I’m honoured to have been tagged by Vanessa Wu as one of the authors she’s passed the ‘next big thing’ torch to. If you haven’t come across it, it’s a Twitter-based chain on the #WW hashtag (Writer Wednesday, or Worth Watching) that involves answering 10 questions about what you’re writing. The answers are below.
1) What is the working title of your current/next book? Vodou Intent. It’s the second of a three-part novella series. The first part, Ridden, is already out in Kindle edition with Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
2) Where did you get the idea for that book? Vodou as a religion came onto my radar over a decade ago when I visited New Orleans. I read more about it, on and off, because in other connections I’ve been involved in studying the ‘desecuralisation thesis’, a sociological argument that one aspect of the postmodern world is a return to religion but at the same time a preference for, if I can put it this way, non-traditional religions. And I’ve also become more aware of the vodou diaspora, with at least some followers now in almost every major city in the world.
Vodou is a syncretic religion, created from elements of Catholicism and older, mainly West African, religions. This book, though, has a kind of vodou-meets-paganism theme, and rests on the view of many pagans that ritual is only important insofar as it enacts and amplifies intent. If you want to do something, any ritual is no more than – but also no less than – a way of focusing on that aim.
The book came about because Xcite wanted me to write a trilogy of novellas on a paranormal theme. As I’ve mentioned, the first one, Ridden, is already out. The last one, Vodou Fetish, will be published sometime next year.
3) What’s the genre of the book? Erotica, with a strong BDSM theme and a lot of paranormal. I like it that my key character isn’t wholly comfortable with the idea of the paranormal, though.
4) If you could pick actors to play the lead characters in your story, who would you pick? I’m crap at this, I probably don’t watch enough films. And it would almost certainly be low-budget anyway! I’d recommend giving the opportunity to relative unknowns who could start their career with it…
5) How would you describe your book in one sentence (10 words or less)? Sex and BDSM can make a ritual for higher goals.
6)(a) How will your book be published, submitted through the traditional route to a traditional publisher or will you be handling it yourself through Indie Publishing methods? (b) If you’re an Indie Author, will you be publishing through your own Indie Publishing company or in a collective with other Indie Authors? It will be with Xcite, as an ebook. They’ve already commissioned the cover. I just have to finish writing it…
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book? Compared with many writers, I’m slow – probably around 1,000 words a day. And I’ve had a bunch of other stuff to deal with that’s meant time away from it. On the plus side, I usually ignore the advice to get a first draft finished and then go back to revise. I do a lot of editing as I go, so often my writing day starts with rewriting the previous day’s work before writing the 1,000 words I know I’m likely to revise tomorrow. So there’s no distinct ‘first draft’ and by the time I write the last word, all the previous words have usually been edited several times over.
8) What other books within your genre are similar to yours? To be honest, I don’t know. I’ve read a bunch of vodou-inspired fiction but it wasn’t erotic fiction. I’ve read a lot of erotica but nothing quite like this. Probably the nearest in terms of the overall ethos and feel, but with a pagan rather than a vodou element, is by my partner Velvet Tripp. Check out her novella A Woman Possessed.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? There are so many answers to that. But I liked the idea of exploring how someone who’s an atheist understands and copes with the experience of the paranormal. Because, frankly, I count myself as atheist, but many of my friends are pagan and I’ve seen and experienced some pretty weird and inexplicable stuff over the years. That’s more or less the position my protagonist is in.
10) What about your book will pique the reader’s interest? The scene with the anvwar mo – essentially the vodou version of an exorcism.
There’s a final question:
11) Do you know any other fab authors who might like to tell the world about about their next big thing? A few, all excellent for different reasons:
- Sharazade – a fellow writer and now also publisher, through her 1001 Nights Press
- M Christian
- Remittance Girl
- Lucy Felthouse