It was a lovely day at the office the other day when Kelley Eskridge’s debut novel, Solitaire, arrived from the printer—here we are in the second week of 2011 and our first book is in. (I don’t think we’ll be able to keep up that pace.)
I loved Solitaire when it was originally published in 2002—as you can see, since I reviewed it for BookPage:
In solitude, there is nowhere to hide, and Jackal is forced to face herself again and again, exploring her connections to the world, her family and friends.
Solitaire is a novel of our time: a story of dashed expectations and corporate manipulations. Eskridge explores what it means to really see ourselves, and what we are ultimately capable of. Jackal, a slight adolescent, matures into an adult capable of living well, no matter what her circumstances. She is a worthy role model for any reader.
Solitaire stuck with me over the years. I recommended it and enjoyed reading Kelley’s short stories—as well as meeting her and Nicola when Kelly and I went out to Seattle for Kelly to teach at Clarion West. When Kelley’s agent, Shawna McCarthy asked if we were interested in publishing Solitaire again, it was one of the easier decisions of the day.
One of the things I wanted to try was to bring the book to a slightly different audience. Eos did a great job of publishing the novel—it was a finalist for the Nebula, Locus, Endeavor, and Gaylactic Spectrum Awards, as well as a Borders Original Voices selection and a New York Times Notable Book. Quite the mouthful and not bad for a first novel!
But—there has to be a but, otherwise I wouldn’t have wanted to take another shot at publishing the book—there are people such as John Mesjak, one of our fabulous indie sales reps who had never heard of Solitaire and he loved it. I know there’s an audience for smart, different science fiction like this. Some of those readers identify as science fiction readers and/or fans, and some don’t think about genres, they’re just looking for another good book. So if you can spread the word to help us reach readers from either of those groups we’d surely appreciate it! We haven’t published much actual science fiction in our 10 years or so (that will change with our Geoff Ryman reprints and with two autumn 2011 books—but more on those later) and anything you can do to help will help us publish more of the good stuff.
Solitaire will be in your local bookstore soon: our suggestions include Broadside Books, Brookline Booksmith, Harvard Bookstore, University Bookstore, Food for Thought, Greenlight, Powell’s, Politics and Prose, and so on. You know the drill. You can either pay the salaries of your local UPS delivery person or you can support one of the many excellent bookstores employing smart people to bring you good books. Obviously we’d love it if you bought our books from one of them!
Of course, it’s also available directly from us—and we thank you for your support! The ebook is available instantly and without any wait or fuss in DRM-free PDF, epub, lit, and mobi formats at Weightless Books, and this month it’s on sale at the introductory price of only $6.95.