The Demonologist Goes Greek

There’s another foreign language for The Demonologist:  Greek.  Klidarithmos will translate and publish my novel, and good on them.  Publishing in Greece (anything in Greece) can’t be easy at the moment, and I’m grateful to the commitment they’re making to the novel.  It’s also, thrillingly, the first of my books to be translated into Greek.

Thank you to Liv Stones, Sally Riley and the rest of the foreign language agents fighting the good demonological fight at Aitken Alexander Associates across the pond in London.

The Demonologist in Holland

I’m so happy to report that The Demonologist has its first foreign language sale.  The language is Dutch, and the publisher is Ambo|Anthos, which is my longest-standing publisher, the only one to have published all of my novels.  I really love them and Ambo|Anthos’ great Chris Herschdorfer, whom I’d take a (rubber) bullet for.

The (Un)Importance of the First Line

Writers can be superstitious ninnies, often almost Victorian in their quaint forms of lace-and-candle spiritualism.  Take, for instance, the belief that “My Characters Speak to Me.”  By this way of approaching the creative process, the writer is a sensitive, the one who voices the unseen from the seance table.  While minding their own business, the fictioneer is assaulted by a voice that tells them their story, and the writer, involuntarily taking up his quill, merely records this transcript from Another Sphere as it comes to them.  There is nothing so icky and crude as fabrication or manipulation or structuring involved.  It…just…happens.

In practice, it doesn’t quite work that way.  That is, outside of the Author Interview where such pronouncements can have at least a ring of syrupy credibility, it never works that way.  It’s just another of those romantic conceptions of how Good Writing Happens that, in the real world of the grease-and-tear-stained desk, do more harm than good.

Another one?  “The first line of my book came to me before I started writing, and it never changed.”

People like this kind of stuff.  I like this kind of stuff.  Believing that ideas can come to our minds, whole and perfect, before our even knowing what they are, before testing them, has an appeal as potent as life after death.

Trouble is, the first line of a book is often given more weight than it can bear, and writers can be stymied by trying to nail it and then never moving from it, as though a tablet they’ve had to drag down a mountain, one they’d be struck down by lightning if they dared doing a little editing job on.

I thought I had the first line of The Demonologist, the novel I’m now editing, right from the get-go.  Deceptively simple, thematically suggestive, stark, dramatic.  Beautiful.  It was, for every draft of the many drafts until today’s, always a single standalone word:


And then my editor suggested starting the book with…something else.  Something else? Blasphemy!  But my first line had always been the First Line!  You don’t mess with that kind of voodoo!  What could be better than what I’ve always had?

What I have now.

The Demonologist Finds a Home in North America

More great news I can now share!  (I don’t know what I could possibly post next week.  “Dog craps on rug…AGAIN!”  Or maybe “Toronto author proves that cure for common cold remains elusive”).

Anyway, it’s been announced in Publishers Weekly today that my forthcoming novel, The Demonologist, has a new publisher for all of North America in Simon & Schuster.  The Demonologist is something of a creative departure for me – or perhaps more an escalation – and so it feels right for it to have a new home.  I’m inspired by the brainstorms I’ve already had with my editor at S&S, Sarah Knight, and hope this is the beginning of a long, happy marriage.  Like Fonda and Hepburn in On Golden Pond.  Or something.

Here’s the piece in today’s Publishers Weekly:

The Demonologist – Publishers Weekly

The Demonologist and the Movies

So it’s rather a lot to report all at once (I really have to get better at this blog thing) but, to begin, I’ve written a new novel.  It’s called The Demonologist.  And though it won’t see the light of day, book-form-wise, until mid-October in the U.K. (and sometime early in 2013 everywhere else) it’s been optioned for film.  By Universal Pictures.  To be produced by ImageMovers.  Which is Robert Zemeckis’ company.

I’d like to lend a shout out to my excellent agents on their swift campaign, namely Howard Sanders at UTA in Los Angeles, Stephanie Cabot at The Gernert Agency in New York, and Anne McDermid here in Toronto.  May I pick up your tabs at our next half dozen meetings.

The Demonologist – Deadline Hollywood