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The Next Big Thing

Wow! A blog post. Haven’t written one of these in a long time.

Things have been busy. Like buying a house, starting a job with Apex, pounding through the second draft of my novel on top of all the normal busy.

It isn’t an excuse for not updating my blog, but it’s all I’ve got.

Anyway, Wesley Southard tagged me to do The Next Big Thing blog hop and I thought it would be the perfect time to get back to this blog, so here we go.

What is the working title of your book?

The Weight of Chains. I’ve had the title longer than I’ve had a novel and it works really well. Wish all titles came so easily.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A publisher sent me the guidelines for an anthology they were putting together of zombie stories set in the past. I did a report in high school about Gilles de Rais, a French nobleman who liked to kill children in the 15th century, and remembered that he kept a lot of bodies in and around his castle. What would happen if all of those corpses suddenly came back as the ravenous undead? I wrote what eventually became the end of my book as a short story to submit for that anthology. Obviously, it was rejected.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s an alternative history horror novel. Tons and tons of research.

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

Hmmm, that’s a hard one.

My main character is an eleven year old girl. I think an unknown actress would be best.

As for the rest of the characters – Gilles, Colette, Prelati, Poitou – I’m not sure. I’ll leave it up to the casting director.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence? This question is asked as if I have a one sentence synopsis already planned out. I don’t, but I’ll give it a shot…

A peasant girl, a wizard, a serial killer, and a demon walk into a bar …

No, that isn’t right.

Let me try again.

The Weight of Chains deals with a young girl being forced into the responsibilities of adulthood, a psychopath who can’t control his urges and one who must, a mother desperate to protect her son, a man desperate to protect himself, and a demon pissed beyond belief.

Yeah, that’s it. Basically.

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

I’ll be looking for a publisher.

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


 My novel started as a short story more than 5 years ago. I know, I know. That’s forever, but I’ve written a lot short stories in that time, published a few, and started working for a publisher. Given that this is my first novel, I’ve basically been teaching myself what the hell I’m doing as I go. Add on top of that the fact that I’m having research every single fact, down to what peasants eat and if a pitchfork had been invented in the 15th century, and I don’t think I’m doing too bad. I think it’s the classic case of starting a novel that I wasn’t ready to write, and then having to rewrite the entire thing to make it worth reading. Right now, I feel really good about it.

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

I haven’t read anything like this. I’ve been trying to read more historical fiction to get the feel of the dialogue and pacing, including Speak the Nightbird by Robert McCammon and the Rashi’s Daughter’s series by Maggie Anton, but none of these are like The Weight of Chains.

The Weight of Chains is a horror novel. It just happens to be set in the past. Sure, there are characters in my novel who are based off real historical people – Gilles de Rais, Prelati, Poitou – all real people, but my characters are fictitious.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Inspired might not be the right word. As I mentioned earlier, I originally wrote a short story because I received submission guidelines from a publisher. After it was rejected, I was left with an 8,000 word story that I had no idea what to do with. J. F. Gonzalez read it and told me that I didn’t have a short story; I had a novel, or at the very least a novella, shoved into a short story. When a professional author tells me to write, I write, and so I worked my way backward from the end, thinking the whole time that I was writing a novella.

I wasn’t ready to write a novel.

I didn’t know how to write a novel.

I didn’t want to write a novel.

When I hit 80,000 words, I had to admit to myself that I was writing a novel, but I’ll be honest, I’m still not completely comfortable with the idea.

I’m writing Jeanetta’s story. She has a lot to say. Very bad things are happening to her and her friends, and their story deserves to be told. I can only hope that I’m doing her justice in the way that I’m telling it.

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

Finally, an easy question.

What isn’t to like about a demon getting even with a serial killer?

Thanks for stopping by. To keep up with The Next Big Thing check out the blogs of Dawn Griffin, Denise Wyant and Daniel Robichaud next Wednesday.


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