by Gar Anthony Haywood

You know how, when you’re playing paintball (if you don’t play paintball, just roll with me for a minute and pretend you do) and you’re lurking around a corner, sniffing out the enemy, weapon at the ready, and you turn just three inches to your right and . . .

SPLAT!  You’re dead.  Shot right between the eyes.  And your first thought is, “Ugh.  They got me.”

Well, that just happened to me.  They got me.  Only in this case, it wasn’t a paintball game, it was an email from Naomi Hirahara.  Wonderful writer, wonderful friend.  Who could have guessed she would draw me into participating in the latest self-promotional time suck known as “The Next Big Thing”?

By now, you have to know what this is (even though I somehow didn’t), because even the lovely Zoe Sharp has done an NBT blog.

Here’s the deal: I answer a bunch of questions about myself and my latest work-in-progress, trying to avoid coming off as a self-absorbed drone in the process, and then I point you to the blog sites of some other suckers, er, writers, whom I either honestly believe you should be reading, or simply found to be dumb enough to agree to be named when asked.  I’ll let you decide which of the two is the case, respectively.

So enough with the introduction, it’s time to get on with the show.  Remember: This wasn’t my idea.  I’m just going along because I’m a man of my word, and such a man never knows what will sell a copy or two of his books.

What is the working title of your next book?


Where did the idea come from?

This is the long-awaited (well, at least I like to think so) seventh novel in my Aaron Gunner P.I. series, and the genesis of the plot sprang from an epiphany I had while sitting on a crowded Los Angeles freeway listening to a police helicopter drone overhead.  That’s essentially how the book opens, with Gunner stuck on that crowded freeway instead of me — and more than that, I’m not gonna tell ya.

What genre best defines your book?

Hardboiled detective, though I’d like to think the book is a little more complex than that label would suggest.

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

As the character of Gunner is over 20 years old, the answer to this question is constantly changing.  But as of this moment, I think the best fit for Gunner would be Idris Elba.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In the wake of an apparent murder-suicide that claims the lives of his cousin Del Curry and Curry’s wife, and leaves their daughter on the brink of death, Central Los Angeles private investigator Aaron Gunner tries to determine what chain of events led Curry to pull the trigger — if in fact, he did.

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

That remains to be seen, though it will certainly be shopped by an agent initially.

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

I can only wish I was finished with a first draft.  A completed first draft is probably another five or six months away.

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

Can’t think of any.  I’m a complete original.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It’s been over 13 years since I last took Gunner out for a full-length spin, and I miss him.  It was time to spend some quality time with him again.

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

Uh, good writing, hopefully?

And there you have it.  My Next Big Thing.  Curious as to what some other fine writers might be doing for their Next Big Thing?  Drop in at the blogs of the following people next Wednesday, December 12, and find out.  And by the way — I was just pulling your leg earlier.  All of these guys are terrific writers you should be reading right now, if you aren’t already.

Bruce DeSilva

Paul Bishop

Gary Phillips

(NOTE: Gary’s NBT post won’t run until Friday, December 14.  Why?  Because he’s a contrarian, and who the hell is gonna argue with him, that’s why.)

6 thoughts on “NEXT? YES. BIG? JESUS, I HOPE SO.

  1. Allison Davis

    Gar, you did a good job avoiding dronisms, I like a new Gunner coming out (keep working, we have something to nag you about). Maybe the pre-sales from the Murderati blog will convince a publisher to take it on, eh?

    I also love how a moment can inspire a book. I want to ride on a police tug boat so working that into my next manuscript and then hope to beg for a ride a long. (They patrol in McCovey Cove outside the AT&T Ballpark in SF.)

  2. Larry Gasper

    Add me to the list of people waiting for the next Gunner book. I was late coming to the series but am now hooked.

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