The Next Big Thing

With some of my valiant MFA cohort members I’m participating in a blog chain called The Next Big Thing, where we blog about our upcoming works and give a shout-out to our fellow writers.

What is your working title of your book (or story)?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Primarily from talking to my father, who is a former Air Force pilot. He was once pontificating on what it might be like for a person to undergo cybernetic enhancement to become totally integrated with their plane. I read a ton about cybernetics, so I took a stab and the thing kept growing.

What genre does your book fall under?

Near-future Science Fiction, but it also has some thriller and espionage elements.

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

The main character, Ren the pilot, would be best played by a young mixed race or black actor like Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale from the Wire). Karen, Ren’s friend and savior should be a tough white actress like Kristanna Lokken or Famke Janssen, though a younger and conventionally cute (instead of Hollywood hot) actress would be best. Fred, the complication, would be best played by a toned-down Sam Rockwell or a suave nerd like DJ Qualls.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A world-class hacker is captured in Mexico and must rely on his smuggler girlfriend and bionic pilot classmate to find safety again.

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


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

I first got the idea in 2010, and I’ve been writing standalone short stories about the characters since then. I think the first manuscript is still about a year out.

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

Snow Crash by Neal Stevenson and Neuromancer by William Gibson, though being my first book it probably won’t be quite as epic as those two.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My father, my fascination with the military, the growing developments in transhumanism in our society, the slow erosion of (or desire for) privacy, how our world gets more and more non-local every day, and finally the interaction and history between Mexico and America across the California border.

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

I’ve developed an in-depth and action packed world where technology soaks every aspect of life. Anything and everything is recorded, stored, and transmitted to the internet. Our heroes each have a different way of breaking the rules and getting technology to work for them, often in unconventional ways.

Next week, stay tuned for posts from these talented, up-and-coming writers:

Wendy Sterndale writes articles, essays, stories and memoir. You’ll find her articles at the intersection of meditation, science and spirituality. Her stories are very loosely based on her former life working in an office. She also facilitates memoir-writing workshops because she loves listening to and supporting others as they write about their personal experiences. Ms. Sterndale lives just north of San Francisco, and takes advantage of the writer’s community throughout the SF Bay Area. She will be posting on her website about her upcoming novel Corporate FIST.

Mansa Gills writes about a wide range of subject matters using multiple different forms of creative expression. He’s primarily a fiction writer, but I am also an essayist and contributing blogger for Mansa will be posting about his upcoming short story collection, Heaven’s Messengers.

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