The Next Big Thing

26 Sep

I have emerged from the university library, where I have spent my days and nights toiling over an undergraduate honors thesis on medieval Iranian ideology, for a brief period of time in response to one Thomas James Brown, a great horror and speculative author and amazing person, who was kind enough to tag me in a post, asking me to spend some time discussing my current work in progress. I highly recommend checking out his post on his own WIP, Lynnwood.

Of course, I ran into a problem as soon as I decided to make my own post: I have multiple WIPs. I have part one of scifi/fantasy fusion duology (Tal’kan), a story about the rise of a king in the distant future (The Divine Madness of Kings), and one about an investigator-turned-ambassador-turned-illegal investigator on an alien planet (Beneath). So my first problem was choosing which WIP to write about. In the end, I chose my most active WIP, Beneath.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Beneath. It will likely be the final title, too, as the entire novel revolves around secrets hidden beneath a glossy surface: the depravity behind a great culture, the knowledge behind a mystic order, and the evil beneath a planet’s surface. The main character’s goals in the novel (though he might not know it yet!) are to rip away the shiny exterior and reveal what lies beneath it.

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

This book is part of my larger universe, the “Juxian Mythos;” it’main character is also a secondary character in The Divine Madness of Kings. I have created a detailed timeline of the history of this universe, and there was one specific entry in said timeline that just briefly touches on a powerful figure destroying an ancient evil. As I was browsing through said timeline, I came across that brief entry and wondered at what cost was that ancient evil defeated? Could the debt to whatever power allowed that evil to be defeated ever be paid back? From those questions, the idea for Beneath was born. It takes place long, long after this evil was defeated, but will deal with an outsider slowly discovering exactly what it cost a certain civilization to drive out the evil, and how it still plays a role in that society, just beneath the surface.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Horror in a science fiction universe. The plot is Lovecraftian in the extreme, but the setting is a very detailed space opera. There are elements of high fantasy in the work as well, as embodied in the conflict between an ancient evil and a cosmic good, but the lines between the two have blurred over time, and the focus of the novel is on the horror of the past and the disturbing price of victory.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I don’t know many actors, but were I to choose one for the main character, Russell Hicks, I would have to go with Ben Browder or Peter Jurasik; they have both played characters similar to the intriguing Mr. Hicks, who is really a combination of John Crichton from Farscape and Londo Mollari from Babylon 5, with a bit of Sherlock Holmes thrown in there. Ian McKellan and Christopher Lee would probably find their way into it as Elfviyat (the alien civilization in question) as well.

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

Ex-private investigator, now an ambassador for the Kingdom of Man, is sent on a routine diplomatic mission to the heart of the ancient Elfviyat Empire, but once his old investigative instincts kick in, he realizes that the grandeur of the Elfviyat is not all that it seems…

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

Self-published! I am a huge fan of self-publishing, and at this point have little interest in traditional publishing; I enjoy having full control over all aspects of my work.

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

What first draft? I’m still working on it! It’s been about eight months so far, though.

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

H. P. Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness or Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos. The first has the same atmosphere of horror, and the second has the same themes of secrets hiding beneath the surface.

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

I’m not sure. I was choosing between three possible new projects, put a poll up on my website, and this idea sounded the most intriguing to the respondents! That’s the best answer I have.

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

The universe and background is extraordinarily detailed, and like all Juxian Mythos novels, it will have an extensive appendix! The clash of cultures on this book would be of interest to anyone with a remote interest in anthropology or sociology, and the structure of different alien cultures might also prove interesting to a reader. Anyone who loves Lovecraftian monsters would also not be disappointed with this book; Lovecraft’s hand is very easily seen. Other than that, an atmosphere of dread and, of course, a mystery plot also might intrigue a reader!


I would nominate others for this, but I have never been really comfortable doing so, so everyone who reads this is nominated! Hopefully I can find more time to be active in the future!


Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Writing


3 responses to “The Next Big Thing

  1. Thomas James Brown

    September 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Some great answers, Zack, an intriguing post! I don’t know about you but I enjoyed replying to the questions. It made me think a lot more about the details of my story!

  2. Z. M. Wilmot

    September 27, 2012 at 5:04 am

    I did too. Was a very enlightening experience. 🙂 Thanks for the tag!


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