Simple – The Big Idea is a regular,  popular feature at John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever, featuring writers, their books, and the ideas behind the words.

This week’s Big Idea feature is on none other than Mike Shevdon’s Sixty-One Nails. UK readers have been able to read and enjoy this for almost a year, of course – next week the US and Canada can do the same.

Here, Mike tells us all about the history of the novel, and the amount of historical research that goes into creating something very modern.

When I started writing Sixty-One Nails, I wanted to write fantasy set in the real world – the world of shopping malls, CCTV cameras and mobile phones. I wanted to create a feeling that if you were quick and observant enough, you might see something quite extraordinary. I wanted magic in the now.

This is easy to say, but it immediately spawns a host of questions.

Head here to read the questions, and the answers that Mike came up with.

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