I try to avoid writing “Where I’ve been and why I haven’t been blogging” posts as I feel they’d be woefully repetitive at this point. To describe my blogging as “sporadic” these days would be more than generous. But! There’s a very good reason for that…
Without having made much fanfare about it – self-sabotaging modest as I am – I signed a four-book deal with Hardie Grant Egmont at the end of last year. Retrospective huzzah!
Since then, I’ve been buried in a cycle of writing, editing, proofreading, writing some more, editing some more, procrastinating, writing, sneaking off to watch Youtube, writing, editing…oh, and also working full-time and trying to maintain some semblance of a life. After all, dem bills don’t pay themselves, and that lawn don’t keep itself mowed.
God. Mowing the lawn. Is that really the most exciting example of living life that I could come up with? Heavens to Murgatroyd.
What’s the new series about, you might ask? And even if you didn’t ask and don’t care, I’m going to tell you anyway. That’s just the kind of guy I am.
It’s a Middle-Grade Fantasy series called Paladero, with the first book subtitled The Riders of Thunder Realm. The next natural question is ‘What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is a pala-whateveryousaid?’
“Paladero” is a term I came up with all the way back in the hazy days of 2007. First I took the word paladin (another term for ‘knight’), and then I took the word vaquero (the Spanish term for ‘cowboy’) and I smooshed ‘em together and came up with ‘paladero’.
Which is exactly what these characters are; they’re cowboy-knights. Or cowperson-knights, to be more specific.
Cowperson-knights who ride dinosaurs, to be even more specific than that.
This is an idea I’ve been working on for nearly a decade now in one form or another, and it’s so tantalisingly close to being out there in the world yet still so far away. The tentative release date for The Riders of Thunder Realm is currently July 2016, though this may shift depending on how I go with that whole writing-editing-watchingYouTube-writing-editing-working-living thing.
One way or another, I’ll make sure to update you as things progress. As it stands right now, I’ve seen some early cover designs that look so immensely exciting that I can’t wait to share them, but unfortunately I have to demonstrate some of that “patience” stuff your parents always warned you about. Blah.
But! Again! In the meantime I’ll be hosting another Writers Victoria workshop. This time it’ll be taking place over two days, which means we can get into even more detail about the writing and publishing process. It’s YA for Beginners, it’s Saturday 24 October to Sunday 25 October, it’s going to be awesome, and you can find more details on the WV website.
And even if I’m not blogging, you can still find me online. I have links all over this page to my Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr accounts. Please check ‘em out, give ‘em a follow, and stroke my fragile artiste ego. Tis much appreciated.
Til next time.
One of the questions I get asked the most is whether Vanguard Prime will ever be made into a movie. And from what I’ve experienced, I’m not the only author to be asked this. I know Stephen King was particularly puzzled when he was asked what the film prospects of Vanguard Prime are, given that he’d never heard of it before.
I may have made up that last part.
In any case, book-to-film translations are always a hot topic of conversation. People don’t seem to feel a work has been truly successful until it’s been rendered cinematically with a running time of 2+ hours, and they get the chance to complain about the filmmakers completely missing the point.
But to answer the original question; the chances of Vanguard Prime ever being adapted to the screen are, safe to say, slim to none. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be excited to have it happen, but I’m not exactly pinning any particular hopes on it. After all, it took about 30 years for Ender’s Game to be made into a film, and though I’m quite proud of Vanguard Prime, it’s not exactly recognised as a classic of its genre the way Orson Scott Card’s book is.
So now that I’ve couched all of this in a thick blanket of self-awareness, let’s pretend that a Vanguard Prime movie is something legitimately possible. Who would I cast in it, you might ask. And even if you wouldn’t ask that, I’m going to tell you anyway. That’s just the kind of guy I am.
This would be the trickiest part to cast, given that there’s not really much physical description of Goldrush/Sam in the books. I wanted every reader to formulate their own picture of him…which was kind of defeated when it came time to design the cover, but that’s beside the point. The other issue with casting Sam is that it’s a very time sensitive role; anyone I nominate now would probably be too old in just a couple of years. But if we were going with who I had pictured in my head, it’d have to be Jordan Dang, probably best known for his role as Tim Okazaki in Chris Lilley’s TV series Angry Boys.
I think I’ve discussed this before, but one of the visual inspirations for Machina was Brie Larson, of Scott Pilgrim vs the World and 21 Jump Street fame. She’s not English, and at 25 she may now be a little too old for the part, but between her roles in Scott Pilgrim and The United States of Tara, she’s what I imagined Machina to be.
There were a few different actresses who informed my image of the Major, with chief amongst them being Charlize Theron (particularly because of her role in the music video for Brandon Flowers’ song Crossfire).
But there were a couple of other faces floating around in my head when creating her, which included Stephanie March of Law & Order fame, Australian actress Emma Lung and, most recently, Haywire star and MMA fighter Gina Carano.
Everyone wants Idris Elba cast in everything. Who am I to deny them? And why would I want to?
The Knight of Wands
David Bowie’s appearance in the video for China Girl was very inspirational for the Knight’s appearance, as was Guy Pearce in Memento, but it comes down to two actors for this role. Either I stick with the Prometheus theme that’s developing and say Michael Fassbender, or I go the Jedi route and nominate Ewan McGregor. Either way, everybody wins.
(I can not get these two pictures side-by-side for some reason. Clearly they’ve had a disagreement.)
Outside of a cameo on 30 Rock I have no idea about Padma Lakshi’s acting ability, but she was highly influential when it came to envisioning what Gaia looked like. But I think Freida Pinto could just as easily make the role hers (and once again, their photos are fighting with each other).
So that’s the team, but what are heroes without some villains to fight? Here’s a small selection of who I’d pick to be the Big Bad.
Alexander Skarsgard. Because obviously.
The lead antagonist in War Zone was inspired by singer/actor/general awesome guy Henry Rollins, who may now be a little too old and grey for the role but…well, who cares?
I always pictured Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the Emperor, the Knight of Wands’ brother and chief adversary. Obviously, and very sadly, that’s no longer a possibility, and given that I can’t wrap my head around it I figured I’d nominate the next member down the food chain in the Major Arcana. Namely…
And this is a bit of a weird one, because I imagine it to be Doc Hammer, the co-creator and one of the lead voice actors from The Venture Bros animated series. He plays a variety of characters on the series, and I’m sure his skills would translate easily to live action. Plus it would amuse me immensely.
And that’s my list. Hopefully this doesn’t contradict too much with what the readers of the series have pictured, and if it has then just bear in mind that this is only my opinion. If you have a completely different vision, I’d love to hear about it. Otherwise I’ll be over here. By the phone. Waiting for that call from Hollywood to come. Which I’m sure will be any minute now. Especially given that international superstar Doc Hammer is attached to star. Box office gold. License to print money. Third salient point.
Last year, I was asked if I’d be interested in being a guest blogger for Writing Teen Novels. I was flattered to be asked and of course said yes. The aim was to write 12 posts that would run once a month through 2014.
If you’re interested in writing, and writing for young people in particular, I highly recommend checking out the blog. It’s packed full of insightful commentary from published authors, all hoping to share their expertise. And me too, making it up as I go along…which, really, is the definition of storytelling, isn’t it?
Hopefully this will go a little way towards explaining why I’ve been so quiet with the blog lately. The other explanation is this…
This won’t make any sense now, but with some luck it should with time. Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself by talking about it too soon.
I’m planning on writing up both a playlist for War Zone and another entry in the Making of a Superhero series of posts. With some luck that’ll happen before another New Year’s Eve rolls around. But in the meantime, make sure to keep an eye on Writing Teen Novels and please feel welcome to leave some feedback. I’d love to answer any questions anyone might have.
…or at least make up an answer.