the Next Big Thing

Here are my answers to the questions that are going around. Luckily,my next novel comes out soon, so I can talk about that

1) What is the [working] title of your next book?
And here’s the new version of the cover replacing the one I put up a few hours ago. This is almost certainly the final look!
SoS COVER.128k jpg

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
After writing my two ‘juggernaut’ books, Worldshaker and Liberator! I started thinking about the earlier history of that world—after the end of the unbelievably destructive Fifty Years War, but before the construction of the juggernauts. The story itself comes from my own experience as a folk-rock musician (somewhat exaggerated and infinitely more successful).

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Steampunk tending to gaslight romance.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I think Franca Potente would make a great Astor Vance—and not only because of the hair colour!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
‘Genteel girl sinks to the level of governess, slumps even further to survival in the slums, then discovers gang music with the Rowdies and claws her way to the heights of success.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’s published by Allen & Unwin in Australia (early 2013): Hélium in France; Jacoby & Stuart in Germany

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first draft, six months. Then, after feedback, a total rewrite that took another two months.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I could name any of the steampunk classics, or my own two previous steampunk fantasies, Worldshaker and Liberator. But this is different again, a Victorian success story with a unique angle. As a success story, it has some similarities to The Hunger Games.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My publisher wanted another steampunk novel that wasn’t a direct sequel to Liberator. I didn’t have to be asked twice!

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It has two other dimensions, romance and revolution. The romance between Astor and Verrol gets very hot and intense; the background of war and revolution emerges with lashings of heart-stopping action!

Since I live in the Illawarra south of Sydney, I thought I’d like to showcase some great Illawarra authors. Here are my five tagged authors – check out what they’ve already published, as well as their ‘next big thing’!

Keith Stevenson at –

Di Bates at –

Chris MsTrustry at –

Sandy Fussell at –

Ann Whitehead (writing as Ann Charlton) at –
—– Ann has passed the baton straight on to Isolde Martyn. go via Ann’s facebook page, or jump straight to Isolde at


10 Responses to “the Next Big Thing”

  1. dibatesDi Bates Says:

    Sounds as though your new book is going to be every bit as popular as the last. Good luck with it!

  2. leigh93Leigh Blackmore Says:

    Cool! Can’t wait to see the new book, Richard!

  3. Nathan Says:

    Oh my god it’s so great !!!
    I can’t wait for it in France !!!
    Nathan …

    • richardharland Says:

      I was just talking to my French publisher, Nathan – they can’t wait for SONG OF THE SLUMS either. The final English version will go out to them by the end of January, and if Valérie (translator) is as quick as she was with the last to books, well – although there’s still a lot of work involving cover and stuff to be done – I reckon maybe the middle of the year for the French edition. Salut! Richard

  4. Nathan Says:

    This is for you … 🙂

    • richardharland Says:

      Bonjour Nathan!

      Merci pour le ‘write-up’ et vos mots gentils! La couverture – ç’est magnifique, n’est pas? Votre blog est très intéressant pour tout le monde, je crois – tant d’information!

      Salut richard

      • Nathan Says:

        Hi !
        Yes the cover is beautiful and I’m sure that Helium will create a gorgeous cover too ! I can’t wait for it ! 😀
        Thanks for what you said about my blog !
        Have a nice sunday !

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