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?

Colin Falconer, historical ficiton, Hollywood, Colossus

Alexander the Great – he was armless really
photograph: Giovanni D’all Orto

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?

Colin Falconer, Historical Fiction, Hollywood, Alexander the Great

Ranbir Kapoor.
photograph: BIG STAR Entertainment Awards 2011

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.

Colin Falconer, Historical Fiction. Hollywood, Alexander the Great

photograph: Georges Biard

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?

Colin Falconer, Historical Fiction, Hollywood, Alexander the Great

apparently they don’t have this in New York
photograph: Cawi2001

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?

Colin Falconer, Historical Fiction, Hollywood, Alexander the Great

photograph: SuperJew

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?

My thanks again to Debra Kristi for tagging me for this – and if you’d like to see her other next big things they’re Krystal Wade, Kate Wood, Jennifer Oliver and Marcy Kennedy.

My nominees, should they choose to accept, are Prudence McLeod, Diane Capri, Lara Schiffbauer Barry Crowther and CC McKenzie.

About colinfalconer

author of bestselling historical novels like Anastasia, When We Were Gods, Aztec and Harem. My books have been published in the UK, US and ANZ and translated into seventeen languages.
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3 Responses to THE NEXT BIG THING

  1. How exciting! This sounds like something I am really going to want to read. I think alternate history is so cool. 🙂


  3. I love ‘what if’ books, and this one sounds like a winner. I’ve never heard of some of your choices for a movie version of Colossus, but I love Leonardo Di Caprio. Well, in some things. He was great in Catch Me If You Can (but so was Tom Hanks).

    And I agree, Colin. It would be SO much easier to promote your books in America if there were some way you could interact with readers on a daily basis. We’ll just have to be patient. After all, we have great things like sliced bread…and round things some people call wheels now. 😉

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