…I signed the publishing contract for my debut novel The Lamplighters.
I had pitched the book to legendary horror editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester Publishing’s infamous Leisure Books imprint in 2009, and I was excited to receive a full manuscript request from Don by return. I submitted the book and waited anxiously for the outcome.
…and then Dorchester Publishing went under.
It was difficult not to take that as a sign. Ha ha!
But when Don D’Auria became Executive Editor of the new Horror line at Samhain Publishing, my manuscript followed him there. Don told me he loved the book and thought it would be a fine addition to the line.
Contracts were finalised 26th April 2011, and the e-book was published in November of that year, followed by the paperback in February 2012. An audiobook followed in 2016 (now out-of-print).
Things went a little bit crazy from there. The Lamplighters was selected as a Finalist in the Bram Stoker Awards for ‘Superior Achievement in a First Novel’ from all the horror debuts published that year. I enjoyed sitting up at 4:30am in freezing cold England, watching the Stoker Awards webcast broadcast live from the USA. Don had written to me prior to the awards ceremony and asked me for an acceptance speech ‘just in case’. I wrote some waffle about not winning because I knew I wouldn’t, and I didn’t, so that was that. But as I always say to my creative writing students: “Remember, it’s cooler to be nominated. Unless you win and then it’s cooler to win.”
The Lamplighters was a Finalist again, this time in the Book Pipeline Contest for books deemed suitable for film/TV adaptation, one of only 6 from almost 1,000 entries. I wrote a screenplay based on the novel, and that went on to be a Semi-finalist in the Screencraft Horror Screenplay Competition, from over 2,000 entries.
Close, but no close-up this time Mr DeMille.
I still think The Lamplighters would make for an excellent scary movie, but then I would think that, wouldn’t I? (Ha ha #2)
The book became my first translated work, with the Japanese edition published by TakeShobo in 2015. I was really thrilled about that, especially when I learned that the Tokyo-based publisher has Stephen King and the Star Wars books on its roster. Getting my author copy was a surreal experience, and it’s a very beautiful object, that edition. Hey you guys! My other books are available for translation, just sayin’.
And then, just as Dorchester Publishing had during my initial pitching of the book, Samhain Publishing went under. IT’S NOT MY FAULT, OKAY? STOP MAKING OUT LIKE IT’S SOME KIND OF WEIRD CURSE THAT FOLLOWS ME AROUND… (Ha ha #3).
I like to keep my work out there and available and soon after, I signed with Crossroad Press/Macabre Ink for all my Samhain backlist titles. My thanks to the two Davids at Crossroad for keeping my malformed offspring in circulation.
And so, without any further ado, here it is.
Ten years and a day since I became a fully signed-up novelist, a new 10th anniversary paperback edition of The Lamplighters is now available.
The nightmare continues!
And coming soon… There will be a limited edition hardcover, too.
Happy anniversary, old thing. My thanks to Don D’Auria & all at Samhain, to the two Davids at Crossroad Press, and to all my readers (yes, all 3 of you! Ha ha #4) and reviewers for the last ten years.
Here’s to a few more, eh?
About The Lamplighters:
Life on Meditrine Island is luxurious…but brief.
Marla Neuborn has found the best post-grad job in the world—as a “Lamplighter” working on Meditrine Island, an exclusive idyllic paradise owned and operated by a consortium of billionaires. All Lamplighters have to do is tend to the mansions, cook and clean, and turn on lights to make it appear the owners are home. But the job comes with conditions. Marla will not know the exact location of the island, and she will have no contact with the outside world for the duration of her stay.
Once on the island, Marla quickly learns the billionaire lifestyle is not all it is made out to be. The chief of security rules Meditrine with an iron fist. His private police force patrols the shores night and day, and CCTV cameras watch the Lamplighters relentlessly. Soon Marla will also discover first-hand that the island hides a terrible secret. She’ll meet the resident known as the Skin Mechanic. And she’ll find out why so few Lamplighters ever leave the island alive.
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