I was fortunate enough to be invited by Weston Ochse to participate in THE NEXT BIG THING, whereby authors are invited to answer some questions about their new and forthcoming work, and in turn invite five more. In addition to me, Weston brought some of my best colleagues and pals on board this week—Joe McKinney, Simon MaCaffery, Shane McKenzie, and Ed Erdelac—so be sure to check out their posts, too.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
My next book is called Control.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I happen to be an arthropod enthusiast, and I’ve long wanted to write something to reflect that, something crawling with bugs but wherein the bugs are not the threat. In Control, insects and arachnids are the unwitting agents of the terror at hand, but also victims in their own right. (Nonetheless, those with bug phobias are going to be creeped out—I can’t help that!)
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Horror in general, body horror in particular.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Toby Jones for Leon, the protagonist. Danai Gurira for Ami, the woman he loves and seeks to conquer.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A loner who collects rare and unusual arthropods acquires an illegally poached rainforest spider that infects him with a heretofore undiscovered fungus that enables him to control other people, even as the spreading fungus drives him irreparably insane.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Control is being released this month by Thunderstorm Books in a limited edition hardcover.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote the first draft of Control in about 6 weeks.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s got a touch of the splatterpunk to it, so I’d be remiss to not name-check John Skipp, though sci-fi/horror tales of the mid-twentieth century such as George Langelaan’s “The Fly,” wherein otherwise normal people are driven to madness and evil by external, non-supernatural forces, had a large influence as well.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I began working on Control after reading about the Ophiocordyceps fungus, which infects the nervous systems of insects in the South American rainforest and compels them to behave in ways beneficial to the proliferation of the fungus. Real life horror leads to good horror fiction!
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Anyone interested in dark, small-town horror blended with low sci-fi will find something to like in Control, I think. Plus: it takes place in the same town as my previous novel, Bleed, so fans of that can have fun picking up the references!