Next Big Thing

Hey folks,

The excellent Andrew J. McKiernan has tagged me in the Next Big Thing, which is a promotion chain in which authors promote each other through their various networks.  Each tagged author will reply to the following questions and then  tag somebody else.

1) What is the working title of your book?

My current book is called BLOODY WATERS. This has been the title for as long as it’s had one.

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

I was looking for ideas for a short story to submit to an anthology about witches and I became interested in the way that the term has been colonized by the Wiccan community. What would happen if a Wiccan crossed paths with an old-fashioned Satanic witch? What if it the Satanic witch was a rockstar? What about it it happened on a TV talk show?

I wrote the story and received a glowing rejection letter from PD Cacek, the editor of the anthology. But I had so much fun with the principal characters, Clarice and Johnny, that I decided to write another story about them taking on the pop music industry. I was halfway through a third before I realized that this was a novel.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

I guess it’s ‘horror’ is the best fit, or perhaps ‘occult’, although most horrific moments in the book are more to do with awful pop music than with monsters or gore. You could probably call it ‘urban fantasy’ as well.

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

I’ve taken a lot of care with how the characters are physically described in the book, but beyond the general build and perhaps hair style I don’t give you much. I’m a bit reluctant to cast them as actors–I don’t do it in my head when I’m writing and I don’t really want my readers to be doing that, either.

so I’m going to cast musicians, not actors. If this was a movie they’d have to play instruments, right? So here goes.

Russell Marsden from A Band of Skulls as Johnny Chernow.

Mark Lanegan for Rex Munday. (I prefer solo artist Mark, but you might know him better from the Screaming Trees or the Queens of the Stone Age.)

Clarice herself is tough to cast, but I’m gonna go with Kim Pryor from Melissa Auf Der Maur’s touring band.

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

A young black-listed guitar virtuoso makes a different kind of deal with the devil for a second chance at the career she deserves–but the devil has different plans for her.

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

It’s published by a new Sydney-based publisher, Possible Press.

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

I wrote the first short story in 1999 and I think the first draft was completed in 2003. So, four years.

It took another six years for me to get the book into a shape where I could sell it (cutting 40,000 words) and then two more years of guided editing (trimming another 10,000) to deliver the lean, mean guitar-playing machine you see today.

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

That’s a tough one, because the book sits across a number of genres. The best match I can think of actually comes from outside the horror genre: Bill Flanagan’s A&R has a similar, although less-angry treatment of the music business. It’d go nicely beside your Metalocalypse DVD box set.

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

Hard to pin the inspiration on a single source. I was angry with the way the music business is run. With the fickleness of public taste. With the lack of integrity displayed by both the fans and the practitioners of a scene that had made integrity its founding principle. So I wrote a book about a band who could overcome all of that.

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

Bloody Waters isn’t really a comedy, but it has a definite satirical slant and I think if you know anything about the business of pop culture you’ll find some good laughs in it.

And that’s me done, except for the tagging. Justin Woolley, you are up!


Jason Franks is the author of the graphic novels The Sixsmiths and McBlack. His occult rock’n’roll novel, Bloody Waters, was published by Possible Press in 2012.

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