So Dale tagged me. Feel free to consider yourself tagged to answer these questions if you a) have a blog and b) have a book in the works.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
‘Tis called Sedition.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I think I have mentioned this before but there were several stories I wanted to write but most of them were too short for a novel and too long for a short story. I wanted to write about different male identities (ie. if you were male you didn’t have to act in one manner alone), I wanted to write about a romantic relationship between two women and how that would play out in Sri Lankan society and I also wanted to write about the landscape and about depression. These were all things I felt people around me needed to know about but didn’t know that much about so I felt the need to showcase them. I had no idea how to even mix them all up into one coherent plot until I got the idea for the first few scenes in the novel in 2005.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It can be classed as a bilsdungroman which annoys me greatly because I am half afraid it will be tossed into Young Adult Fiction when it doesn’t quite fit but the most logical spot for it is Literary Fiction really.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Nimmi Harasgama (did I get her name right?) would probably play Glynis. She would be best for it – she’d read one line and know exactly what I want. I have no clue who would play George or Nivi and the next few main characters are British in origin so one would have to cast a British actor or two or three (Claire, David and James). I can see James McAvoy for James but both Claire and David allude me in terms of casting. Looks don’t matter so much though with those two despite their immense importance (Claire is protagonist number one) – I am not fussed about what they look like so I guess it would be case of who nails the character when it comes to casting. And if they can pass off as being young enough. Ideally, I’d like someone who was a fan to audition for a role – I think if they were nerdy and loved the character that may bring more to it.
I think Sedition would be very hard to script and very hard to act. So much of what you see in the book happens inside character’s heads. I figure a movie version would have the actors acting while there is a voice over of their thoughts and so they would have to be very good at conveying subtle changes in emotion without dialogue and often without much movement.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In tropical, politically disruptive Sri Lanka, three people will struggle to find direction in their lives after undergoing personal tragedies, not knowing exactly how their transient friendship will affect them all in the end.
Yep, that’s the best I can come up with. Sorry. When people ask what it is about, I usually say “It’s about depression and isolation with a lot of black humour thrown in.” Sedition is a book about the stories we don’t tell which are also the stories we tell ourselves that we use to weave our sense of identity. Which of course is a bloody recipe for disaster.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don’t want to be self-published but I don’t know if I will end up going through an agent either or whether I will just submit the most polished version of a manuscript to publishers till someone wants it.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Since 2005? About seven years and counting. I am not kidding. It’s something I have had to do in between everything else and frankly I am glad. It would have been a much poorer quality book and a far stupider story with plot holes everywhere had I finished it in 2005.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I am not entirely sure. No doubt there are some. Maybe Trainspotting - a tropical version with no drugs? I don;t know. Honestly, I don’t know.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I think I end up wanting to write about things that I think people don’t talk about enough. There are all sorts of little things tossed into Sedition that make it what it is and I think each little thing is something I am inspired to toss in because I think it should be discussed. This is also the only theory I have that explains the way geckos want to creep into everything. They just turn up in the descriptions.
This is a book that attempts to weave three people’s intertwining issues – for one person that’s the very real but rarely discussed impact the political situation can have on them, for another it’s the sense of isolation and the lack of support, for the third, it’s about having no guidance, no clues, no manual or rulebook or standard from which to operate.
I want to make people think twice about certain things especially where for the sake of their brain and sanity, they operate on assumptions. I want to turn their ideas upside down.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It has a ton of black humour in it. Gallows humour – because that’s one of the best ways to cope with tragedy and disaster and to gain perspective. Follow the geckos. Ask yourself why tomato plants need to be mentioned. Laugh at the slang used. If there is a word in Sedition, it’s there because it seems small but it’s going to tell you something about one of these stories that usually doesn’t get told. Ask yourself whether a tragedy really is a tragedy or if from the character’s point of view it’s best possible thing that could ever have happened to them.
If you decide to answer these questions – leave a comment and let me know so I can add the link at the end of the post.