation where you could accidently say ‘bum’ on live TV or fu…listen, shall I just stop waffling and get on with this? Okay, I will.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
It is Highcross. Highcross being the name of the English village where the story is set.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is a long one. I originally had the idea when I was 15 (I’m now 42) and I actually wrote the whole thing and got my mum to type it out. I was inspired by a song called ‘The Tempter’ by a band called Trouble. In the original story this dead vicar comes back to life and tempts people to do bad things then they fall under his spell. This idea isn’t new. I was inspired by the children’s story ‘The Ugsome Thing’. However I called my story ‘The Church on Highcross Hill’. 26 years later I still thought it was a strong idea so revived it and the Tempter became a glamorous woman.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Definitely horror. The start of it begins like an MR James ghost story but it builds up to, and climaxes in, hellish depravity.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, the hero is a religious property developer of Jamaican decent. Reggie Yates, the radio 1 DJ has acted in Doctor who so maybe him but he’s a bit too young. Noel Clarke? Another character is a woman who is out of prison and serving her sentence on a tag. Lisa from ‘Trollied’ would play her. The villain of the piece is Lady Grey. Beautiful but utterly evil. Helena-bonham carter springs to mind. However, there is a mature ex-page three model called Linda Lee who is Lady Grey. Does she act? Is so, does she want a job?
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Left abandoned for sixty years, Highcross is renovated into a luxury village by property developers. Highcross may have been abandoned but it it’s not uninhabited.
(Alright, that’s two sentences)
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Nothing is guaranteed. I will try for an agent but I am ultimately looking to self publish it. I think my idea is strong enough to sell.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m still writing the first draft but I began in August and aim to finish in March (2013). I work full time and write in the evenings and weekends. A hundred thousand words usually take me nine months to write.
Other books I would compare it to would be Salem’s Lot by Stephen king. There are no vampires in Highcross but there are a lot of characters. I was very inspired by The league of Gentlemen and Psychoville. Again, like these works Highcross, has a lot of characters all connected by an event or place.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
For a start I was bored with writing about goodies verses baddies. I wanted to write about individuals challenged by an unusual situation. I never get over quite how weird people are. (I include myself in this). I work in healthcare and see people’s lives up close and get to study individual and family dynamics. For instance one old lady kept parrots as pets. When they died she kept them in a freezer and got them out once a year at Christmas. Another lady lived with her son who resented her for sending his girlfriend away when she was young. I wanted to write about these characters and what would happen to them if they were given their heart’s desire in exchange for their souls. So, the weirdness of people, really.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It is set in a village that was taken over by the army in World War 2 and then abandoned much like the real villages of Imber in Wiltshire and Stanford in Norfolk. When property developer Mark Grange buys the Land from the MOD he finds the village in remarkably good condition but the village church appears to have been vandalised back in the 40’s There are bullet holes in the walls and hanging from the rafters, above the altar, is a hangman’s noose. As the houses are renovated and residents move in strange unexplained events occour, such a hauntings, strange footprints in the dust one such house that was not renovated and has laid untouched for sixty years. When Lady Grey, the resident of Highcross House, appears she offers the residents their hearts desire in exchange for a promise of their soul. Many residents agree to this, one by one, until Lady Grey has a faithful flock of worshippers. As winter sets in, all hell breaks loose as desires are granted at any cost.
Oh, I’ve just written a synopsis. There’s necrophilia, vampirism and taxidermy of the worst possible kind in Highcross. They houses may be cheap but you really don’t want to live there…
I only found one writer to nominate as everyone else had already done a blog tour. I nominate James Rhodes.