The wonderful Miranda Suri tagged me in her Next Big Thing blog post, which means I get to talk about my WIP and pass the baton to other writers for their chance.

With no more than the median quantity of ado…

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

1. What is the title of your book?


(The title has been shrinking as I go. At one point it was Devising of His Hands. Then Devising. Then just Devise. I don’t know if it can get any shorter still, but if you see a novel titled i, it’s probably this one)

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

I had been slaving away on a (now-abandoned) project and getting quite burned out on it. November crept up on me, and it was NaNoWriMo season. I wanted to try something completely different, and so I started researching and writing.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Ancient Urban Fantasy? Realistic time-travel superhero? Stonepunk? No less than Patrick Nielsen Hayden said it has all the trappings of Science Fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’ve avoided thinking of this up to this very moment. Yes, I’ve seen other NBT posts and knew this question was coming, but deliberately blocked thoughts of it from my mind.

The modern-day main character is kind of like me. Geeky, but capable of deep frustration with technology. I’m going to go with Wil Wheaton.

The ancient shepherd/sidekick is younger, with a sense of wonder about the world. And superpowers, kind of. Maybe the lead kid from Super 8.

There’s a powerful and progressive priestess, for which I’d have to go with Noomi Rapace, or maybe Tilda Swinton.

Hey, this is kind of fun.

Hot on their trail are an unlikely pair of evil archaeologists. Gotta go with Sean Connery for the older gentleman. For the female, Cate Blanchett (or if Joss Whedon is directing, Scarlett Johansson)

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

A modern-day shepherd abandons technology to go live in the desert, but gets thrown back in time a few thousand years and has to re-establish technology to survive.

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

At the moment, I’m talking to a few select publishers directly. An agent is not out of the question.

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

The first draft, or at least 50k words of it, were done during a NaNoWriMo. Subsequent drafts have taken much longer. I brought the first 8k words to Viable Paradise and had it ripped to shreds by the above-mentioned  PNH as well as several people you may have heard of.

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

Too many time-travel stories to mention them all, but A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is at the front of the list. Harry Turtledove’s Between The Rivers has a similar setting, but opposite premise. Robert Silverberg’s Gilgamesh the King (and of course the original Gilgameš epic) were pivotal. In the realm of nonfiction, the remarkable Sir Leonard Woolley’s Ur of the Chaldees and Thorkild Jacobsen’s The Harps that Once… (Sumerian poetry in translation) are a must-read. I have a soft spot for Cass Dalglish’s loose translation of Enheduanna’s Nin-me-sar-ra in Humming the Blues. Somebody stop me, I could go on and on and on and on…

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

In one sense, it’s a response/rebuttal to Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, which was the first introduction to the Sumerians that I actually read. I got fascinated by the culture and the sense of invention (cities! agriculture! writing! beer!) and wanted to create something in this setting, without resorting to making Enki an actual character.

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

Did I mention superheroes? I’m always looking for an angle for “realistic” superhero stories, and this one’s a doozy. You’ll want to believe. And the Sumerian language I use is all plausibly real.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

Yes, Miranda Suri tagged me, and I’m tagging the following people because they are awesome and have each taught me something valuable.

Vincent Jorgensen

Julia Dvorin

Amy Sundberg

Emily Jiang

That’s your notice guys. In maybe a week or so, go check out their blogs and see who they’ve tagged. Hurry, because mathematically this can’t go on for too many more generations before every human being in the universe is on the hook.