The Next Big Thing

Adelaide writer Cameron Raynes has tagged me to participate in The Next Big Thing, which (see below) involves answering ten questions. You can check out Cam’s excellent books – including his just released collection of short fiction, The Colour of Kerosene – via Wakefield Press here and read his answers to the questions on his Facebook page here. My answers are below: 

1. What is the working title of your next book?

I’m working on a couple of books at the moment but the one nearly in the bag (although I was saying that this time last year) is a novel called Potatoes in all their glory.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

No one place. Initially, the story was very much about literary forgery but that fell by the wayside. It’s about food and wine, and my home town of Adelaide, and faith and obsession, and wanting to change the world but not having a clue how how. From almost the very beginning of the book’s life, I’ve had a M.F.K Fisher quote as the epigraph: ‘You would be a missionary, bringing flavour and light to the taste-blind.’

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Satire (I hope).

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

For the main character, Henry, who is odd but not quite as odd as he imagines he is, it could go a couple of different ways: maybe Noah Taylor (I still remember his performance in The Year My Voice Broke) or maybe someone like Tobey Maguire. The fact that he got cut from Life of Pi is a big plus for me.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A specialist food and wine book dealer, Henry, on the cusp of 40, decides that he can save the world through his devotion to food and drink.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m represented by Cameron Creswell.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

That seems such as a distant memory, and I eventually cut so much of the first draft (more than 40,000 words) that I can’t exactly answer. A few months, I guess.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I hate these sorts of questions. In my wildest dreams, Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop. There’s a touch of Jonathan Gash’s Lovejoy books, perhaps. But I don’t know. I’d rather not think about it.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My stomach.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Given that the book is so much about food and drink, I’m hoping that the book’s publisher will consent to a scratch and sniff edition. I’m not sure how they can make that work for the eBook edition.

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