Last week my friend, the charming and talented Erin Keane, tagged me in The Next Big Thing—a rolling blog-based self-interview in which writers talk about their upcoming projects. As a handy coincidence, I happen to have an upcoming project. So without further ado…here’s THE NEXT BIG THING!!
1. What is the working title of the book?
The book has had a couple of working titles. At first I was calling it Wolf Tickets, but now it is called Mad Dogs and Englishmen. That’s also the title of a Noel Coward song that was a hit in 1931. Since my book is a British werewolf novel set in 1931, I felt that was too serendipitous to pass up. I hope that’s the one that sticks; the publisher has final say on the title, but I’m luckily given lots of input.
2. Where did the idea come from for this book?
This book is a sequel to my 2011 novel Barking Mad. THAT book was inspired by my love of Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, and the old Universal horror films. This one is a natural extension of the first. The central event in Mad Dogs and Englishmen is the marriage ceremony of two characters who hooked up in the first novel. I also wanted to flesh out some plot lines that were only hinted at in the first one.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Downton Abbey as a supernatural buddy film.
4. What actors would you choose to play the parts of your characters in a movie rendition?
Why is it that writers love to do this? We all do—it’s sort of the fantasy football league for the literary set. I’m surprised how hard I find this, actually. The characters have a clear look and demeanor in my head, and it’s difficult to put other people’s faces on them. But here we go.
I hate to continue the Downton Abbey thing, but I think Dan Stevens would make a rather perfect Reggie. Pelham is a little harder, ideally he’d be Arthur-era Geilgud (actually artist Ali Larock used Geilgud as one of the references for her illustration of Pelham in Barking Mad). Since Sir John is dead, we’d have to go with someone else. Anthony Stewart Head, perhaps? Simon Callow could do it. Fanny Ampersand, the young American ingenue who goes after Reggie, would be best played by my Walking Dead crush, Emily Kinney, since she has the look and can sing, as Fanny does. Mimsy is much, much harder. She’s sort of a younger Alex Kingston, but I’m open to suggestions there.
Why don’t I cop out and do that? There are some Reginald Spiffington fans out there, yeah? Who do YOU think should play Reggie, Pelham, Mimsy, Moony, and Arabella? Leave suggestions in the comments below.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
While attending the marriage of his friends Moony and Arabella, carefree playboy Reginald Spiffington and his trusty manservant Pelham must contend with romantic tensions, society politics, werewolf hunters, and murder.
6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’ll let you know when it’s finished. I wrote ten thousand words or so right after the first novel came out, and then set it aside to write another novel and a play. I picked it back up when Typecast asked for a sequel. If I make the deadline (and never fear, I might) it will all told be six or seven months of drafting.
7. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This is sort of question #2 in a new set of clothes, isn’t it? I was inspired to create Reginald Spiffington during a long shower in which I thought about my love for country house murder-mysteries, P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories, and the Universal horror films of the 30s and 40s. I fantasized about a story in which all three could happen at once, and decided I had better write it. The present book is a continuation of those characters’ stories.
8. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you read the first book, you might be interested to find out more about Signor Reynaldo MacGregor and his organization. And you might really be interested to see what happens when Mimsy Borogove gets jealous of a young American socialite who sets her sights on Reggie. Plus all the usual suspects: scotch, fine dining, witty repartee.
And it’s a Typecast book, so it’ll look kick-ass.
9. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. I don’t have an agent, but I am working with a publisher. Typecast Publishing, the extraordinary folks who published Barking Mad, are also bringing Mad Dogs and Englishmen into the world. I couldn’t be in better hands.
Also check out these amazing authors:
Eva Ridenhour (who will be doing the Next Big Thing next Wednesday)
Amy Carol Reeves (who did it a couple of weeks ago)
Ray McManus (who doesn't even know he's been tagged)