The Next Big Thing (That Already Happened)

This is a meme of sorts going around among writers. David Bernstein (Machines of the Dead) tagged me to take part and answer the below questions. Since my next novel is still in the early outlining stages, I’ve opted to yak about this fall’s The Harvest Cycle (which, while it exists, isn’t quite a Big Thing yet). At the end of this post you’ll find links to the authors I tagged – their posts will go up next week.

What’s the working title of your book?
The Harvest Cycle. Though meant as a nod to Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, I know the title sounds like a gardening guide, but I never did think of an alternative and became comfortable with it.

Where did the idea for the book come from?
A good ol’-fashioned nightmare, about five or six years ago. I was sequestered with strangers in a hotel lounge and watching raw-skinned humanoids race through the streets, tearing people apart. I knew it was the end of the world and that taking refuge only delayed the inevitable. As that thought settled in, I looked out the window at a neighboring building and saw one of the things perched on the roof like a gargoyle, claws clicking together. The images from that dream have never left me, and it unfolds in its entirety in Chapter Seven.

While expanding this nightmare into a novel outline in 2007-08, I was also writing a submission for the Permuted Press antho Robots Beyond. That inspired me to add robots to Harvest and both stories took off from there, pulling in Lovecraft’s mythos and becoming part of the same world.

What genre does your book fall under?
I guess it’s first and foremost horror – weird horror – but with a side of sci-fi. It’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - a strange journey peppered with absurd, mad characters - and there are several references to that work. It’s also an unmistakable Cthulhu Mythos tale. What was I saying? Right, horror.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The one I have always known is Nicholas Campbell as deranged Inspector DaVinci (pictured in the above image). Campbell was the star of the wonderful Canadian coroner/cop drama Da Vinci’s Inquest, and though the two characters are nothing alike, I always saw Campbell as Harvest’s maniac cop. So much so, obviously, that the character was tagged with that name!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Everything, killing everything else.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published this past August by Permuted Press. No agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I started it in March 2008 and finished in the fall - about six months, give or take. I lost most of my eyesight halfway through it, so that was a bit of a rain delay.

To what other books within your genre would you compare this story?
The Bible

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
After my percolating subconscious, Lovecraft’s cosmicism became a big part of  the novel, as has been the case for so many authors enamored with his mythos. As the basic story – a fifty-year siege by mindless alien beasts, with renegade robots compounding the chaos – materialized, plugging in the existential scope of Lovecraftian horror seemed a natural next step. After all, it’s the apocalypse. When the “gods” reveal themselves and Man learns there are no answers to the questions that define his life, what does life become? Does the unyielding logic of a robot or the unshakable faith of a human have any real meaning if the cosmos is a mere insane asylum?

Would watching your world fragment make you feel bigger or smaller?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
In the style of Joe Bob Briggs’ drive-in totals: we’ve got parkour, electric sex, cannibals on Mount Rushmore, homicidal cosplay, the choke pear, hatchet-fu, god dreams, an adorable puppy, too many exposed human brains to count and a whole mess of folks being ripped apart in every way imaginable. See? The Bible.

My Tags – watch this space!

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