This is a very special day.
What? Nothing marked on your calendar? Hmmm…strange. Because today is…
Only Four Months Until The Demonologist is Published Day!
(Okay, maybe that’s only considered a big deal within a rather small circle. But still. They have Give Your Cat a Hug Days and Thank Your Dry Cleaner Days, so why not?)
Thank you, Brunonia!
“Smart and astonishing, Andrew Pyper has created a recurring nightmare for adults. The Demonologist holds a mirror to the reader and reveals the places where our deepest darkness lurks. Like Milton’s Paradise Lost, this is the story of the human condition, the fall, and the way back. I slept with the light on for nights, too obsessed to stop reading and too terrified to dream.”
— Brunonia Barry, New York Times and International Best Selling Author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places
Multiple Stoker Award winner Sarah Langan is another writer I admire. I think of her as a “go to” name for exemplary New Horror work – emotion-fueled, real and grounded. It’s why I was so bowled over by what she sent to my InBox this morning:
“Andrew Pyper is a rare breed. Reading The Demonologist is like running through a house on fire – you’ve got to get through; nothing will stop you. And when you’re out, brokenhearted and bewildered, you’re left wondering if what happened was real. That’s Pyper’s brilliance: he does it so well you never see the fiction. Contemporary and masterful, this is grown up horror for grown up people.”
– Sarah Langan, three-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Audrey’s Door
A while back, I read a book I just loved: Christopher Buehlman’s first novel, Those Across the River. Beautifully and seductively written, at once hallucinatory and visceral, thrilling both in its performance and in the pleasure of finding a new writer to cheer on to the next book. Oh yes, and it’s scary and unsettling as hell.
I sent Christopher The Demonologist in the spirit of admiration for his work, and the suspicion that he and I might have some overlapping obsessions when it comes to taking a twist to the so-called real world. He just wrote to say that I was right. (Another kind soul I look forward to thanking in whisky…)
“Andrew Pyper’s satisfying prose propels a narrative sure to please readers with or without a dog-eared copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost on their shelves. If you’re looking for smart horror that chills without resorting to Grand Guignol, give The Demonologist a look.” — Christopher Buehlman
So you finish a novel. And then what happens is, even prior to publication, early readers get their hands on it (or have it thrust into their hands). They read it. Simple, right? Yes. But also nerve-wracking, because these early readers are often professional readers who know their stuff. Leading booksellers, critics, successful authors. When one takes the time to read your not-yet-officially-in-existence book and then ends up liking it? I’m telling you, it lets you take a breath or two of untroubled air. One more person in the world who doesn’t think you’re nuts!
So – deep breath – I’m pleased to share the kind words from the internationally bestselling mystery and thriller author (and also recent new James Bond writer) Jeffery Deaver on The Demonologist:
“Richly crafted, deliriously scary and compulsively page-turning from beginning to end. Imagine The Exorcist and The Da Vinci Code as penned by Daphne du Maurier. Don’t miss this one!” – Jeffery Deaver
Below, I give you the cover design for the Canadian and US edition of The Demonologist. The texture and colour and striking simplicity articulates the book so lusciously, I’m in debt to its designers, Jackie Seow and Esther Paradelo, at Simon & Schuster, for such great work.
What’s also cool about it is that the hardcover will feature a cut-out of one of the o’s, which will have an eye looking out from within. If you pull the flap back, you will see that the eye belongs to a girl – Tess, the protagonist’s daughter – cast against a classically hellish landscape. I’m planning on blowing that one up as a poster and putting it on the office wall. It’ll do the same job that those sappy “INSPIRATION” posters do for others.
There may yet be some changes to come, but it seems that the pub dates for The Demonologist are firming up. Currently, Simon & Schuster is planning to publish on March 5, 2013, simultaneously in Canada and the US. And Orion has set the novel for May 2, 2013 in the UK. Still a ways off, in normal human anticipation-of-future-events terms, but right around the corner in publishing terms. Certainly close enough to pre-order the book from your favourite bookstore so that it’s waiting for you, with a devilish grin, when it arrives hot off the press…
The publication date may not be entirely settled yet (it will be some time in the first months of 2013) and there may yet be some tweaks to come, but I thought I’d share Orion’s cover design for The Demonologist in the UK!
I really like it, though I was at first surprised by its “historical” vibe (the novel is set in the present day). But then, given the mythological context of the story – Paradise Lost, ancient spirits, original sin – it makes a lot of sense. Plus Venice is just simultaneously beautiful and haunting and somehow corrupt-looking in a way I love. I particularly like the font they’ve chosen for the title. Again, not what I would have expected, but it has a creepiness all its own.
There’s also a couple little visual surprises buried in the image. Look carefully: there’s a girl falling from one of the rooftops. Look carefully again: there’s a classical demon “face” in the waves of the Grand Canal.
And big thanks to SJ Watson (he of the brilliant Before I Go to Sleep) for the cover blurb! Here’s the full text of his comment: “Plenty of books claim to be scary, but this is genuinely terrifying, don’t-read-late-at-night stuff. Thrilling, compelling and beautifully written, The Demonologist makes Rosemary’s Baby feel like a walk in the park.” Naturally, that Rosemary’s Baby comparison is particularly gratifying…
(I should add that it’s interesting how completely different the cover is turning out to be for the US and Canada – but more about that another day).
To one degree or another, all of my novels involve the supernatural. Not explicitly for the most part – they’re not populated by material ghoulies, but rather visited by them peripherally, questionably – but the possibility of the impossible runs through the work, with the intention of dizzying the characters’ relationship to reality as well as the readers’ (if all goes well). But that’s just to describe what’s happening on the page. What’s considerably more odd is when the weirdness of the books graduate to the weirdness of readers’ real lives.
It hasn’t happened a lot. But it has happened. A reader will write or approach me after I’ve given a reading or talk. Their eyes are often downcast with embarrassment or, once or twice, widened with real fear. They will then tell me how something from one of my books has been sighted in their own experience, as though a spirit from the novel has transferred to haunt them.
I don’t want to suggest that this has led to any kind of Amityville Horror-style disruptions or anything. Nothing actually bad has been triggered. Usually, it’s just someone thinking they’ve seen a character from The Killing Circle on a Toronto street, or having a vivid dream about The Boy from The Guardians. Chilling, perhaps, but only mildly freaky from a How-Do-You-Explain-That? point of view.
The publication of the new novel, The Demonologist, is still several months off, but there has now been three distinct episodes of higher-grade weirdness reported to me by early readers of the manuscript. For the first time ever, one of them is me.
I’m actually compiling a little file of these things, as I find it interesting, even if I don’t take it too seriously. Still, if any more of this kind of stuff goes on I might have to write something about it. For now, I’ve just been nudged a half-inch closer to wondering about the magical aspects of giving life to stories, where “magical” is intended in the “dark arts” sense and not the Walt Disney, “feel like a carefree kid again” sense.