Two weeks after Western Law professor Randal Graham’s first work of fiction, Beforelife, was released, he was sitting upstairs in his home, writing, when he got an unexpected home visit.
“It was one of the editors of ECW Press, she was freaking out because she had just been told they were signing me for a trilogy,” he said.
Due to the publisher next summer, the second book in the trilogy picks up threads of secondary characters in the first novel. The main villain in the second book is Isaac Newton who has been deemed “the most dangerous man in the world.” Graham’s third book will be delivered two years later.
But the good news did not end there for Graham.
“A month ago, I was out at the movies, I got home and had about a million text messages waiting for me from the same editor. She wouldn’t tell me what it was about, but she kept saying, ‘Buddy! Buddy! Buddy!’ Finally, I got back to her,” he explained.
Graham had been nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Awards but didn’t know when those results would be released. “Or what it meant,” he admitted. “I didn’t expect much of it.”
The news his editor so desperately wanted to get to him? Beforelife had won the Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal for Fantasy Fiction.
About a week after that, he received an email from the Stephen Leacock Society informing him he had been longlisted – part of the Top 10 – for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, a prestigious award in Canada. Though he did not make it into the Top 3, Graham considers it an honour to have been named on the longlist.
“The first award I won was for fantasy; this one was for humour. It’s funny. People are still having trouble figuring out what genre to stick my book in. I knew I was writing satire, and I wrote a story I liked and a book I would enjoy, I didn’t have a genre in mind.”
In July, Graham will be part of the Leacock Humour Festival, discussing Beforelife, which has been listed for a few other awards he does not want to list and jinx.