So there's this thing going around. Not the flu, although yes, that too. This one is called The Next Big Thing, and the idea is basically, on a predetermined Wednesday, a writer answers ten questions on his or her blog, and at the end of the post, tags five other writers, and the following Wednesday, those five answer the same ten questions, link back to whoever tagged them, and tag five more, and so on, until every writer in the known universe has had a turn.
This week, having been tagged by my pal Kane Gilmour, it's my turn.
1. What is the working title of your next book?
The working title was Wolf Weather, but we've since decided to call it Season of the Wolf. Oddly, I think that makes "Season" the word that has appeared in my book titles more than any other (besides maybe words like "the" and "of," I guess: the four Witch Season books (which became the four Dark Vengeance books), and CSI: The Burning Season all had it. I don't remember any other word that shows up more often. I like seasons, though. They're evocative--just name one, and all sorts of associations flow from it.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I plan to write about this at some length, at a later date, because it's a story unto itself. The quick answer is that it was originally a comic book pitch. The comic didn't go anywhere but the idea wouldn't leave me alone. Something like 10 years later, I wrote it as a novel.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Season of the Wolf is a supernatural thriller. There are elements of a straight thriller/suspense novel in it, and I think it's a page-turner. But there's also a supernatural aspect to it. And kind of a science-oriented aspect, as well. So maybe it's a supernatural science thriller. But there's also some romance, and...
Never mind, we'll stop there. As with all the great books, it's a lot of things at once.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I never "cast" my books with actual actors. I guess in all seriousness, I'd want whoever are the top box office draws in the world at any given moment, because the whole point of selling a book to a movie studio is to make some money, right?
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Alex Converse, heir to a coal company fortune, goes to Silver Gap hoping to soothe his own conscience, but instead finds himself embroiled in mysterious disappearances, murder, and pitched battle against an implacable pack of wolves.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Season of the Wolf will be published by DarkFuse. My agent made the deal.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Not counting the decade I spent thinking about it? About three months, give or take.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Probably Whitley Streiber's The Wolfen comes closest, because that was not a true werewolf story, and neither is Season of the Wolf. There's something strange about the wolves in my book--but I'm not going to tell you what, because that would give away one of the book's main secrets. You have to read it to find out. Most horror stories about wolves, though, are about werewolves. Not the case here.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As mentioned earlier, once I had the idea, it would not leave me alone until I had written it. I think what stuck with me was the idea of a little mountain town besieged by wolves that just will not give up, and how the people of that town deal with it.
Another inspiration was a desire to write about climate change, not in a pedantic way but in a way that would make the reality come alive, within the confines of a suspenseful tale that the reader can't put down.
Literary inspirations would have to include the late, great Ross Macdonald, who had a knack for writing about real-world issues (particularly environmental ones) in the context of riveting detective stories. Contemporary thriller writers who can do this with social issues include James Lee Burke, Laura Lippman, and Richard Price. I always look to William Goldman as a master of building suspense, and when I'm writing about the outdoors and the natural world, Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey are never far from my thoughts.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
What, you need more? Scary-ass wolves, people in jeopardy, a whole town's existence threatened, forests ravaged by pine-bark beetles, characters you care about in trouble. And did I mention scary-ass wolves?
Seriously, though, rather than expound at length about how wonderful the book is, I'll leave you with a quote from the first published review, by Rebecca Lovatt at The Arched Doorway: "Season of the Wolf is full of twists that will surprise readers time and time again. With his rich use of description, Mariotte has created a story which will grab the attention of readers and will have them hooked until the very last page; hoping for the survival of characters that they will come to love, even when the odds are against them."
Plus also, there's going to be a contest, closer to publication date. It's a cool contest and it involves wolves. So keep checking back here for more on that.
Time to tag five unsuspecting victims--I mean, deserving writers:
Nicole Cushing is a fellow DarkFuse author. Visit her at Laughing at the Abyss.
Pete Brandvold is an old pard and a great western writer. Check him out at Writing for the Brand.
David Mack is a fellow Star Trek author. Boldly go to The Analog Blog.
Mercedes Murdock Yardley is such a great horror writer, you'd never know she writes on A Broken Laptop.
David Lee Summers writes (and edits) all kinds of stuff, including vampire stories, steampunk, weird westerns and more. Drop in on him at The Scarlet Order Vampires.