It’s been AGES. I’ve been tagged a couple of times for this bloggy thing – most recently by Peggy Riley and (via facebook) my friend Richard Hirst. In a rare moment of seasonal bonhomie I’m going to join in.
What is the working title of your next book?
It is called The Friday Gospels. And that’s the final title. Unlike my first two books, it never went through a variety of titles before it found its name. Someone told me that was a good sign. I hope so. When I think about it, I call it tee-eff-gee.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was brought up a Mormon, or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I always wanted to write about what it felt like to be a Mormon. The fiction I read that represented Mormons concentrated on the US experience, and focused on polygamy. When I started, I didn’t know of any fiction that attempted to represent a British experience. The North West has always been fertile territory for my writing, and it’s also historically and culturally significant for British Mormons. All those different things added up to the desire to write the book, and some of the ideas with which it engages.
What genre does your book fall under?
Who knows? Who cares? It might be somewhere in the region of suburban gothic, sit-com noir, bleak humour, accessible lit fic type stuff. My influences are legion. To me, it feels like a natural continuation of the interests of A Kind of Intimacy and Cold Light. But I also think The Friday Gospels is a little more forgiving and because of that change in tone I am prepared for some readers to call it a departure from my earlier work.
What actors would you choose to play the parts of your characters in a movie rendition?
I am hoping, if that question ever arises for me, that the answer to it is none of my business. Jeannie and Julian and Martin have dark hair. Pauline is a faded red-head and Gary is a strawberry blond. I don’t see their faces any more clearly than that, which is why I like the cover of the book so much.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Mormon family with secrets waits for golden-boy missionary son to come home and solve their problems while an ash-cloud gathers; disaster ensues and love conquers all.
Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
I have an agent. And the book will be published by Sceptre dead soon.
How long did it take you to write a first draft of the manuscript?
The first chapter took me about four months. Then I took a break for three months to ponder and decide if this was the book I was really ready to write. Then I wrote the rest of the first draft in four months. It took me about a year, maybe a little bit more, to do another three drafts.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Goodness me. I can’t think. I suspect that’s the sort of question it is a reviewer’s job to answer.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A lot of my urge to write comes from a wish to fix the imperfections of the last thing that I have written. It’s a disgustingly self-absorbed process, really. Also, I would like to read a book like The Friday Gospels but it didn’t exist.
What else about your book might pique your reader’s interest?
Hmm. Well, it’s funnier and kinder than Cold Light. It has less dirty bits than A Kind of Intimacy but the dirty bits are really dirty. It has three dogs, and each of the dogs have two names. Like my first two novels, it also contains a buffet.
Okay. I’m supposed to tag people now. But because I’m a pain in the arse that way, I’d prefer just to link to people who have already answered these questions. So here they are. Enjoy.
Richard Hirst at I Thought I Told You To Wait in the Car
Peggy Riley – her first book is out next year: Amity and Sorrow
Valerie O’Riordan – writer, reader and reviewer at Not Exactly True
Carys Bray – another writer of the Mormon persuasion whose collection Sweet Home has just been published.