I’m a little out of it today. This week my evenings have been spent staying up far too late reading The Hunger Games, since the third and final book comes out on the 24th. Everyone at work is laughing at me. Even Robin at the post office!
I’m also a little out of it because I’ve been typing so darn much and my brain is fried. We have a really exciting book coming out in Spring 2011 — title is as yet undecided — which is a collection of wood engravings by Caledon’s own Rosemary Kilbourn, a very talented and well-known artist in Canada and internationally. Each engraving is accompanied by some thoughts, memories, explanations, etc. by Rosemary. I’ve seen the manuscript and I already know it’s going to be a really beautiful, interesting book: her art is spectacular. The challenge? Rosemary doesn’t like or use computers — at all— so she delivered her manuscript in hard copy only.
Well, we at the Quill need a soft copy to do any kind of typesetting or formatting, so I spent a whole day typing the manuscript onto our computer. This isn’t as bad as it sounds because, for one thing, I’m a very fast typist, and, for another, it allowed me to read through the manuscript while also doing something useful with it (that is, turning it into an electronic file we can work with). Next year I may get the chance to help edit it, which is really exciting for me because I haven’t had so much experience doing that here yet. I did edit George’s preface and Dr. Berona’s introduction to Book of Hours, but they were short pieces and I didn’t communicate very much with the authors about the changes we made.
Of course, typing up Rosemary’s manuscript only took up one day this week. So what else have I been doing? Lately I’ve spent a lot of time putting together tip sheets for our Spring 2011 list and also writing an article about George A. Walker for the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists’ Guild (Frances — it will be on its way to you shortly!). The CBBAG (pronounced ‘cabbage’) article is nearly finished and George is just giving it a look-over, but the tip sheets still need a lot of work — and I am having so much fun doing that work!
Sometimes the editors or authors write the tip sheets themselves, which makes my life a lot easier (although I occasionally have to make minor — or major — changes to the text so that it suits the needs of a tip sheet more closely). For example, Amanda Jernigan, the person who selected the poems for the upcoming Essential Richard Outram, wrote the tip sheet for that book and I made very, very few changes to it. John Slater, the poet behind our upcoming collection Surpassing Pleasure, also wrote his own tip sheet, and again, I made very few changes (an unrelated problem is that right now, at five pages, it’s a little on the short side, so I’m hunting down people who may want to write short blurbs or endorsements to beef the tip sheet up a little).
The most fun tip sheet for me has been Jon Evans’s Beasts of New York, a novel that is nearly impossible to categorize but what I’ve hesitantly settled on calling an ‘urban fantasy adventure’. Beasts of New York is a violent, epic, action-packed urban quest full of very eccentric, often hilarious, extremely dangerous characters who also happen to be animals — the wildlife of New York City, to be exact.
Like I said, hard to describe.
But that’s what makes it so much fun. Is this book for adults? Teens? Mystery lovers? Nerds who love sci-fi and fantasy? Personally I think all of the above, but the tip sheet needs to make very clear what this book is and who will want it, so it’s been an awesome challenge trying to write promotional material that reflects how great and genre-bending the book is while at the same time pinpointing its audience and its proper shelf in a bookstore.
I have a lot more to say about Beasts of New York because there are several other very unique things about it (most interestingly, it’s been available for free online since 2007), but that will have to wait until another blog. I have to save some topics for those busy weeks in France, after all.
Until next time,