The Next Big Thing

My turn to play, thanks to Henry Szabranski who tagged me…

1) What is the working title of your next book/short story/project?
It's a short story, tentatively called "The Sold Soul" (a title I'm probably not going to keep, but I have a long and difficult history with titles).

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

I had written another story with a powerful witch character–and then as I sat thinking about the classic "witch sells her soul to the devil in exchange for magic powers" narrative, I thought that if I was *that* powerful, there's no way I'd let the devil have my soul after the bargain. It all came from that.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Epic fantasy? Though it's a bit difficult to classify short stories as "epic", I suppose ("epic" needs length, doesn't it?).

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

The witch should be played by a Judi Dench type; an older woman, with unbelievable energy and tons of charisma. There's just one problem though: my characters are supposed to be black. So since I'm not very well-versed in African or Indian cinema, let's just say an actress with very dark skin and an acting style somewhat similar do Judi Dench's? There's a younger female character who might be played by a 15-year-old, black Elena Anaya (the fantastic actress who stars in Almodovar's La piel que habito), and if someone could get me a black Toshiro Mifune to pla the male character, that would be great.

Writing this also tells me that I need to learn a little about African cinema.

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

"After bargaining with the devil for some magic powers, our heroin decides to cheat the devil of her soul, and hires a desperate young girl to help her get away with it."

That makes sense?

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

Seeing as I have zero published fiction to my credit, it would be a good idea to try and publish it professionally, wouldn't it?

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

Technically it's not finished, although I did use a modified version of that story as the starting point for a, AD&D campaign once (which took about an afternoon to prepare…).

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

I think it would be closer to folktales about people managing to deceive the devil, even though it does have more of an epic fantasy cast than modern fairy-tales. There's one Czech tale about an ugly woman named Katja vowing to dance with the devil if no man will dance with her that might be close, for instance.

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

Every now and then, I create a character for a story, and then I realise that there might be more to that character than I could use, and more stories stem from there. This is what happened here: a story I finished, which then developped into another story, which may yield more stories once I've finished cooking the plots in my head.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Hm. Aside from resurrecting the popular mediaeval "outwit the devil" trope in an epic fantasy context, I also tried to put in interesting women characters, and experiment with an imaginary non-Western, matriarchal society. That will probably take a bit of work to get right, though, so I won't rush this story into the editors' inboxes.

To the best of my knowledge, Beth Cato and Jenny Gordon haven't played yet, so let me tag them!


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