So, with the advent of my novel HOUSE OF LARGE SIZES due out soon, it is time to start blogging about my own writing, and also about this mad profession that I have managed to thrive in for most of my life. The first drafts of HLS were written in Minneapolis, London and New Orleans in the years just prior to the Katrina Disaster, which devastated the Gulf Coast. I had worked hard on researching the book’s background, but after so many died in New Orleans, where most of the action takes place, I didn’t feel comfortable finishing it, let alone publishing it.
In the late summer of 2014, I went into partnership with Gary Lindberg to create a new kind of publishing house, Calumet Editions, L.L.C., which we operate very differently from what we see as moribund traditional publishing and out-of-control self-publishing. I have been a publisher and literary consultant for a long time and as a result of that workload had neglected my own writing for a decade. But HOUSE OF LARGE SIZES never left my consciousness, and, now that sufficient time has elapsed since Katrina, I have decided to put my money where my mouth is and publish it through Calumet. Re-entering the mindset of the book and slaving through multiple drafts was a wild ride. That story will emerge anon, but suffice to say I was amazed at all the unintentional fictional predictions that came to pass after Katrina—all of them sad.
The main character Gilbert Pym, whose behaviour is loosely based on Gilgamesh, goes to New Orleans to stop his older brother having unsanctioned gender reassignment, finds his legitimate father, and in so doing discovers that his soul is under threat from a dangerous and self-styled voodoo priestess. I started sending an uncorrected proof to authors who write material similar to mine, in order to garner some endorsements, and the first one back was from successful Belgian novelist Bob Van Laerhoven, author of Baudelaire’s Revenge and a story collection Dangerous Obsessions: “An extraordinary family story, rendered with delicious irony, mingled with kinky sex, Haitian magic, and suspense. It takes a great author to do that with style. Ian Graham Leask did.”
I thanked Bob for being so prompt and writing such a catching blurb. And he wrote back:
“I’m glad you like it. And I truly liked your novel. What a masterful mélange of genres, history, and, of course, magic that sounds plausible….The more I read, the more I tend to think that the truly interesting names are not to be found “out there” with the Big Six…”
Thanks again, Bob, and here we go into the fray.
Available June 1, 2016