Writer and editor of Every Day Poets, Oonah Joslin, nominated me to participate in this blog hop where I answer a series of set questions about a work in progress and then tag another couple of people to do the same.
Okay, here goes…
What is the title of your next book?
It’s a screenplay called ‘Lurchers’.
lurch: (v.) to totter, stagger, stumble; to pitch or list from side to side
lurcher (n.) hunting dog, used by poachers for catching rabbits
Lurchers (n. plural) Humans who have been infected by an unidentified virus which transforms them into un-dead creatures or mutants.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
In November I attended a workshop in Belfast organised by Northern Ireland Screen during which writer/director, Charles Harris, taught delegates how to write a one-pager and script treatment for the screen. It was particularly useful for me as, until that afternoon, I had no idea what either of these was. The event also included a briefing session from the commissioning editor of London TV production company, E4, who was calling for concepts for a new TV drama.
Afterwwards, I decided to have a go, and submitted a one-pager based on an idea that had started life in two short stories I’d had published in a US anthology. I found out just before Christmas that my one-page concept had reached the final three and that the people at E4 were requesting an outline for a pilot and a six-part TV drama – which I eventually did.
Naturally, I was disappointed to discover last month that I didn’t get any further in this project, but I still really believe in the idea so I have decided to write the screenplay for a feature film using the plot and characters. Now, what was the question again? Oh, yeah – the idea for this piece of work came from my stories in The Infection Anthology.
What genre does your project fall under?
Dare I say the ‘Z’ word?! It is a survival story following the outbreak of an infection that turns the family and friends of a bunch of gamers in Northern Ireland into rather nasty, bitey creatures. It is set in the area around the Mourne Mountains, near where I live.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, considering it’s a movie script, that’s a good question. I think I would have to cast Nicholas Hoult as ‘Snail Magee’, as I really liked him in Warm Bodies and Rupert Grint would make a good ‘Fatboy’ (no longer overweight, but a funny, friendly character) I think Jennifer Lawrence would be good as ‘Lara Kennedy’, the sort of ‘kick-ass’ girl and any young actress who exudes ‘Goth-like and damaged’ could play my character ‘Mel McDaid’.
What is a one sentence synopsis of your work?
Well, here’s my log line for Lurchers…
Lurchers is a horror-survival ensemble drama with elements of dark humour about a bunch of gamer kids trying to survive in a post-pandemic world filled with flesh-eating, un-dead creatures
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
If the treatment is accepted by a production company, I will have to acquire an agent – which I’m told will be easy if I’ve had it accepted by a production company.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About two months to write and edit a 25-page script treatment down to 12 pages. I’m just about to embark on the writing the script, but it’s a learning curve as I normally write non-fiction articles, poetry and short stories.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A combination of ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ – well, that’s how I’d LIKE it to be – anyone can dream!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
US writer, Mitch Lavender, conceived The Infection Anthology, and accepted my short stories for the collection so I’m passing all responsibility over to him
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I love stories about characters whose normal lives are suddenly thrown into chaos by stuff like aliens, zombies, creepy serial killers, etc. I like dropping them into these random situations to see how they survive and what becomes important to them. Sometimes I really think that everybody should be thrown into some sort of weird situation for a few weeks, so that they really appreciate their life when they get it back.
So who’s up on The Next Big Thing, next?
Well to start with, I am choosing US novelist and short story writer Mitch Lavender for several reasons, but mostly because I think he’s a fine writer with a great imagination. He has a very interesting blog, Lifein 64squarefeet.com, and is always involved in several projects, but the one I’m particularly waiting for is called ‘Undertaking Hartford’ – I really look forward to the publication of this novel.
My other ‘target’ is Daniel Kaye, an Irish writer (and ex-London pub owner!) whose short stories I have had the pleasure of reading in the past. In particular, I have enjoyed several extracts from his historic vampire novel, ‘I Vladamir’. More about Daniel’s work can be found at his blogspot.