Archive for the ‘McClelland & Stewart’ Category

Here’s the full cover art for Albatross

Monday, May 13th, 2019

Albatross

I’m not suggesting you’ll be able to read the cover copy, but you can at least see how the book will look when it arrives in stores in August. I’m very happy with it, but book cover design is such a subjective world. We just wanted it to be arresting so that readers notice it on the shelves. My deep thanks to the designer, Five Seventeen (yes, that’s his name) for the “look,” and Bhavna Chauhan, my editor for coordinating the whole design process. My twin brother Tim took the quickly-aging author photo on the back flap.

The wonderful Amy Jones blurbs Albatross

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Amy Jones

Nationally bestselling novelist Amy Jones, who was a finalist for the Leacock Medal for her debut novel, We’re All in This Together, has kindly provided an endorsement for Albatross that will appear on the back cover of the book when it’s published this August. Amy is a wonderful writer and I loved her first novel. Her second, Every Little Piece of Me, will be published by McClelland & Stewart in June. I look forward to reading it.

In the meantime, here’s what Amy said about Albatross:

It’s hard not to get excited about a new Terry Fallis novel, and it is equally hard not to fall in love with Adam Coryell, the big-hearted, sarcastic, fountain-pen-obsessed hero of Albatross, a young golf prodigy who just wants to write short stories. In his inimitable style, Fallis has crafted a tender, funny, and compulsively readable novel about what it means to stay true to your dreams, and to yourself. Do yourself a favour and pick up this book–you won’t put it down again until the final page has been turned.”

Amy Jones, nationally bestselling author of We’re All in This Together

I’m grateful to Amy for her support.

Rock star writer Linwood Barclay blurbs Albatross

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019


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If you’re a fan of topnotch thrillers, you’ll know the name Linwood Barclay. He is a New York Times and internationally bestselling thriller writer who is likely as well known around the world as he is in Canada. He’s also a very nice guy. We’ve appeared at a few events together and I’ve always enjoyed the time we’ve spent with one another. Linwood has been kind enough to read the Albatross manuscript and I’m over the moon to share the endorsement (or “blurb” as we say in publishing) he has kindly provided to appear on the back cover of the novel.

“Fallis writes from another time when Wodehouse and Leacock and Twain roamed the earth. May he never become extinct.”

Linwood Barclay, New York Times bestselling author of A Noise Downstairs

It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m thrilled and grateful.

I urge you all to pick up Linwood’s recent novel, A Noise Downstairs, as well as Elevator Pitch when it’s published in September. He is a fantastic writer and a brilliant storyteller.

Cover reveal for Albatross

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

As promised, here is the cover design for my seventh novel, Albatross, to be released on August 13th. The goal of any cover is to reach out from bookstore shelves, grab readers by the lapels as they walk past, and force them to take a closer look. I think this cover scores very well on the old “eye-catching” meter. Breaking up the word Albatross using the hyphen is unusual and I hope makes the cover a little more arresting than if the word had been displayed in the usual fashion.

As for symbolism, the cover leans on the “gilded cage” metaphor. My narrator, Adam Coryell, is blessed or cursed, depending on your perspective, with unmatched natural ability at golf. This grants him fame and fortune beyond any sane person’s wildest imagination. Yet he is not happy in his life. Not to put too fine a point on it, Adam’s golf prowess “imprisons” him in a gilded cage. The novel tells the story of how he found himself in the cage, and how he escaped.

I’m very happy with the cover, though I know it will not appeal to everyone. Here’s hoping it does its job and catches bookstore browsers’ eyes starting in mid-August. My thanks to my editor, Bhavna Chauhan, and the design team at McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House) for coming up with this. It was not a straightforward design challenge.

Albatross Final Cover

 

The new title of my seventh novel is: Albatross

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

A few weeks back, I promised to unveil the new title for my seventh novel, due in bookstores on August 13. The original title I’d come up with was If at First You Succeed. I liked the wry little twist on this common phrase. But it is a mouthful. My editor, the wonderful Bhavna Chauhan at McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House) and I agreed that it was worth considering some other title options that were a little pithier and punchier. I’ve always liked titles that have at least two different meanings, even if the reader doesn’t understand the second meaning until later in the novel. One Brother Shy and Poles Apart are two examples of titles of mine that, I hope, take on additional meaning for the reader as the story unfolds.

So with all of this in mind, the title for my new novel is Albatross. Without giving too much away, this word has strong connections to the story but in two different contexts. This is not a novel about golf, but the game does play into the story. In golf parlance, an albatross is that rare and wonderful event when a player shoots three below par on a hole. In other words, if a golfer holes her second shot on a Par 5, she would be said to have scored an “albatross.” I’ve scored many birdies (one below par on a hole) in my less-than-stellar golfing career, and one lonely eagle (two below par on a hole). But I have never come close to landing the elusive albatross. So in one sense, the word albatross reflects the rare talent for golf that the narrator in my novel possesses.

albatross on scorecard

But there is a completely different meaning for the word albatross (I mean beyond the literal sea bird definition). Back in 1798, the English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a very long poem called The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In the poem, an albatross seems to bring good weather and favourable winds to a ship that was threatened by the ice of a winter storm. When a sailor shoots the albatross with a crossbow, the ship’s fortunes change for the worse. For his crime, the sailor is forced to hang the dead albatross around his neck as punishment.

albatross-around-your-neck

This second meaning of the word albatross – the bearing of guilt or a burden – becomes a powerful reflection of the narrator’s life when his golfing prowess becomes a burden or the albatross around his neck.

When I suggested the alternative title, my editor, and according to the legend, everyone else at Penguin Random House, thought it was short, punchy, clever, and perfect. Who am I to argue?

So when the novel hits bookstores in August, the title will simply be Albatross.

I should soon be able to share the cover design, but not quite yet. Stay tuned!

A new title for novel #7 is coming soon…

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 5.32.57 PM

Just wanted to let you know that shortly I’ll be unveiling a new title for my seventh novel, due out in mid-August. My editor at McClelland & Stewart and I just decided that there was a better and more meaningful title, though I like the sentiment captured in the original. It shouldn’t be too much longer before all will be revealed. I may even be able to release the cover design at the same time. Stand by…

Editing If at First You Succeed

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

blue pencil

I’ve been working closely with my editor at McClelland & Stewart, Bhavna Chauhan, to edit the manuscript for my seventh novel, tentatively known as If at First You Succeed. It’s been tough slogging but the novel is much better now than it was before this editing stage. I should have the revised manuscript back to her in the next few weeks, and we’ll see how she likes it. I’m enjoying the process and we’re both staying focused on making this the best book it can be. We’re still on track to be published in August 2019. Stay tuned.

If at First You Succeed is finished

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018


Ball in hole

It’s always exciting to finish the manuscript for my next novel. It’s such a journey to cook up an idea, create the characters, map out the story, and then write the novel. There is a moment of sheer relief when you type the words “The End.” I say “a moment of sheer of relief” because the journey isn’t nearly over yet. My twin brother Tim is almost always an early reader (along with my wife, Nancy), and he’s already nearly finished it. As usual, he’s had some sound editorial suggestions, most of which I’ve already executed. But still, there is a certain satisfaction at making it this far.

You’d think on my seventh novel that it might be getting easier. But I’m hard-pressed to say this novel was any less challenging than the six that preceded it. In fact, I encountered a rough patch on this novel that I’ve never experienced before. When I’d written the first half of this manuscript, I read it over before digging in to write the second half. For the first time in my writing life, I just wasn’t satisfied with what I’d written. It just didn’t feel quite right. I wasn’t happy with it.

So after thinking long and hard about the story, I made some changes. I performed some surgery on the first half that may have lengthened the novel a tad, but I hope also makes it a faster read. Seems like a contradiction, but it’s not. After recovering from this surgery, I barrelled ahead with the second half and finished it last week. I’ve now gone through the entire manuscript one more time, fixed some small things, and made the solid edits my twin bro proposed.

Now it’s off to my editor at McClelland & Stewart, Bhavna Chauhan, and the editorial process begins afresh. I’m sure she’ll have some helpful suggestions at various levels of the story that will make this a better novel. But, we’re getting closer. This post is just my way of pausing for a moment, and feeling good about finishing the manuscript, at least for the first time. I’m sure I’ll be “finishing the manuscript” a couple more times before it’s well and truly ready for your favourite bookstore. As far as I know, we’re on track for its release in August 2019. Seems so far away.

Onwards…

manuscript

We have lift-off on my seventh novel

Friday, May 4th, 2018

Blogpost photo

I’ve been remiss by waiting so long to post about the state of my seventh novel, If at First You Succeed. Actually, being remiss is kind of a perpetual state of being for me these days. It’s a busy time. But the good news is, I’m deep into writing the manuscript for my seventh novel. I’ve been working on it reasonably steadily since February. If at First You Succeed is now about half-written. I’m up over 50,000 words. So far so good (I think). The novel deals with a central issue in most of our lives. It’s about finding happiness and fulfillment and doing what our heart tell us to do, even if the head has other ideas. I think it’s an issue many struggle with, particularly as it relates to our careers. People often simply fall into their first job and discover that they’re actually pretty good at it. By all of the standard measures of success, they’re doing very well. They get promoted. They get raises. They’re headhunted by other companies. And before they know it, fifteen or twenty years have passed and they’re well entrenched in what seems to have become their career.

Here’s the tricky part, even though they’re very good at their job (or in the case of my narrator, the very best in the world), they don’t wake up on a Monday morning entranced by the idea of going to work for another week. So this is a funny (I hope) novel that wrestles with the idea that even though you may be very good at what you do, maybe even the best, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what you’re meant to do.

The current thinking of my publisher, McClelland & Stewart, is that it will hit bookstores in the late summer or early fall of 2019. And yes, there is a reason for the golf ball graphic. Now I must get back at it…

Eleven years later…

Monday, January 8th, 2018

2017-2018 change represents the new year 2018, three-dimensional rendering, 3D illustration

Yes, I know, I’m a little tardy with my annual end-of-year post counting my blessings over the preceding twelve months. I have no excuse. There are just as many blessings to enumerate, but the holiday break ended up being just that, a break. For some reason I could not muster the wherewithal to sit down at my computer. (Given that my last post on this humble blog was in August, you may wonder just how long my “break” was.) Anyway, I made similar “progress” on my seventh novel, If at First You Succeed. Bu I’m pleased to report that my sedentary ways are behind me and I am emerging from the holiday haze!

So, a few days behind, let me reminisce about what a happy year 2017 was as part of celebrating the eleventh anniversary of this blog:

  • Part of January 2016 was dedicated to persuading other writers I know and respect to read the manuscript for One Brother Shy, and offer their old pal Terry a positive blurb for the then new novel. I was thrilled when Joe Kertes, Gary Barwin, Susan Juby, and Steve Patterson all kindly agreed. No money changed hands. You can find their lovely comments gracing the back cover of One Brother Shy.
  • I taught my eight-week Humour Writing course early in the year for the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing program. Always fun.
  • In February we lost Canadian treasure and three-time Leacock Medalist Stuart McLean. We weren’t ready. When my first novel won the 2008 Leacock Medal, in my impromptu acceptance remarks, I thanked Stuart’s two main characters from his classic Vinyl Cafe stories, Dave and Morley, for having a particularly quiet and uneventful year. I did that because I suspected that had Stuart released a new collections of stories that year, I would not have won. I was interviewed for the CBC story when news of Stuart’s passing broke.
  • I gave 83 book talks in 2017, down somewhat from my high-water mark of 142 a few years ago. But it was wonderful to visit parts of my city, province, and country I don’t get to very often. Highlights would include a ten day tour of the Gulf Islands off the coast of BC in April, a lecture to the Hamilton Association of the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art, a “Google Talk” at Google’s Canadian headquarters, a keynote address at the Women in Nuclear conference, along with festival appearances in Gananoque, Wakefield, River John (Nova Scotia), Eden Mills, Lunenburg, Westport, Whistler, Stratford and Toronto (IFOA). I even Skyped in to a book club in Kinshaha in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In July I was thrilled to be invited to join the faculty of the famed Iceland Writers Retreat running for a week this coming April. I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland.
  • In November, I spoke at the launch of the One Brother Shy Daisy audio version for the CNIB. It was such a wonderful hosted at The Hub, a CNIB community “hub” in Toronto.
  • I added to my writing obligations in 2017 when I became the humour columnist for Legion Magazine as well as a columnist for Leaside Life magazine. Both of these will continue in 2018.
  • In November, I spent a week sequestered in a hotel in Collingwood working on my seventh novel, If at First You Succeed. I’ve finished my chapter-by-chapter outline and have just started the manuscript. McClelland & Stewart expects to release the novel in the spring of 2019.

So it was an eventful and wonderful year in my writerly life.

Looking ahead, I’ll be doing more traveling in 2018 with writing-related trips already planned for Iceland, Yellowknife, and Woody Point (Newfoundland), with a few dozen appearances already booked. As well, I should have my seventh novel, If at First You Succeed, finished by the summer. I’m about to start teaching my eight-week Humour Writing course again for the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing program. So life is full and good, and I couldn’t be happier. Onwards!