Tag Archives: The Next Big Thing

Okay, I was tagged last week in The Next Big Thing. Thus, here are my own tags passing on the flaming baton, four absolutely fabulous authors who I very much recommend, and their subsequent TNBG posts…… Enjoy!!

Ian Graham –

Stan Nicholls –

Richard Ford –

Ian Watson –

Stan Nicholls has been a reviewer and interviewer in the UK for more than 20 years and is a key figure on the genre scene. He writes a regular column for TIME OUT and contributes to both INTERZONE and STARBURST. Since the original Orcs trilogy his Quicksilver fantasy trilogy has been an international hit.

“I can personally recommend Stan’s ORC series of novels – fast paced, great battles, and you get to see the world from the eyes of an orc! Go on. You know you want to…” – Andy Remic.



1) What is the working title of your next book?
At this moment I’m waiting for the reaction to a proposal I have in for my next novel. Until I hear, I can’t talk about it. Ditto the working title, which in any case has already changed several times and probably will again. But I’m currently working on something else that has a title that’s unlikely to change. It’s called ‘Shake Me To Wake Me’. We can talk about that.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
This question is perilously close to the classic “Where do you get your ideas?” that we all know and love. ‘Shake Me … ’ is a collection of short stories, some reprint, the rest newly written. The stories range in date from 1993 to the present, so we’d be talking about ideas that struck over quite a lengthy period. I don’t know where the seed of an idea comes from. I only know about sweating it to full plumpness.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
All of them. Well, no; that’s ridiculous. Fantasy, science fiction, supernatural, a dash of crime and stuff it’s hard to put a handle on. Let’s say “fantastical”.

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

Considering the range of stories … I don’t know, but off the top of my head it’d be nice to have Nathan Fillion, Ron Perlman, David Boreanaz, Lucy Lia, Claudia Black, Mila Jovovich *maybe*, Jet Li, Eddie Izzard, Alan Rickman … And assuming I can have dead people I’d like Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness. I’m tempted to have Kenneth Williams.

But maybe animation would be better for some of it.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It’s about different stuff.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About twenty years. Short stories, remember.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I honestly can’t make a comparison that covers the range of content. Or if I did it’d be to writers infinitely more talented than I am, which makes me look a schmuck.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I suppose I kind of inspired myself, given the writing gunk coating my DNA. I’ve always written and always made up stories. A host of writers I admire inspired me too; they gave me the desire to try to be as good as them. The collection contains what I consider to be my best stories. Or rather the ones that were the least unsatisfying, that had a germ of an interesting idea or just made me feel okay about being a writer.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, the content’s eclectic but still within the speculative category, so hopefully it’ll appeal to readers of fantasy, and what we might call the offbeat. Readers of my orcs series of novels might be interested to know that there are going to be two or three – I’m not sure yet – new orcs stories, and one of them is over 20,000 words. That’ll be accompanied by either two orcs shorts or another long, almost novella length piece. Oh, and we’ve got one of the best genre artists doing the cover.


Ian Graham is a fantasy novelist living in the North of England. His debut novel, Monument, was published in 2002 by Orbit Books. Monument is published in the USA by Ace and in France by Bragelonne. He is currently working on a prequel to Monument.

“Ian is big and hairy. But more importantly, he’s a cracking, awesome, brilliant fantasy writer. Check out Monument! I dare you.” –Andy Remic.



1. What is the working title of your next book?

Dead Fire.

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

Dead Fire is a prequel to Monument, my previous novel. In Monument, Anhaga Ballas, the protagonist, is in middle age, friendless, living rough and a touch over-fond of the bottle. The key to writing Dead Fire was imagining what Ballas would be like in his early twenties, long before the bitterness, booze and isolation had set in.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Dark medieval fantasy.

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

Oliver Reed would have made the ideal Ballas. He had the right air of brooding, bullish insolence and dog-eared dignity. Of course, being dead, Ollie won’t be available to play the role – unless some pretty staggering medical breakthroughs are made sometime soon. Fingers crossed, eh?

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

Anhaga Ballas goes to Hell.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am contracted to produce another couple of books for those fine folk at Orbit, may God have mercy on their souls.

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

Grief, there’s a question. I’ve been slogging away at the thing for yonks, and because the initial versions are extraordinarily haphazard, it is impossible to pinpoint a moment where I can safely say, Yes, this counts as a draft. And I’ve have never written the endings of these pseudo-drafts, either: I find it more helpful to wait until I arrive at the conclusion in the final draft before deciding exactly what ought to happen. It’s a great way of filling one’s life with unimaginable terror and stress.

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

David Gemmell was a big influence, of course, though I confess that I am pretty out of touch with what’s going on in the genre at the moment. As I spend so much time writing fantasy, it tends to be the last thing I want to read when I switch off the word processor. But I do read my chum Andy Remic’s material, often in draft form; he and I have an informal critiquing group, which we wittily call “The Stinklings”, after CS Lewis and Tolkien’s critical gatherings. From reputation alone, I’d say that my stuff might also be put in the same category as Joe Abercrombie’s work, and that of Richard Morgan.

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

A strong curiosity about Anhaga Ballas’s early life was the main driving force, as well as an interest in the varieties of interpretation which can be placed upon mystical and religious experiences.

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

A tricky one, this. I like the story because at heart, it is – hopefully – a fast-moving adventure tale, not entirely lacking in intelligence and moral complexity. A lost civilization, an oppressive – though not always immoral – theocracy, fights, cart-chases, snake-venom, gigantic hunting dogs, the afterlife and a chap getting roasted to death in a kiln . . . This is a book to treasure through the ages. Or borrow from the library, once.

Alas, it seems that every other writer I know or have heard of has already been tagged in The Next Big Thing. So I shan’t nominate anyone. I fear that I may be the terminus of a meme.