The Next Big Thing

Welcome to The Next Big Thing

My friend and colleague Timothy Hurley, a New York City writer of satire and spec fiction, recently tagged me for an author’s blog hop titled The Next Big Thing. The deal is this: each author answers a few questions about his /her current work-in-progress, then invites other authors to do the same. A bit like a chain letter, except it is only focused on an author’s work-in-progress. Timothy was tagged previously by Patrick Jones, and 100s if not 1000s of great writers before them. I’ve included links to their blogs so you can explore their answers to the same questions.

So this week is my go. And in turn I’ve tagged six outstanding writers from around the globe to continue the blog hop.

393px-Heimdal_(1907)_by_J__T__Lundbye

So here goes, my version of The Next Big Thing:

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

Ragnarök Willie. Pronounced will’-ee.  Just kidding, it’s rahg’-nuh-rœk.  The battle at the end of the world. Don’t try to say it five times fast, or to a drunken Swede. Or to an Old Norse genie as your third wish.

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

I wrote a short story about modern-day valkyries (“How a Valkyrie Flies,” as of yet unpublished) that ended in a battle atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge between two (only) of the valkyries.  But an early reviewer of the piece, a fellow writer, said “hey, how come you didn’t have all thirteen of them (the valkyries) duking it out?” or some such.  So I promptly wrote up a new short story that ended in such a thirteen-sided battle.  But there was no way to contain such epic-ness in a short , so Ragnarök Willie grew into a full-scale novel about a twenty-something Swedish slacker, thirteen semi-mythical valkyries, three blacksmiths, ice hockey and video game addiction, a frost giantess, and an arms dealer. And Ragnarök.

3.      What genre does your book fall under?

Mythica:myth based urban fantasy.  Mythica stories can be based on any mythos, and can also be set in any era, although they tend to be contemporary.  Ragnarök Willie is set in modern Sweden and is, of course, based on Norse mythology.  My copy of Snorri Sturulson’s thirteenth-century Prose Edda would be dog-eared if it wasn’t on my Kindle.

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

That’s a tough one.  For my protagonist, Lasse Nordberg, I’d want an authentic Swedish actor, but he has to be rather short and look like a normal Sven. As for the valkyries, bring on the A-list of strong-willed, buffed-out, bad-girl actresses aching for a chance to kick butt. Angela and Uma, Anne and Megan, Catherine and even Lindsay. If Quvenzhané Wallis has a little sister to play young Siggi that would be perfect. Throw in Glen Close and Meryl Streep to play the two ancient valkyries, Skuld and Geiravör. And since this is fantasy, can I have a 60-year-old version of Sean Connery to play Ragnarök Willie?

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

Thirteen semi-mythical valkyries, a blue-bearded giantess, a famous archeologist, the Swedish secret police and Lasse Nordberg, unemployed college dropout, search for Tor’s hammer. Lasse finds it.

(Ok, 1.2 sentences.)

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

I would very much like to find an agent for this, but I’m not kidding myself that it will be easy.  My odds are as long as Lasse’s. But hey, if there are any agents out there who are interested, call me.

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

About eight months.  But the first draft is the easy part, it’s the editing and refinement and editing and rewrites that take time to get right.

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

Norse Code, by Greg van Eekhout, is one if the definitive novels on the subject.  And I have to admit I also read a few of Kresley Cole’s Immortals after Dark series as well, although I certainly don’t claim that this is a paranormal romance. It is, however, far from normal and there is lots of romance.

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

I lived and worked in Sweden for a couple of years, learning the language in pubs and the culture, well in pubs too.  I’m a big fan of rune stones, long-buried ships and those horned hats in the tourist shops. Having three daughters, I like writing about strong-willed females who don’t need a prince to rescue them.  And, like Reginleif, I do like hammers.

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

It’s set in the far north of Sweden, above the Arctic Circle, in the dead of winter.  It has battle maidens and battle tanks, Tor’s mythical warhammer and a three-legged dog. It’s full of white-hot blondes with ice-cold axes, yet the protagonist picks the—ok, no spoilers. And for those readers whose Norse mythology may be a little rusty, Ragnarök is the Old Norse equivalent of Armageddon, with a different set of winners and losers.  How’s that for stakes?

Thanks again to Timothy and Patrick. You can read their versions of The Next Big Thing at The Lunatic Assylum and The Linden Chronicles respectively.

The next The Next Big Things:

Here are the blog links for the six emerging authors whom I’ve tagged for the next installments of The Next Big Thing.  They’ll be posting their takes on or about April 15th. Check them out.

About the author:

C.R. Hodges lives in Colorado with his wife, three daughters, a dog, a turtle and no ghosts that he knows of. He has eight short stories published with two more shorts under contract for publication in 2013. One of his shorts, “Three-Quarters Martian,” originally published in On the Premises and subsequently republished in audio format in EscapePod, was recognized in The Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2011 as one of the best online short stories of 2011. Other publications in which his work has appeared include Bards and Sages Quarterly, The First Line, and Kazka Press. When he is not writing, playing the tuba or coaching youth softball, he a runs a design services company.

Med vänliga hälsningar,

CR Hodges

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8 Responses to The Next Big Thing

  1. Pingback: The Next Big Thing Interview | The Lunatic Assylum*

  2. Nice interview, C.R. Best of luck with the book. Sounds great.

  3. Pingback: Welcome the The Next Big Thing! | Diana Jackson's Muse, Views and Reviews

  4. Pingback: Welcome to the Next Big Thing! | A Selection of Recollections

  5. Pingback: It’s the Next Best Thing – Blog Hop! | Ronnie Dauber..author & freelance writer

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  7. Pingback: The Next Big Thing – blog hop | Christine M. Hannon, Author, Artist and Poet

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