The Next Big Thing


Someone came up with a fun, kooky idea to get a bunch of authors talking about their upcoming work. After a lot of arm twisting, getting poked with hot irons, and some kind of water torture involving Jello, I relented. Nah, I’m kidding, ask any author what they’re working on and you’ll have to use a mallet to shut them up.

The viral discussion involves answering a series of questions, then “tagging” other authors to contribute blog information on their Next Big Thing. My thanks go to Matthew Boroson for tagging me. Let’s begin, shall we?

What is the working title of your next book?

The next book I have coming out is called The Dynasty Sentinel. It’s a future-retro steampunk story; the future portion actually takes place hundreds of years in the future after a nuclear holocaust, and the retro portion is that society is just getting to the steam, coal, and hydraulic technological stages.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I actually had a set of short stories based around a sentient nuclear weapon that was shaped like a 17-year old girl. She had no clue that she was a manufactured killing machine. Her personality came from the daughter of the scientist who crafted the weapon. The apocalypse caught up with them before she could be activated.

The short stories had her running around and acting like a heroine. She was bulletproof, she had super-strength and speed, and she was trying to find out about her past. I finally figured out there was enough story to build a trilogy. Imagine if you had Star Trek’s Data running around London in 1860.

What genre does your book fall under?

I would say it’s a non-traditional steampunk story. The vast majority of the steampunk elements are there, including airships and steam trains. Electricity is known, but it is controlled by the church-based government. Only the church can use electricity, because they are the only ones who can control the technology that brought about the nuclear war–yeah, right. Each city-state has its own church, and each church is different. Some are benevolent, but most are corrupt and controlled by petty, power-hungry men.

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

I honestly haven’t thought about that, but now that the question was posed, I’ll take a stab at it.

  • Elenin, the main character: Zhang Ziyi, the young Chinese actress from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
  • Lord Percival Falkin, the villain: Hugh Jackman, Geoffrey Rush, or Viggo Mortensen.
  • Mal Worthington, the evil henchman: Russel Crowe or Daniel Craig.
  • Leeds, the coal miner who “finds” Elenin and becomes her father: Tommy Lee Jones
  • Mysta, Elenin’s best friend: Emma Watson.
  • “Bumbling” Bernake, Elenin’s friend and protector: Jason Statham.
  • Sylvana, the mysterious woman: Milla Jovovich

What is the two-sentence synopsis of your book?

This isn’t the final two-sentence pitch, but here goes:

Elenin is discovered in a pre-holocaust lab buried deep in a coal mine, the last of the Dynasty Sentinels — sentient nuclear bioweapons that kept the peace between warring nations…but her 17-year old imprinted personality was never activated until Leeds, a poor coal miner, finds and raises her as his daughter in a steam-powered society. When she is discovered by Lord Falkin, the corrupt and power-hungry ChurchState regional governor, Elenin flees, accompanied by old and new friends and pursued by Falkin’s minions across the continent as she tries to reach the benevolent city-state of Sanctuary.

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

It will be out in 2013 from Yurei Press.

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

Four years, if you count the original short stories.

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

It’s a rollercoaster chase story, with technology tossed in. I’d say perhaps the Golden Compass series sans magic.


That concludes my version of the Next Big Thing. I have fifteen short stories in various slushpiles (with more on the way) and four novels or novellas in the works.

I’ll tag five people here to carry on The Next Big Thing.


In the meantime, here are other authors you may be interested in:

Betsy Dornbusch

Matthew Boroson

Travis Heerman

Thomas A. Fowler

A. M. Schiling

Kerry Gleason

Guy De Marco

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