The Next Big Thing

I was tagged by John Joseph Adams to take part in The Next Big Thing meme, which basically asks writers to answer a set of questions that appear on blog after blog. There’s nothing I hate more than a chain letter. There’s nothing I love more than a good Q&A. Evenly balanced, I was swayed by my adoration of all things John Joseph Adams and decided to participate. I’ll start by imploring you — begging you — to read Wastelands, the finest post apocalyptic anthology ever created. Okay. Now to the questions.

What is the title of your next book?

Third Shift. It’s the sequel to Second Shift . Before that was First Shift. 

I’m sorta famous for my wild imagination.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Readers. They were very upset at me for Second Shift. They insisted it should’ve been longer. They said the same thing about First Shift and Wool. It’s never enough with these people.

What genre does your book fall under?

Romance. My book is science fiction, so alphabetically, I think it falls under Romance.

Are these the real original questions or is John Joseph Adams having fun with me?

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

I picture myself playing the lead role of Donald, so I would say Brad Pitt. The character of Mission, who is a lot younger but equally handsome, would also be played by Brad Pitt. But with CGI. Like they did in that film where he shrank.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

You do know that Proust was able to stretch a sentence along for page after page, and if you weren’t aware of this fact, well then I’m here to tell you that he indeed was capable of such a thing, and that just when you thought his mega and ridiculous sentences were going to end, he’d do something clever, like use a semi-colon where good sense calls for a period; my book is about people living underground after the world has been made uninhabitable.

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

That’s a tricky one. I like to think of myself as a self-published author, because the chicks dig that, but in truth I’ve become something of a hybrid, and nobody but Monsanto thinks that’s cool. I’ll put Third Shift out on my own here in the U.S. via Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. Random House will release the Shift trilogy in the UK and Australia a little later. Hopefully, Simon and Schuster will want to print the book here if Wool does well in March. It’s all a bit confusing, to be honest. I like this question the least.

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

The one I’m working on right now? It took a month. Exactly. I wrote it as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The challenge is to write an entire 50,000 word novel in the month of November. And then you revise it afterward until it becomes legible.

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

That’s tricky. Nobody else is foolish enough to write books as strange as these. I would say the Shift trilogy is part Rip Van Winkle and part Pelican Brief.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Bill Pillow. He was my boss at my old day job in a bookstore. I no longer have that job, which means I better keep writing and selling books. Food costs money, you know.

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

This will be one of my only books not to feature a cliffhanger epilogue. I promise. Maybe. Or…


Cool, I did it! Now I get to tag five other contestants  And here they are! May the odds forever be in their favor!

Erik Wecks
Susan Kaye Quinn
David Adams
Sara Cannon
Bella Andre

(Check their blogs next week and see if they rose to the challenge or slunk off into the woods like ninnies!)

18 responses to “The Next Big Thing”

  1. Wool is the most original story I’ve read in years or ever, I’m not sure . But I am positive that I need to know what is going on in Jul’s life. I’ve waited long enough! If third shift dosnt tell us I’m sure I can recruit a team to grab u and force the story out we’ve learned a lot about enhanced interigation methods. But seriously get silo 18 going and keep it going forever . Reading Molly Fyde now. Very good. Thanks. Mike

    1. Hugh has already confirmed (by a comment I made on a previous post. Sorry, can’t remember the post.) that Third Shift will be about what happened to Jimmy/Solo in Silo 17. Wool 9 will continue the story of Jules and Co. Sorry, but we all have to wait a little longer.

  2. I can tell that you are still a little giddy from your 9:00 announcement and your splendid ballet video.

  3. “I’ve become something of a hybrid, and nobody but Monsanto thinks that’s cool”


    My Dad thinks it’s cool, but that’s because he spent half his life trying to make virus-resistant strains of winter wheat. Ok, maybe the opinions of a 73 year old who shakes his fist at the liberal media and keeps current onthe benefits of ginkgo biloba isn’t a demographic you’re aiming to reach.

    1. I like GE crops, actually. They’re GREAT!

  4. I agree with Sarra and Susan. Will check out others! Thanks for recs :)

  5. I have to say, I hope you keep self-pubbing. Your work is excellent, very creative and original. You deserve all the profits yourself! :o)

    Keep writing (oh, no . . . I’ve become one of those demanding readers!)

  6. I like post apoc, so I downloaded the anthology on your recommendation. You’re entire reputation is riding on this.

    You mostly write purty good words what I like to read.

  7. there are two stories I recall that have a resemblance to “Wool” and its sequels, and those are:

    1) The Genocides, where a small number of humans survives an alien invasion on the surface of the planet by living underground, while on the surface, the aliens begin their xenoforming of Earth to fit their alien biology.

    2) 12 Monkeys, in which the ‘present time’ humanity survives in underground bunkers and send the occasional heavily-enviro-suited member of their underclass to the surface to take samples to check if the deadly virus has become less deadly. The original story, “la Jetee” is more concerned with time travel, but is also focused upon attempts to save the society that has been forced underground.

    The differences here, are, of course, obvious.

  8. “The Genocides” was written by Thomas Disch, one of my favorite science fiction authors (though this is not my favorite of his works, it is very depressing…

    “La jetee” is a short film created by Chris Marker.

  9. So what happened to you?

    My son passed away this year, and I think watching him die and the unfairness of it all has made your books very appealing. I can relate to them and see relevance to my life.

    But what happened to you to make you be able to write this stuff? I’m sorry for whatever tragedy left the scar on your soul.

    On a lighter note, I loved watching the unboxing video. It’s always a joy to see someones wildest dreams come true.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Bryan!

      The original WOOL story was written not long after losing my dog, a far less tragic loss than your own, but the worst thing I’d been through. I’m generally an upbeat guy. I like to think my soul is mostly intact.

      All my best to you.

  10. Greetings…
    That interview was awesome! As a thirteen year old author myself you are a real inspiration, Mr. Howey! I’ve read all of your books and I love them. You are my hero

    1. A thirteen year old author? Kelsey, YOU are MY hero!

      I dreamed of writing when I was your age, but I was too lazy and not brave enough to follow that dream. You’ve got a great head start on me. Keep it up!

  11. Thanks for thinking of me, Hugh! I decided not to be a ninny. :)


    I may… ahem… abscond with that name. If you don’t mind.

  13. Wow, thank you so much for the tag. I can’t stop smiling! I also decided to rise up to the challenge! Here is my answer.

  14. Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know
    a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly.

    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve
    tried it in two different browsers and both
    show the same results.

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