William Hussey (http://www.williamhussey.co.uk/), author of the fabulous Witchfinder series, tagged me on his blog as part of THE NEXT BIG THING author chain. So, now it’s my turn to pass on the burning brand of doom, tap out my deepest ramblings, and nobble another five authors so that our collected gibberish can spread like some great and unwholesome disease of the mind. Here we go then…
1) What is the working title of your next book?
My next novel is called THE IRON WOLVES for Angry Robot Books http://angryrobotbooks.com/.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
After working on KELL’S LEGEND, SOUL STEALERS and VAMPIRE WARLORDS for Angry Robot, I penned a section in VW where Kell and Saark, our heroes of the moment, have to train an army from a rag-tag rabble of cut-throat inmates in a desecrated prison complex, which has been completely overrun. I loved writing those scenes, and playing with the idea of bad men turning good. Thus, when asked to pitch to AR, I came up with a Dirty Dozen-type idea and The Iron Wolves was born.
We have a group of heroes, The Iron Wolves, who held the Pass of Splintered Bones against a war-host of drooling mud-orcs, and saw the psychotic sorcerer Morkagoth slain. Now, thirty years on, a new threat emerges from the depths of The Furnace: Orlana, the Changer, who begins building an army and gathering evil to her cause.
Realising the threat, aged General Dalgoran seeks to reunite his elite soldiers, his Iron Wolves; but they are no longer the heroes he remembers. Kiki, leader of the Wolves, is a honey-leaf drug peddler and addicted to her own foul narcotic; Narnok is a violent whoremaster, Prince Zastarte a gambler who burns people alive, Dek the pit fighter, once a hit with the ladies, now bears a razor-sliced face; and Trista, originally a woman of wealth, nobility and religion, has devolved into a whore-assassin with a scorpion sting.
United in hate, the Iron Wolves travel to the Pass of Splintered Bones and the Dakrath Fortress; and as half a million mud-orcs gather, General Dalgoran realises his grave error. Together, the Iron Wolves hold a terrible secret which has tortured them for three decades. Now, they wish to be human again.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
That would be heroic fantasy. Or maybe anti-heroic fantasy, as this is going to be one dark, violent, bleak roller-coaster ride of suffering and violence. Did I mention the violence? It’s going to be nasty. It’s going to make Morgan’s and Abercrombie’s books (which I very much admire, by the way) look like children’s tales about fluffy puppies. Or so I reckon.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
For the men, actors like Ving Rhames, Clint Eastwood, Ray Winstone; that kind of dude. For Kiki? Hmm. I think Uma Thurman would do a pretty awesome job.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Forget your fine wines, art, literature and culture; forget a Time of Heroes and any thoughts of nobility… because The Iron Wolves are back. And this time, they’re dirty, nasty, violent, and playing by no rules born of this world.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The Iron Wolves will be published by Angry Robot Books in January 2014, the second book (in the same world but with different characters), August 2014. For this deal, I agented myself.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I have six month to write and do my usual three edits; and I begin work in earnest on the 1st December 2012.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I mentioned Joe Abercrombie and Richard Morgan earlier, and I love their works dearly. They would be the closest in terms of gritty realism and violent nastiness. But this time, Dear Reader, I’m hoping to give the fantasy world something a little bit different. Something a little new.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was always inspired by the late, great David Gemmell, may he rest well in the Hall of Heroes. I’m also inspired by Iain M. Banks, Ernest Hemingway, Orwell, Kafka, Cormac McCarthy and Sergio Leone, to name but a few.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
When reading a fantasy novel, do you like: a) your female fantasy characters to be brutal femme fatales; b) your alcoholic pit-fighters big, sour, and with razor carved faces; and c) your bad dudes something to give even the toughest cage fighter crawling little-girl nightmares? Well then, you’ll be wanting to read The Iron Wolves, won’t you laddie?