Thursday, December 06, 2012


The Next Big Thing: FATHER GAETANO’S PUPPET CATECHISM So…most of you probably know this already…maybe…possibly. There’s a wonderful blog-contagion going on, something called THE NEXT BIG THING. A blog-hop, they call it, and in it authors are mean to answer a handful of questions about their latest work and then tag five or so other authors to do the same the following week. As you might imagine, it’s growing exponentially. I mean, do the math, right? A month or so ago, my good friend Stephen Volk ( ) asked me if I wanted to do it, but I was on a craaazy deadline for my upcoming thriller for St. Martin’s, SNOWBLIND, which is now complete. Then, a week or so ago, the great and funny and charming and brilliant Dana Cameron tagged me. I was on a different deadline, no less desperate, but I realized that if I didn’t jump in, I was going to miss the Next Big Thing entirely. The circus would have passed me by. Also, I didn’t want Dana mad at me. Bitch’ll cut a guy. Of course, I was supposed to have this blog up yesterday, so I may yet face her wrath. My answers to the questions—and the poor suckers I’ve tagged for next week—are below, but you should also go and check out Dana’s Next Big Thing blog from last week, and pick up her first urban fantasy, SEVEN KINDS OF HELL. Where did the idea come from for the book? CG: FATHER GAETANO’S PUPPET CATECHISM is the third book I’ve done with Mike Mignola. The prior novels (BALTIMORE and JOE GOLEM AND THE DROWNING CITY) were conceived by Mike. This one—though it has so many elements that are near and dear to Mike’s heart—was my idea. We were on the phone one day, talking about our love of puppets and how unnerving they can be, and the idea hit me pretty much fully-formed, which is rare but nice. It’s short and a St. Martin’s has made a beautiful little book that would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who loves fantasy, horror, or just plain weird. What genre does your book fall under? CG: It’s a supernatural story, so you could call it horror, but I think anyone who enjoys dark fantasy would enjoy it as well. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? CG: Funnily enough, it isn’t the actors I think of when I think of a film version of this story—it’s the style. I’d love to see it directed by someone like Henry Selick, done like Coraline or Corpse Bride.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? CG: In the aftermath of a critical World War II battle, Father Gaetano believes that God has called him to teach catechism to a group of young orphans and to restore their faith in God, but he soon finds that it can be dangerous to rely too much on what one perceives as the wishes of one’s creator. Oh, and there are puppets that come to life. [Two sentences. Sue me.] Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? CG: The book was published about six weeks ago, but was sold at the very tail end of a period of many years in which I represented myself, so the answer to that question is neither. Shortly after selling the book to St. Martin’s, I signed on with the great, and dashingly handsome, Howard Morhaim, and I feel fortunate to have him in my corner. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? CG: About a month, I think. Remember, it’s a novella, not a full-length novel. I’m not sure how long it took Mike to do the illustrations. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? CG: I can’t think of any, really. I’m sure there are plenty and that readers can draw comparisons, but the first thing that comes to mind for me is The Twilight Zone, and not because of the various living doll stories that Serling did. There’s just something about the subtle alteration of reality, the eeriness, and the way in which that series always used the supernatural to explore larger themes that I loved, and the influence of that show on a lot of my work is clear. I do think that if you like creepy, then you’ll like this story. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? CG: It’s got a gorgeous cover and creepy illustrations by my co-author, Mike Mignola, who is not only the creator of Hellboy, but the greatest and truest artist working in comics today. And those are the questions, folks. The lovely and ruthless Dana Cameron tagged me this week, but she also tagged three other great writers. Here’s what Dana had to say about them…. Toni L. P. Kelner ( ): I've been a fan of Toni's award-winning writing since her Laura Fleming books, and wait until you see her new series, starting with The Skeleton in the Armoire (as Leigh Perry)! I'll let her tell you about that next week! Kat Richardson's () latest novel Seawitch, was #3 on the Locus Hardcover Bestseller list for November! Kat and I got acquainted via anthologies Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (which Toni edited with Charlaine Harris) and most recently, Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. Elaine Viets () has TWO series: the Helen Hawthorne "Dead End Job" mysteries, and the Josie Marcus "Mystery Shopper mysteries." Elaine and I are both members of the Femmes Fatales (as is Toni), and she'll be posting her Next Big thing blog there. ******************* And now we get to the folks I’m tagging, the amazingly talented writers to whom I have spread the Next Big Thing contagion. Look for their posts next Tuesday, December 12th! S.G. Browne’s latest novels are Lucky Bastard (which has a neat little blurb from yours truly, every word of which I meant) and I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus…and you know you need that freakin’ book right now. Cherie Priest is the author of the hugely successful Clockwork Century novels, including Boneshaker and the latest, The Inexplicables. She’s also written creepy-as-all-get-out Southern Gothic supernatural tales and urban fantasy, has dynamite fashion sense, and different hair every time I see her. Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the ass-kicking urban fantasy Black London novels and the YA series The Iron Codex, which has the best titles. I mean, book two is The Nightmare Garden, that’s pretty damn cool. She once told me that she’s not ready for the zombie apocalypse but she is prepared for the kitten apocalypse. Make of that what you will. Yes, Amber Benson is the author of the Death's Daughter series of urban fantasy novels, among other things, and yes, she’s an actress-writer-director who has been elevated to the status of cult icon in recent years. She’s also my little sister, gave me the best nickname ever, and commandeers my daughter’s “princess bed” at every opportunity. As far as I know, the only thing that all four of these writers have in common is that they have all written short stories for anthologies I have edited, which means they bear the same psychological scars. Happy Holidays!!!


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