So it’s my turn in this Next Big Thing chain letter – not sure of the details but apparently if you refuse every book on your shelf is spontaneously transformed into Pippa Middleton’s Celebrate (if you already have that one, God help you). Thanks to Andrew Nette for tagging me in.
I’ll keep it brief.
What is the working title of your book?
Long Way Home.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It began with a conversation overheard in a pub last summer, where two men were discussing the business practices of local gangmaster. The casual brutality towards his workers and how routine they made it sound really infuriated me. The conversation led to a short story, the short story led to this book.
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I have no idea what my characters look like, not the main ones anyway. The second they acquire a face they become slightly unreal so I try not to even think about it. Although Brendan Gleeson gets a cameo.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
When a migrant worker is found murdered in a suburban shed, suspicion immediately falls on the householders, but as police delve into the man’s background they discover that he’s made plenty of enemies during his short time in the city and the search for his killer takes them into the murky underworld of illegal housing, right-wing extremists and unregulated gangmasters, where human life is the cheapest commodity going.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Long Way Home is due out in spring 2014 from Harvill Secker. Such a pleasure to write that sentence.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’d been turning the idea around for a few months so by the time I came to actually sit down and start a lot of it was in place. The first draft took just over six months, then there was the inevitable tinkering and polishing which took another two.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I wouldn’t dare.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Think we’ve already covered that.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Hopefully the exact thing which led me to want to write it – migrants in this country occupy a strange position, they can be highly visible through their work, but at the same time their communities often remain insular, self-policing and dominated by semi-criminal middlemen. They’re routinely ripped off and exploited, with violence being used as simply another management technique. Most British people never see into this world and I want to show them just how brutal and lonely it can be.
That’s more than enough about me. Now for the interesting bit; five writers who you should have a look at …
Luca Veste is the editor/co-editor of two cracking charity anthologies – Off the Record 1 and 2 – and a talented author in his own right. I was privileged to read his first novel a few months ago and am confident you’ll be hearing a lot more about him in the coming year.
Sara Sheridan has recently turned to crime writing after producing a string of excellent straight fiction novels. Brighton Belle is the first in the series, set in 1950’s Brighton – think Foyles War with better clothes – and part two is out very soon.
Heather Hampson debut novel The Vanity Game is a wickedly sharp satire on Premiership football and the dodgy characters who operate in the shadows around it. Dark, funny and downright brutal in places, it promises great things in the future.
Iain Rowan is the author of some of the finest short stories I’ve ever read, haunting, original and written with great poise, they stay with you long after you’ve put the book down. Iain is currently coming towards the end of a year long project 52 Songs, 52 Stories which is well worth your time.
Author, playwright, pugilistic master of various arts, Gerard Brennan writes books with huge punching power. His latest, Fireproof, is a Satanic romp through the streets of Belfast – perfect Christmas reading for you bah-humbug types.