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Author Q & A


I’ve been invited by Chris Chalmers, author of the very wonderful ‘Five to One’ (which you can find out more about at http://www.chrischalmers.net/) to take the Next Big Thing questionnaire, where authors talk about what they’re publishing next. So here’s me!

What is the title of your next book?
a fist full of cherries

Where did the idea for the book come from?
I’ve been fascinated by Japan for a long time and have been reading everything I could get my hands on that was even vaguely related to Japan, including setting up alerts for news stories. This book was sparked by a short article that appeared a couple of years ago, and worked well with an idea I’d been playing with, about whether people could really walk away from their lives.

What genre do your books fall under?
Literary fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I think I’d choose non-famous actors, as it’s an ordinary story. Subtlety is a key part of the style, so it wouldn’t be a flashy film. If someone was to make a film of the first book, then John Malcovich would be a great Photographer. Would love to film in the Amazon too ☺

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Set in post-tsunami Japan, a fist full of cherries follows the stories of an English teacher on the run from the murder of his child, and his apparently widowed wife, who is trying to build a new life. The truth will out though… It’s my second book – the first, Caposcripti was about a head-shrinking, serial killing, exploring the Amazon, and the search for an original language.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m in discussions with various parties at the moment, so can’t comment on that right now!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscripts?
The first draft took about 6 months for a fist full of cherries. With Caposcripti it was 10 years from initial idea to publication.

What other books would you compare the story to within your genre?
Hard to say, as I’m not really a genre-writer. Maybe ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver? It’s kind of dark literary fiction, I’d say.

Who or What inspired you to write them?
Apart from the above-mentioned newspaper article, and a more personal response to the Great North Eastern Earthquake of 2011, and the effect it’s still having on people’s lives in Japan, it was inspired by a life-long love of Japanese culture and literature, and a deep respect for their way of living. Shusako Endo, Haruki Murakami and Ryu Murakami are all influences on the book.

What else about your books might pique the reader’s interest?
They've all been researched on location – I lived with headshrinking Jivaro in the Amazon for Caposcripti, and travelled extensively around Japan as part of the writing process for Cherries. They’re a quirky take on interpreting other cultures through the medium of story.

Two fine authors will be answering the same questions next week. Courttia Newland - http://courttianewland.com/ who has been working on a new book which he’ll tell you about, and Martin Millar – who has recently published ‘Lonely Werewolf Girl’.


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a fist full of cherries will be coming out in 2013. If you'd like to find out more about my first book, head over to http://www.caposcripti.com