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Peter Malone Elliott

Vimi Bajaj

By Interviews

Vimi Bajaj was the Grand Prize Winner of the Literary category in the 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, Vermilion.  Set against the backdrop of modern India, Vermilion is a sweeping piece of literary fiction that dissects archaic social inequities and violence against women. It’s truly breathtaking work—your prose is absolutely gorgeous, and the subject matter is incredibly timely and relevant to today’s society. Especially in the post #MeToo era, how important was it to you for Vermilion to shed light on these topics—especially through the lens of a culture where they are so often ignored? Thank you so much for your encouraging words about my work! As far back as I can remember, I have been fired up by both the obvious and more subtle ways that inequalities between the sexes are endured, promoted and strengthened in India and among the diaspora. From commonplace ‘eve teasings’ and…

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Ari Halevy

By Interviews

Ari Halevy was the Grand Prize Winner of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category in the 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with his novel, Heretical.  Sanctum, the dystopian, caste system-divided setting of Heretical, is incredibly complex and immersive. On the surface, it seems like it could run the risk of being too difficult to digest. Yet, at no point did we feel like the mythology outweighed the narrative itself—an incredible, not-often achieved feat in the high fantasy genre, and a testament to your skill as a writer. It’s doubly remarkable when you take into account that this is your first novel. What made you want to tackle such an intricate subject in your first attempt at being an author? In many ways, the story I wanted to tell required me to leave my comfort zone. I’ve always been an avid reader of fantasy books, but the sheer scope they entail felt daunting to…

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Wonderland

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

Wonderland by Zoje Stage horror Mulholland Books – July 2020 If the past year has taught me anything? I can’t be afraid of switching things up. Expanding my horizons. Being unafraid to be bold in my decision-making. Holistically speaking, most of the books that I’ve chosen to review for Pipeline are works that are more or less in my wheelhouse, genre-wise. Meaning, I knew going into the read that it was pretty likely that I was going to enjoy them—or at the very least appreciate them. So, in that sense, I’ve been “playing it safe.” To use a gambling analogy—I’ve been betting with the house money instead of my own. With this review, I decided to remedy that. I picked a book that, honestly, I probably wouldn’t have been inclined to buy for myself in any other circumstance: a psychological horror with a supernatural twist—Wonderland by Zoje Stage. I should…

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Laura Picklesimer

By Interviews

Laura Picklesimer was the Grand Prize Winner of the Mystery/Thriller category in the 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, Kill for Love.  Kill for Love is a phenomenally executed high-wire act with regards to tone and voice. As a blend of pulpy, Tarantino-esque violence and biting, darkly-comedic social satire, it’s one of those pieces that feels like it could just fall apart at the seams at any moment. But you thread that needle with such precision. What were your biggest inspirational touchstones when creating Kill for Love, and how do you think you avoided the pitfalls most writers encounter when trying to craft such a tricky-to-achieve tone? Kill for Love began as a brief exercise in a writing workshop. We were asked to try on a particular voice from a well-known book. I chose Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, but I thought it would be fun to subvert…

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This Close to Okay

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith lit fiction Grand Central Publishing – February 2021 “I really like the writing. But we need something that’s more elevated. Something that’s high concept. You know what I’m saying, right?” In the last year and a half, I’ve heard this phrase (or variations of it) tumble out the lips of more film/TV executives, literary agents, and publishers than I’d care to admit. No matter how many times I hear it, I always chafe at this vague “development-speak” way of passing on a submission. It feels like the coward’s way out—a generic, one-size-fits-all statement that they can throw out instead of saying how they actually feel. If you actually liked the writing, you wouldn’t be passing on it, would you, you schmuck? Despite my feelings about this fact, the industry professional desire for “high concept” material isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In the entertainment…

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John Cosgrove

By Interviews

John Cosgrove won the Grand Prize of the Outsider category in the 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with his novel, The Black Space Behind Our Eyes. It sounds like a cliché, but in this case, it’s 1000% true: The Black Space Behind Our Eyes is unlike anything we’ve ever read. Its plot is delightfully bizarre, the prose filled with somber, poignant meditations on grief and loneliness, and it is unexpectedly hilarious at certain points. And when we learned that the book is loosely based on events from your actual life, our heads nearly exploded. Can you give us a bit of insight into what exactly shaped the direction of this ambitious novel, and how you decided what to include, what to exclude, what to fictionalize, etc.?  Firstly, massive gratitude to Book Pipeline for believing in this story. It’s a privilege to be part of such an awesome network of people, and…

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Jessi Honard and Marie Parks

By Interviews

Jessi Honard and Marie Parks placed as finalists in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with their novel Unrelenting. After an introduction from Book Pipeline, Jessi and Marie signed a publishing deal with Not a Pipe Publishing, who will release the book in 2022. Something that really appealed to us about Unrelenting was how it effortlessly blended supernatural fantasy and thriller into one cohesive, wholly accessible piece—one that expertly subverted the story and character tropes of those genres, yet took full advantage of the structural commonalities that readers love about them. Was there a conscious choice on your part to straddle the fence from the initial stages of development? Or did it happen more organically as you began diving into the manuscript itself? Marie Parks (MP): Organic, for sure! There are nine (nine!) drafts in our Google Drive, and the early versions bear very little resemblance…

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The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict historical fiction Sourcebooks Landmark – December 2020 The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. Try saying that five times fast. As any of my lovely coworkers at Pipeline will tell you, I’m incredibly partial to any material—whether it be in film, TV, theater, or literature—that’s historical. Ask me about any period drama that’s been released in the past ten years in those mediums, and there’s not only a very high chance that I have seen or read it, but also that I have a very strong opinion about its merits. For example, I’ll fight anyone who suggests Mad Men isn’t a perfectly crafted dissection of the fallacies and contradictions of the American dream, gender identity, and societal hierarchy, or that The Knick isn’t the most underrated series of the past century. I’m kidding. Kind of. On the flip side of being such an aficionado,…

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Greenlights

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey nonfiction Crown – October 2020 All-write, All-write, All-write. It’s impossible not to love Matthew McConaughey. From the classic pieces of film and television he’s graced our culture with, his inexorable humanitarian efforts through his Just Keep Livin Foundation, and his larger-than-life, quirkily charming persona, Matthew is a true “one-of-one.” He’s a slice of Americana that cannot—and will not—ever be replicated. When I heard, though, that Matthew was releasing a memoir? I cringed. Celebrity memoirs are seldom well-executed—they often serve as little more than a printed-and-bound laundry list of the person’s accomplishments and good deeds. But, being a tried and true Matthew loyalist (I still love you, Rust Cohle), I wasn’t going to pass on the chance to check it out. I read the entire thing in two hours. I know what you’re thinking—well, you probably just liked it so much because you’re a fan of Matthew…

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The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win

By Spotlight - Must-Reads

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Winby by Maria Konnikova Nonfiction Penguin – June 2020 The memoir. It’s a genre of nonfiction that, quite honestly, is a bit of a wildcard. When done poorly, memoirs can be superfluous exercises of vanity, incredibly dry reads, and thinly veiled instruments of agenda-pushing. Furthermore, for every insightful, sharply crafted, and timely memoir, there are about a dozen that are. . . well, not. Luckily for us? Not only is The Biggest Bluff firmly in the former category, it is one of the most astute, intellectually challenging, and engrossing works I’ve read in recent memory. The Biggest Bluff follows Maria Konnikova, a Columbia University PhD in Psychology and acclaimed writer, as she dove into the world of professional poker as a method to study human behavior, the role of chance in day-to-day life (and the fallacy that we can control all…

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