I’ve been invited by Zelda Rhiando, author and recent winner of the £10,000 Kidwell-e Book prize for her amazing debut Caposcripti (find her site at www.badzelda.com) to take the Next Big Thing questionnaire, where authors talk about what they’re publishing next.

So I did.

Future authors taking the questionnaire will be Tom Bullough, author of Konstantin and Brian Chikwava, author of Harare North. Their answers will be posted here:

What is the title of your next book?

The Gospel According to Cane, which is published on 5th Feb 2013. I’m also working on a collection of sci fi shorts called Cosmogramma, a title I ‘borrowed’ from the musician Flying Lotus.

Where did the idea for the books come from?
The Gospel According to Cane – I was watching TV and the thought hit me – what if I could use the abduction of a child as an allegory for the so-called ‘lost generation’ and the gap between them and members of society considered ‘normal’

And Cosmogramma – I’ve been wanting to try out sci fi for awhile and I had 3 shorts lying about and then I wrote one more called Scarecrow and I thought – ‘Well, I’m liking this.’ So I kept on. Re-reading Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild and Robert Sheckley’s Store of the World certainly didn’t hurt.

What genre do your books fall under?

Contemporary lit.

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

In Gospel, Thandie Newton and Idriss Elba as the leads. Can’t think who would play the boy – too many good young Black actors out there nowadays!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your books?

The Gospel According to Cane – Beverley Cottrell has finally managed to piece her life together after her 8 month old son was abducted twenty years ago, only to see a young man who stalks her everywhere she goes, who claims to be her long-lost son.

Am still working on Cosmogramma so I don’t have one yet…

Will your books be self-published or represented by an agency?
Gospel… is published by Akashic in the US and Telegram in the UK. Cosmogramma could be self-published, not sure yet.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscripts?

Six months and at least four years and counting respectively.

What other books would you compare the story to within your genre?

If you like Percival Everett, Richard Price, Annie Proux or Siri Hustvedt’s The Summer Without Men, you might like Gospel.

Who or What inspired you to write them?

The idea that I have to dig deep; say what I really mean; write for myself without thought of being published, being clever, or being a celeb – just write from the heart.

What else about your books might pique the reader’s interest?

This is an immersion into a world that is rarely seen in fiction, and hopefully a wild ride! I want the reader to forget they’re reading and actually live with these characters. If you believe that good writing doesn’t necessarily negate having a page turning plot, then you should have a read of this latest novel. It’s intense but there’s a lot of hope.