The Next Big Thing Interview
Welcome to the Next Big Thing Interview
My writer friend, Patrick Jones, recently tagged me for a ‘blog hop’ entitled ‘The Next Big Thing’. The deal is: I answer a few interview questions about my work-in-progress, and then I invite other authors to do the same. Patrick Jones was tagged by Jeff Joseph. You can explore their answers to the same questions. The authors I’ve tagged are Linton Robinson and C.R. Hodges, and you can read their answers in a couple of weeks. So here goes:
What is the working title of your next story?
My working title is “Poe’s Black Cat.” I completed the rough draft weeks ago, and I’m slogging through daily revisions, which is a bit like hiking through quicksand in full battle gear. Meaning I might change the title, but the basic story is there.
Where did you get the idea for the story?
The idea came from a prompt for a multi-author anthology from Firbolg Publishing about Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Black Cat.” The plan is to retell the story from the point of view of one of the other characters, the wife or the cat for example, rather than the narrator. I chose a point of view which I hope will attract the editor’s attention: I tell my twisted tale from the POV of an implied character in “The Black Cat”: the narrator’s executioner. There is a twist to my plot you will have to wait for, but one I’m confident will horrify readers—without excessive blood and gore.
What genre would you include your story in?
Poe’s Black Cat is horror speculative fiction.
What actors would you choose to play your characters in the movie version?
Preston, the adult narrator: a younger Daniel Day-Lewis, who can play any role
Preston’s mother: Cathy Bates in Misery
Preston’s father: Jack Nicholson in The Shining, but subdued.
Mr. Malachi: Mark Strong in one of his dark roles.
Mrs. Malachi: Glen Close in Fatal Attraction, if she could be made to look slummy as well as slutty.
Mr. Poe: A reincarnated Tony Perkins from Psycho would do a fine job
Mrs. Poe: Frances McDormand in Mississippi Burning. I hope she won’t be angry about the axe in her head.
Poe’s cat: The filmmaker is on his own. I could not think of one black cat that I’d ask to do what Poe’s black cat does.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?
Redemption—some minds are too twisted for it, but Preston, the man who hung Poe for burying an axe in his wife’s head, craves it as he lies dying and writing about the secrets he buried in his cellar many years ago.
Will your story be self-published or represented by an agency?
“Poe’s Black Cat” will be submitted to the senior editor at Firbolg Publishing for their Enter at Your Own Risk anthology of 2013. I am writing in the middle of the night and early morning to meet the April 30 deadline.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The story lived in my head for a month; then I wrote a rough draft in about a week. Since then it’s been daily revision writing. I have dreams about black cats stalking me.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I hesitate to compare Poe’s Black Cat to any other works, let alone the master’s. I’ve written the story in a gothic voice and style I hope will read like an early nineteen century Poe narration, while leaving it contemporary enough for modern readers. Nineteenth century writers seem more tolerant of passive voice, adjectives, and adverbs than today’s. We’ll see if that works out for me.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I read The Black Cat again and again, and that inspired me to ask: what if another evil character were nearby, and what if the story didn’t end with the narrator’s execution? Poe said, “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” and “Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” Since my teens Poe’s twisted plots have drawn me to imitate. Even my humor writing can be dark and Poe-like, but this story is not humor.
What else about the story might pique the reader’s interest?
Poe’s Black Cat incorporates dark themes of psychosis, obsession, and depravity. Not your Sunday walk in the park with Mary Poppins, but more a slink through the alley with Mr. Poe. Pretty disgusting the more I think of it.
UPDATE: My friend and writer colleague’s interview is live at his website. He’s got a great sounding book work-in-progress under construction. You can read his interview HERE Best of luck with the book, C.R.