The wonderful Debra Kristi tagged me for The Next Big Thing, a weekly post where tagged authors answer questions about one of their WIPs.
Here’s the ten questions and my responses:
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
My publisher Anthony Cheetham floated the idea to me. He said: I’d love to see a story about what would have happened if Alexander the Great hadn’t died so young. I picked up the idea and ran with it.
What genre does your book fall under?
Alternative historical fiction
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a great game to play: wish I was playing it for real! The male lead, Gajendra, would be a young Indian actor; the problem for me is all Bollywood male leads look to me like they’d rather look in a mirror than look at a woman. So I’d go for Ranbir Kapoor.
Mara is Persian and I really admire Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, not only for her beauty and talent but for her guts. She is the only Iranian ever to appear in a Hollywood production – Ridley Scott’s “Body of Lies” along with Leonardo DiCaprio – as well as an Iranian movie called “Santouri”, about Iran’s massive but hidden drug problem. Risking the ire of a repressive regime makes her an actor of great character in my book. So she’d be perfect.
And to play Alexander? My Alexander is brilliant, charming, evil and charismatic. Leonardo Di Caprio. Daylight second.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Alexander the Great is saved from an early death by an Indian mahout who rises to become his protégé – but then must choose between his ambition and his humanity.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is part of a three book contract with Corvus Atlantic in London. My agent has represented me in the US but as yet has no offers from the Big 6 for COLOSSUS – or for SILK Road and STIGMATA – because apparently I’m too hard to promote. I don’t live there, you see. Jeez, what a shame there’s not some medium where a writer living outside the US could establish a platform where he could easily communicate and interact with an American audience on a daily basis – if you hear of one please tell my publishers in NY. By post, I suppose.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It was twelve months to second draft – the first draft never quite gets finished before I start on the second one. I know it’s weird – I can’t really explain it.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My publishers say Ken Follett. I wouldn’t presume. But Ken’s readers are exactly the readers I am aiming for.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
They offered to pay me money to do it. That really got me moving.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The secret title to the book – the private joke between the editor and me – was ‘TheElephant and the Psychopath.’ Psychopaths are interesting because they are so intriguing – look at Hannibal Lecter. And who doesn’t love an elephant?
But if you are forced to choose which one has to die, most people think they would say the psychopath. But wait a minute … as Gajendra and Mara discover – one can be the expediter of your every hope and dream – and an elephant is just an elephant. So now what do you say?