divendres, 18 d’abril del 2008

Darling Jim, by Christian Moerk

Here you have a short synopsis of this amazing and terrifying novel set in Ireland. Learn more about its author Christian Moerk at http://www.christianmoerk.com/

By accident, a young mailmain in a Dublin suburb finds a slain woman’s diary in the dead letter bin. From beyond the grave, she reveals the secrets of the most tragic love story he’s ever heard. But that’s not the end of the tale. It’s only just begun.

Now young Niall is enveloped by the mystery about the itinerant storyteller Jim, who travelled around Ireland, enrapturing audiences with his macabre tales. Horrific murders were being committed wherever he went. The victims were young women, who bore an all too frightening similarity to the victims in Jim’s own fictional plots.

Three young sisters in a small town were the only ones who begun to suspect that these were more than mere coincidences. They began to investigate Jim’s past. But they should never have tried to peer behind the storyteller’s mask. For behind the polished charm lurked something else much better suited for dark fiction than the light of present day.

As Niall finds another sister’s diary, he now understands what happened to two of the three sisters. But the third has vanished, and hides somewhere in the wilds of western Ireland. He must now find her while there’s still time. Or they’re both forsaken.

And in the woods, the wolves from Jim’s stories begin to gather.

DARLING JIM is a modern, gothic thriller with elements drawn from classic mythology.

Rights sold:
Denmark: Politiken, USA: Henry Holt & Co (pre-empted in a six-figure deal), Norway: Schibsted, Sweden: Lind & Co (hardcover), Pocketförlaget (paperback) and Earbooks (audio-book), Netherlands: De Geus (after auction), Germany: Piper Verlag (pre-empted in six-figure deal.

Back from London

The London Book Fair is over and everybody is already back in their offices. Everybody that I talked to agreed that this has been a very quiet fair and that there have been no surprises or very hot books. In general, everybody has had time to meet their contacts and talk quietly with them without the pressure of being in the middle of an auction.

I was very happy to see many of my contacts and friends, and they all were enthusiastic and thrilled about SalmaiaLit (some of they still have to memorize the name of the agency, but I'm sure it won't take long!).

On Tuesday evening the Spanish ambassador in the UK held a reception at the Spanish Embassy which was attended by many people involved in publishing Spanish books. Important translators such as Nick Caistor or British publishers such as Bill Swainson (Bloomsbury), Daniela De Groote (Arcadia Books), Kirsty Dunseath (Orion Books) or Claire Wachtel (Sceptre) had the opportunity to talk with Spanish publishers and agents and get first hand information about new authors and successful books.
During the fair I met some SalmaiaLit's authors who lived in London, and I was introduced to a new one, Patricia Rodríguez. El Aleph Ediciones will publish her first novel, entitled 19 pulgadas soon. We reached an agreement of representation for foreign rights and now I'm looking forward to reading her novel (which I received inly a day before the fair).
Another novel I'm looking forward to read (in fact I've already read the first 40 pages) is Darling Jim, by Danish author Christian Moerk. SalmaiaLit will represent Spanish rights via Nordin-Loud Agency.
A bestseller in Moerk’s native Denmark, Darling Jim is a gothic tale of suspense drawing on elements from classic mythology. Narrated largely through the diaries of two murdered sisters who became involved with a handsome, beguiling stranger, this tragic love story and riveting thriller unfolds as a local postman reading the diaries attempts to find the mysterious survivor of the fate which claimed the Walsh sisters. The novel has already been published in Danish (Politikens) and it will soon be translated in: USA: Henry Holt & Co (pre-empted in a six-figure deal), Norway: Schibsted, Sweden: Lind & Co (hardcover), Pocketförlaget (paperback) and Earbooks (audio-book), Netherlands: De Geus (after auction), and Germany: Piper Verlag (pre-empted in six-figure deal.
I've got a busy, but surely entertaining, weekend ahead!!

divendres, 11 d’abril del 2008

Drac Party'08 - Bcn April19

I'm very happy that this year we'll have the second Off-Sant-Jordi Drac Party. It all began last year, when a group of friends who worked in literary agencies and publishing houses in Barcelona decided to hold a friendly meeting to celebrate Sant Jordi (the international day of the book), inviting people from the publishing industry not only from barcelona but from all over the world.

This year's party will take place on April 19th, very soon! I'm really looking forward to it.

Trago amargo (Bitter Drink), by F.G. Haghenbeck

A few weks ago we got a proposal by email (salmaiabooks@gmail.com) from a Mexican author who was offering us to read a novel he had written and published in Mexico. It wasn't available in the rest of Spanish speaking countries. I had a quick look at the synopsis and some things caught my attention: John Huston, The Night of The Iguana, Puerto Vallarta and cocktails... a quite interesting bunch of appealling issues. I decided to read it and to my surprise I found an excellent novel which I devoured in a couple of hours... It was Trago amargo, by F.G Haghenbeck

The novel Trago amargo, published by Joaquín Mortiz and the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (México) is one of tose stories that ‘one writes at ease, like being at home’ says Francisco Gerardo Haghenbeck (Mexico City, 1965). With this work the author was unanimously awarded the National Una Vuelta de Tuerca Award to the best crime novel.
Trago amargo is a story of intrigue, an accurate historical depiction of Hollywood, a very unique ambience and a funny compendium of the best and most famous cocktails of the world. It also has tastes of road movie, adventure and detective stories.
At the beginning of the 70s, John Huston decides to shoot his film The Night of the Iguana (based on the play by Tennessee Williams) in a virgin lanscape very close to Puerto Vallarta. An impressive crew of Holywood starts is to be part of the cast, including Ava Gardner, Sue Lyon, Deborah Kerr and Richard Burton, who is dating Elizabeth Taylor. There are more journalists than iguanas on the village, all expecting to take the best pic of the couple.

Each of the stars receives a present from the Director: a golden gun with silver bullets. But the joke turns to something serious when one of those guns is used to shot and kill someone.
Sunny Pascal, a half american and half mexican beatnick detective, is in charge of solving the crime, which soon gets complicated by further murders, blackmailing, stolen jewels and a plot that involves the Mexican mafia.

The novel keeps advancing and unveiling its mysteries chapter by chapter, amongst cocktail recipes, explanations about their origins and suggestions about the music that best fits every drink.

F.G. Haghenbeck is a multidisciplined Mexican author, -and the only Mexican who has written scripts for ‘Superman’ (DC Comics).
He is also the co-author of Crimson (Wildstorm/Time Warner 1999-2001); author of Alternation (Image Comics, 2004) and of other comics.

He now lives in Puerto Vallarta where he devotes his time to writing more Sunny Pascal novels, and also comics.

Ricardo Adolfo, Mizé and a New novel

I'd like to give some information about two novels by Angolan-born Portuguese writer Ricardo Adolfo. The first one, Mizé, was his debut novel and has had some success both in Portugal and abroad. Now he has finished a new novel entitled Many Things Happened to Me After I Died, which will soon be published into Portuguese.
Set in the outskirts of Lisbon Mizé is the story of a man who loved the idea of loving a woman, and a woman who loved the idea of being loved by many men. It’s a research on living in an imaginary dimension created by ambitions and wishes, where an ensemble of suburban characters struggles to fulfil their dreams – while struggling with their petty conditions, the daily grind, and bigger aspirations than they could possibly handle.

With a very peculiar point of view, these characters take us into an exploration of double moral standards, ambiguity and into the grey zones that we all operate in. Mizé is a story of fiction versus fiction, where truth doesn’t exist, but lie doesn’t either.

Mizé was originally published in Portuguese in 2006 by Dom Quixote.

Rights sold: Berlin Verlag (Germany) in a pre-empt, Querido (The Netherlands) and Suma – Santillana Group (Spain). In Spain the title has been changed to La peluquera de Lisboa

The next excerpt is from Publishing Trends (July 2007 issue): http://www.publishingtrends.com/copy/07/0707/0707IntBest_DifferentBooks.html

International buzz is building over Mizé, the Portuguese novel by Ricardo Adolfo that appeared last year from Dom Quixote.
Berlin Verlag recently nabbed German rights and in a hush hush deal, film rights were just sold to a major film company, so far nameless. Rumor has it the location will be changed from Lisbon to a British city, possibly Manchester or Liverpool.

The novel centers on Palha, a young man who still lives with his parents in the unglamorous suburbs of Lisbon, who desperately wants to fall in love. His life proceeds as expected until one magical night when he finds himself drinking with Mizé, the beautiful and sought-after neighborhood hairdresser. After a night of unprecedented passion, she agrees to marry him.

Soon after he begins conjugal life in a small apartment, Palha is faced with an insurmountable project at work and seeks advice from his old bar cronies. As is typical, they completely misunderstand his predicament, thinking he’s received a big promotion instead, and so they rent a couple porn movies to celebrate.

To his horror, Palha discovers the star of the movies is his own Mizé. After confronting her, his life begins a downward spiral which culminates in his attempted murder of a leading porn producer.
Palha seeks solace with Mizé’s best friend, Carla, who shares with him the difficulties of being a single mom. They get to know each other better and eventually, it dawns on them that they themselves had shared a night of passion several years before.
Many Things Happened to Me After I Died
a new novel by Ricardo Adolfo

In an unfamiliar country, a young immigrant family can’t find their way back home. They don’t speak the language and they’ve no idea where they are. And if they want help they will have to put their dream of a new life at risk.

With the help of a fraudulent job agent, Carla, Brito and their baby son run away from their poor southern homeland to a rich northern island in search of a better life, only to discover that the road Brito was supposed to work on has already been completed and the house that awaits them has to be shared with several other families. It’s a hard blow, but Carla manages to find a job and hold the family together. She goes from being a housewife to being the money-earner, the force that never loses hope, while Brito struggles to keep his chin up and seems no longer able to make a single correct choice.

Eventually life settles, and one of the family’s distractions becomes the occasional Sunday trip out to see the shops; but one afternoon, on the way home, a tube malfunction strands them halfway. This most common of transport problems in the island’s biggest city becomes a tragedy for the couple who don’t know a word of the local language, and who have no idea where they are. Scared and confused, they start to wander, only to find themselves getting even more lost. Their brief and sheltered life on the island hasn’t prepared them for this, nor to interact with all its different inhabitants – the mere sight of two women in burqas seems to become a life-threatening situation.

Night falls; driven by despair they accept a ride from a stranger, not knowing where he plans to take them. For a moment a happy ending is in sight but when the stranger stops in front of a police station, Brito’s criminal past instinctively makes him run away, dragging his family with him. At first invisible, lost immigrants, they become wanted fugitives; with the police on their tail they’re forced into hiding and to spend the night on the streets. Carla snaps, and tries to run away with the baby, but Brito brutally stops her. Husband and wife become enemies fighting for their own survival. Racked with guilt, Brito tries to absolve himself and ends up stealing a homeless man’s sleeping bag to keep his family warm.

The next day dawns; by the morning light they see they are more lost than ever. Carla has to find her way to work or else she’ll be fired, but Brito realises that they will be wandering the city streets forever if they don’t stop running away and if he doesn’t step forward. But his risky plan to find their way home might cost them their dream of a new life on the island.

Ricardo Adolfo is an Angolan-born Portuguese writer. Currently he is based between London and Amsterdam. In 2006 his debut novel Mizé. Mizé was very well received in Portugal and has subsequently been translated into Spanish (Suma) under the title of La peluquera de Lisboa, with German (Berlin Verlag) and Dutch (Querido) editions to follow in 2008/09. In 2007 he co-created the short film There’s Only One Sun with award-winning director Wong Kar-Wai.

Adolfo is currently working on “Stella” (the film adaptation of Mizé) to be directed by Margaret Williams and produced by MJW Productions and Tubedale Films.

Many Things Happened to Me After I Died is Ricardo’s third book and continues to explore some of the author’s favourite themes, such as the mixture between the banal and the uncanny, and the peaks of tension in the ordinary and mundane.

His work has been praised for its “…maverick writing, sober and elevated, with an amazingly fine-tuned sense of oral syntax. The dialogue is perfect. Nothing in literature is harder than ‘natural dialogue’…” Fernando Venâncio, writer and critic.

dijous, 10 d’abril del 2008

El efecto transilvania, Juan Ramón Biedma

I'm now reading a book published by Rocaeditorial, one of our clients, entitled 'El efecto transilvania' and written by Juan Ramón Biedma (http://www.juanramonbiedma.es/).

It is a very promising book half way between fantasy and thriller. In fact, it is like a description of a long, complex and multilevelled nightmare. Some critics here are comparing it to the best works of Poe, Lovecraft, Boris Vian or Jean Ray.

The story takes place in the Spanish city of Seville, but Biedma converts it into a surrealistic city, a parallel world. In the novel we have a 14 years old boy who has just left hospital, but he does not know why was he sent there, or what was his illness. His family keeps it a secret, even to him. In fact, ha has been sent to Seville to live with his grandmother after his father suffered a weird accident.

The child, called Eme, feels that something unusual is happening in the city. A series of uncanny events sharpen this sensation while the city is thrilled because of the opening of an exact replica of the Peruvian pyramid of Mahuachi. Soon Eme realises that the pyramid is responsible for the strange events that take place: enormous drawings appear suddenly on the ground, there are plants that generate living animals instead of flowers, a little girl's phantom scares the priest of a church, big owls fly over the city and, everyday, hundreds of kites are raised form a precise neighbourhood...

In between, Eme is attracted to a girl called Peña, who has a golden piercing and the ability of moving objects with her mind. But there's a sinister man who follows her everywhere, and one day she is kidnapped.

Eme and his friends will look for her, but our protagonist is driven crazy because of the 'Transilvania effect' (a confusion of one's own mind that has to do with the phases of the moon). Eme starts hesitating and feels immersed in a nightmare that blurs his past and his future, his friends and his enemies...

Next year Rocaeditorial will publish a sequel of this novel that could be read separately in which we will find Eme and other characters of the novel as grown up adults... all in all it sounds really intriguing!

already launched!

This week I've 'officially' introduced SalmaiaLit to publishers both from Spain and abroad.

I must say that I'm very happy for all the e-mails and phone calls I've received congratulating me for the launching of the agency. It is very reassuring to see that good professionals from all over the world share one's enthusiasm and respond positively to new projects. I want to thank them all for their kind words, support and all their valuable tips and comments to help me keep improving.

The London Book Fair begins Next Monday (April, 14th) and I'm very much looking forward to it, and to meet colleagues with whom I've been in touch in the past. The best thing about book fairs is the incredibly huge amnount of information that you receive in just a few days. Everybody tells you about forthcoming books, new and promising authors, and lots of gossiping!

I can't wait to start talking about SalmaiaLit's books and authors and see if any creates what we call a 'buzz' (a chain reaction between publishers, agents, scouts... in which everyone ends up talking about the same book or author).