gary whitta abomination

So you’re in the middle of working on a Star Wars movie, why’d you decide to take up the huge task of writing a novel?

Abomination was finished before I started on Star Wars. Usually I juggle two or three projects in various stages of development at a time but I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t work on or even think about anything else while I was on Star Wars. I saw it as way too important for my attention to it to be diluted by anything else. So once I was done with Star Wars I was able to come back to Abomination and do a final copy-edit and submit it to the publisher.

You’ve done magazines, podcasts, video games, screenplays, comic books, and now a book. Why did you decide to write this monster story as a novel and not one of the other mediums you’ve previously worked in?

I wanted to try something I hadn’t done before and write in a totally different medium, and Abomination suggested itself as a great story to try that with. I thought at first about writing it as a spec screenplay, but there were some things about the story both structurally and in terms of how I wanted to deal with the characters that made me suspect it might be a challenge to fit into a conventional movie-shaped box. Writing it as a novel gave me a lot more free rein to not worry quite so much about certain restrictions that the screenplay version of the story might have. Plus, to be be honest, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell original material to Hollywood, much less get it made, and in a case of something like this, where there’s a period setting and lots of magic and monsters, it just seemed like I had a better shot of getting the story across the finish line and in front of an audience as a book rather than as a movie.

Its interesting that you didn’t try to create your own world, as you have done with so many of your previous projects, but instead borrowed real world characters and locations…

Yeah, I didn’t want to create just another fictional fantasy kingdom, that’s a crowded enough genre as it is. And I love ancient English history, so the idea of setting the story in a real time and place, alongside real historical characters and events, seemed like a really cool way to make the more fantastical elements of the story seem more grounded and real.

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What is Abomination about?

It’s set in medieval England, during the reign of Alfred the Great, at a time when he was struggling desperately to defend England against Viking invaders. In the end, the only way Alfred was able to protect England was by signing a peace treaty with the Vikings that handed huge chunks of English territory over to them. In Abomination, the Archbishop of Canterbury uncovers an ancient magical text that he believes will give Alfred the power to drive the Vikings out of England permanently, but the magic is something so horrific that Alfred hesitates to use it. The magic gets unleashed anyway and that becomes a greater danger to England than the Vikings themselves. So Alfred calls upon a friend of his, a knight called Wulfric who saved his life during the Viking wars, to deal with the new threat. That’s basically the setup and I hesitate to say more than that because the book goes to some dark and, hopefully, unexpected places after that and I’d prefer readers go in and discover those surprises for themselves.

Abomination

How can people read Abomination? I see this link to inkshares, how is that different than the previous book store marketplace?

Inkshares is kind of like Kickstarter for books in that the audience crowdfunds potential projects, and the ones that hit their target get printed and published by Inkshares. It’s a really cool setup. And we had a spectacular success there with Abomination. We had 45 days set aside to fund the project, and we hit our goal in something like 20 hours. It was nuts. So it’s been really pleasing to see so many people validate the book by backing it just based on a few sample chapters that we put on the funding site. Now that the book’s funded it will go into full production – we’re desiging the final cover right now – and it should start shipping out to people who ordered it in May. Around that same time it’ll also show up on Amazon, iBooks and in book stores.

Why should people back your book now that its 100% funded and getting a release? Is there a benefit to being an early backer, or should they just wait for their preferred format at official release?

Everyone who backed the book before it funded will get a signed copy but we’re trying to keep the momentum going so I said I’d sign 1000 more post-funding. I think we’re already several hundred copies into that, so if you care about having a book that’s been defaced by my hideous child-like scrawl, now’s your chance. Also the e-book version will ship out earlier than the hardcover, before it’s on Amazon or anyplace else.

Is there any interest in trying to turn Abomination into a movie or television series? Has there been any interest from Hollywood?

Well it’s very early but it originally started as a movie idea and if people want to explore that I’d welcome that. But it’s not the endgame. The endgame was just getting the story told and in front of an audience, so I’m already happy. When I do something in another medium, like this or the comic I’m doing with Image, it’s never intended as a means-to-an-end toward getting a movie made. I know it’s often done that way but I find that very cynical.

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