News

Southern Reach Annihilation Book Tour Schedule: LAT Festival of Books and More

Jeff VanderMeer • April 10th, 2014 • News

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Well, it’s been a ridiculously busy spring, with Annihilation taking off, including a featured review in Entertainment Weekly, and great press in GQ, the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Salon.com, and many more. I’ll share links in a separate blog post in a week or so. In the meantime: all three animated gifs for the Southern Reach series!

The next leg of the tour is swiftly approaching, and here are all the details. Authority is out May 6 and Acceptance in early September.

LOS ANGELES

Sat. April 12 at 4:30pm, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (USC Campus)–Panel “Fiction: Outside the Margins,” with Aimee Bender and Karen Joy Fowler. Moderated by Joy Press. Taper Hall, THH 101. Followed by book signing.
–Also catch me at 1pm at Black Clock (booth #121) and 3pm at Skylight (booth #138)
–I’ll be at the LAT book awards Friday night, too.

Mon. April 14 at 7:30pm, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in Redondo Beach (2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach CA)–Reading from Annihilation, signing, and discussion. As well as teasers from Authority. Check out their facebook page for the event here.
–From 12 noon to 1pm on April 14, catch me at io9.com, answering questions; their bookclub is discussing Annihilation.

Thurs. April 17 at 7:30pm, California State University Channel Islands (One University Drive, Camarillo, CA, at Del Norte 1500)–”In Other Worlds: An Evening of Fantasy and Science Fiction,” with Jeff VanderMeer, Sofia Samatar, and Nikko Nguyen. Reading and Q&A. Samatar is the 2014 recipient of the Crawford Award for her novel A Stranger in Olondria (published by Small Beer Press).

ARKANSAS

Thurs. April 25 thru Sat. April 26, Arkansas Literary Festival (Main library campus and other venues)–Wonderbook Workshop, discussion of Annihilation (with slideshow), school visit. Check the schedule for my events.

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UPCOMING EVENTS (more info soon, with more events TBA)

May 8–WORD Bookstore tumblr (virtual event; answering questions online)
July 9–Hub City Bookstore (Spartanburg, SC)
July 10–Quail Ridge Books (Raleigh/Durham, NC)
July 12–Malaprop’s (Asheville, NC)
July 15–Hub City Bookstore (introducing Carrie Vaughn; Shared Worlds event; date tentative)
July 25-26–Comic-Con (San Diego; with Ann VanderMeer)
July 30–Mysterious Galaxy (Clarion Writers Workshop event, San Diego, with Ann VanderMeer)
Aug. 14-28–United Kingdom Book Tour (WorldCon, Edinburgh, Bath, and more; with Ann VanderMeer)
Aug. 29—31, Decatur Book Festival
Aug. 31–Blue Train Books event (Hogansville, GA)

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Ann VanderMeer’s April Time Traveler’s Almanac Tour

Jeff VanderMeer • April 10th, 2014 • News

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Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award winning editor Ann VanderMeer will be touring in support of her MASSIVE thousand-page time travel anthology, just featured on NPR with a review and interview on All Things Considered!

Monday, April 21, 7:00 PM—Flyleaf Books (752 MLK Jr. Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC)
Wednesday, April 23, 7:00 PM—Joseph-Beth Booksellers (161 Lexington Green Circle, #B1, Lexington, KY)
Thursday, April 24, 7:00 PM—Malaprops (55 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC)

Come out and learn more about time travel and great fiction!

–Read the Preface at the Onion’s AV Club.
–Read an interview with Ann at Paste.

Southern Reach Text and Image Game from The Fourth Estate

Jeff VanderMeer • March 31st, 2014 • News

Southern Reach Training and Recruitment - Internet Explorer_2014-03-31_19-37-27

The Fourth Estate, the UK publisher, for Annihilation and the other two Southern Reach novels has a great new interactive text and image site where you can sign up for an expedition into Area X, the site of the novels.

Go check it out!

Southern Reach Annihilation Book Tour Schedule for April and Beyond

Jeff VanderMeer • March 28th, 2014 • News

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Well, it’s been a ridiculously busy spring, with Annihilation taking off, including a featured review in Entertainment Weekly, and great press in GQ, the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Salon.com, and many more. I’ll share links in a separate blog post on Monday.

The next leg of the tour is swiftly approaching, and here are all the details. I hope to see some of you at these events, and as always check my facebook page for more event information. I’ll be back soon to do some real (and regular) blogging, I promise!

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA

Sat. April 5 at 2pm, Barnes & Noble (Tallahassee Mall, 2415 N Monroe St)–Join award-winning local author Jeff VanderMeer for a short reading from his novel Annihilation, optioned by Paramount and recently reviewed in Entertainment Weekly. About an expedition into a strange forbidden zone. With Ann VanderMeer, discussing her new anthology The Time Traveler’s Almanac, the largest collection of time travel stories ever published. With Q&A, signing until 4pm.

Sun. April 6, 4pm to 6pm, Fermentation Lounge (113 All Saints Street)–VanderMeer Book Release Party featuring Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and Ann VanderMeer’s The Time Traveler’s Almanac. With special guests writer and St. Marks NWR volunteer ranger Kati Schardl as well as novelist/former city commissioner Mark Mustian. Reading, giveaways, boar charging anecdotes, time travel, free cake, and more! A portion of all proceeds from book sales will go to the St. Marks Lighthouse Restoration Fund.

LOS ANGELES

Sat. April 12 at 4:30pm, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (USC Campus)–Panel “Fiction: Outside the Margins,” with Aimee Bender and Karen Joy Fowler. Moderated by Joy Press. Taper Hall, THH 101. Followed by book signing. (In addition, may be signing at the Black Clock booth and Skylight; more soon.)

Mon. April 14 at 7:30pm, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in Redondo Beach (2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach CA)–Reading from Annihilation, signing, and discussion. As well as teasers from Authority.

Thurs. April 17 at 7:30pm, California State University Channel Islands (One University Drive, Camarillo, CA, at Del Norte 1500)–”In Other Worlds: An Evening of Fantasy and Science Fiction,” with Jeff VanderMeer, Sofia Samatar, and Nikko Nguyen. Reading and Q&A. Samatar is the 2014 recipient of the Crawford Award for her novel A Stranger in Olondria (published by Small Beer Press).

ARKANSAS

Thurs. April 25 thru Sat. April 27, Arkansas Literary Festival (Main library campus and other venues)–Workshop, panel, school visit, and possibly more. Check the schedule when available.

UPCOMING EVENTS (more info soon, with more events TBA)

July 9–Hub City Bookstore (Spartanburg, SC)
July 12–Malaprop’s (Asheville, NC)
July 15–Hub City Bookstore (introducing Carrie Vaughn; Shared Worlds event; date tentative)
July 25-26–Comic-Con (San Diego; with Ann VanderMeer)
July 30–Mysterious Galaxy (Clarion Writers Workshop event, San Diego, with Ann VanderMeer)
Aug. 14-28–United Kingdom Book Tour (details to be announced; with Ann VanderMeer)
Aug. 29—31, Decatur Book Festival
Aug. 31–Blue Train Books event (Hogansville, GA–tentative)

ANN VANDERMEER TIME TRAVELER’S ALMANAC TOUR

Also, a shout-out to Ann, with a longer post Monday. Ann will be touring in support of her MASSIVE thousand-page time travel anthology.

Monday, April 21, 7:00 PM—Flyleaf Books (752 MLK Jr. Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC)
Wednesday, April 23, 7:00 PM—Joseph-Beth Booksellers (161 Lexington Green Circle, #B1, Lexington, KY)
Thursday, April 24, 7:00 PM—Malaprops (55 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC)

Acceptance--FSG
(The recently revealed cover to the third novel in the series…)

Annihilation: Jeff VanderMeer New York City Tour–Three Nights of Music, Conversation, Readings

Jeff VanderMeer • February 17th, 2014 • News

Annihilation Event

I’ll be in New York City the week of February 24 for three events, two in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. Please come out and help me celebrate the release of the book! The details are below. Hopefully for the McNally and Brooklyn events some of us can go out for drinks after. Ann will be with me for those events, too.

Annihilation continues to do very well, with mentions on the front page of the New York Times (also discussed on Jezebel, LitReactor, and more), this Wired.com podcast interview, and a long excerpt at io9. To name just a few, Annihilation has also been an Amazon best book of the month, top 25 Kindle selection, and Daily Beast pick, with much more to come.

FSG ORIGINALS SERIES (sponsored by Vulture and GQ): Jeff VanderMeer and Future of What
Tuesday, February 25, from 7pm to 9pm at Studio-X, 180 Varick St, #1610

I’ll be in conversation with host Starlee Kine and the band Future of What, featuring music by Future of What. This event is RSVP only, so click on the link and reserve a spot.

MCNALLY JACKSON BOOKS: In Conversation with FSG editor Sean McDonald
Wednesday, February 26, 7pm, 52 Prince Street, Manhattan

I’ll be reading, and then will have what should be a fascinating conversation with my editor at FSG Originals, Sean McDonald. He’s a brilliant editor and this should be a unique event.

WORD: Annihilation Reading and Authority Sneak Peek
Thursday, February 27, 7pm, 126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn

For the last event in Brooklyn I’ll read from Annihilation, preview the next book, Authority, and possibly event tell you about creating a fake squid and being charged by an otter…

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Annihilation Released February 4: Want to Help? Here’s How

Jeff VanderMeer • January 31st, 2014 • News

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Cover and interior detail from Annihilation, click for larger version.

“Annihilation is one of a grand writer’s finest and most dazzling books.” —Peter Straub

Annihilation Tour Schedule (Seattle, Portland, San Fran, NYC)
FSG’s Southern Reach/Annihilation page

Some great pre-pub excitement around Annihilation, my new novel, being released in North America February 4. It’s a Publishers Weekly pick of the week and Lydia Millet reviewed it for the LA Times, writing in part, ““A clear triumph for VanderMeer…a compelling, elegant and existential story. The apparent tragedy and freakish ecology of Area X’s blight are quite fascinating, and the solitary voice of its post-humanist narrator is both deeply flawed and deeply trustworthy–a difficult and excellent balance in a novel whose world is built seamlessly and whose symbols are rich and dark.” With a lot more to come.

How You Can Help!

If you like my fiction and want to support Annihilation, here are some of the things you can do to help.

—Buy the book now. You can preorder it on Amazon (where you can also preorder all three books for a very low price) or your preferred bookseller. In fact, FSG has a whole list of bookseller links if you scroll down on this page.

–Buy the book during release week. Here are a few direct sales links:

* Barnes & Noble

* Indiebound

* Powell’s Books

* Amazon.com and Amazon Canada

* Indigo Chapters (Canada)

* Blackstone audio book (read by Carolyn McCormick, who also read The Hunger Games)

—Review the book. Blog, review site, or on social media. Any mention, especially noting whatever you really liked about the book, helps immensely.

—Review it on Amazon. Go to the Amazon sales page for the book and tell other readers what you liked about it. A quick and easy way to help get the word out and create interest.

—Make sure local booksellers carry it.

—Request it from your local library. Making sure your local library knows about Annihilation, which got three starred library journal reviews not only increases library orders but allows multiple people to enjoy the book.

—Spread the word through twitter and facebook. Tell people about the novel through social media, using your favorite link about the book.

More Info on Annihilation and the Southern Reach trilogy

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, which will be published throughout 2014: volume two (Authority) in June, and volume three (Acceptance) in September.

“In much of Jeff VanderMeer’s work, a kind of radiance lies beating beneath the surface of the words. Here in Annihilation, it shines through with warm blazing incandescence. This is one of a grand writer’s finest and most dazzling books.” —Peter Straub, author of Lost Boy, Lost Girl

“Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent.” —Warren Ellis

“One of those books where it all comes together—the story and the prose and the ideas, all braided into a triple helix that gives rise to something vibrant and alive. Something that grows, word-by-word, into powerful, tangled vines that creep into your mind and take hold of it. Annihilation is brilliant and atmospheric, a novel that has the force of myth.” —Charles Yu, author of How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe

“A dazzling book . . . haunted and haunting.” —Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners

“A tense and chilling psychological thriller about an unraveling expedition and the strangeness within us. A little Kubrick, a lot Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and a claustrophobic dread that linger long afterward. I loved it.”—Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls

“The great thing about Annihilation is the strange, elusive, and paranoid world that it creates. . . .?I can’t wait for the next one.” —Brian Evenson, author of Last Days

“It’s been a long time since a book filled me with this kind of palpable, wondrous disquiet, a feeling that started on the first page and that I’m not sure I’ve yet shaken.” —Matt Bell, author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods

“This swift surreal suspense novel reads as if Verne or Wellsian adventurers exploring a mysterious island had warped through into a Kafkaesque nightmare world. ?The reader will want to stay trapped with the Biologist to find the answers to Area X’s mysteries.” —Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars trilogy

“After their high-risk expedition disintegrates, it’s every scientist for herself in this wonderfully creepy blend of horror and science fiction. . . . Speculative fiction at its most transfixing.” —Kirkus (Starred Review)

“A gripping fantasy thriller, Annihilation is?thoroughly suspenseful. In a manner similar to H. G. Wells’ in?The Island of Dr. Moreau?(1896), VanderMeer weaves together an otherworldly tale of the supernatural and the half-human.?Delightfully, this page-turner is the first in a trilogy.”?—Heather Paulson, ALA Booklist?(Starred Review)

Jeff VanderMeer Annihilation Book Tour: Seattle, Portland, San Fran, New York

Jeff VanderMeer • January 29th, 2014 • News

Annihilation is the first in the Southern Reach series, which resolves around mysteries surrounding Area X, a stretch of remote coastline separated from the rest of the world by an invisible border. The secret government agency known as the Southern Reach has been sending in expeditions for over thirty years, with, to say the least, very mixed results. Annihilation is the chronicle of the twelfth expedition, related by an unnamed biologist on the four-woman team. What they find is not what they were expecting…

The novel has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, with glowing blurbs from the likes of Kelly Link, Warren Ellis, Charles Yu, Peter Straub, Kim Stanley Robinson, Matt Bell, Brian Evenson, and Lauren Beukes. The film rights have sold to Paramount Pictures/Scott Rudin Productions, and translations are set for more than a dozen countries. The books are published by FSG Originals in the US. You can find more information here.

The Annihilation book tour for February is now pretty much set, and you’ll find the information and necessary links below. Mostly, I’ll be doing readings from Annihilation, but also giving you a taste of the backstory behind the books through a few related anecdotes—you know, the usual: boar chargings, weird dolphins, fake squid. Along with a few snippets from the second book, Authority, presented out of context so you cannot, dear readers, guess any spoilers from them…I know how sneaky you can be.

There may be an informal after-event or two as well—if so, I’ll make those announcements at the readings.

So come out, support your local bookstores, say hi, and have some fun. I love meeting readers and talking about books! The facebook event links below are an easy way to invite your friends, too.

–I’ll also be tweeting and posting on facebook about my adventures on tour.

Feb. 3, 7pm—Seattle, Elliott Bay Bookstore (1521 and 10th Ave)
Elliott Bay website
FSG Facebook event

Feb. 4, 7pm—Portland, Powell’s at Cedar Hills
(3415 SW Cedar Hills, Blvd, Beaverton, OR)
Powell’s website
FSG Facebook event
**Annihilation is a featured Powell’s selection for February

Feb. 8, 7:30pm—San Francisco, Writers With Drinks, with Lucy Corin (3225 22nd St, Make-out Room)
Writers with Drinks Facebook event

Feb. 11, 7pm—San Francisco, City Lights Bookstore (261 Columbus Ave. at Broadway)
City Lights website
FSG Facebook event

Feb. 26—7pm, NYC, Manhattan, McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince Street)
“In Conversation” with FSG editor Sean McDonald
McNally website
FSG Facebook event

Feb. 27 7pm—NYC, Brooklyn, WORD Bookstore (12 Franklin St)
WORD website
FSG Facebook event

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Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer–Audiobook Give-Away Contest (read by Carolyn McCormick)

Jeff VanderMeer • January 23rd, 2014 • News

UPDATE FEB 3: Congratulations to contest winners Sandi Kallas, John Wiswell, Analisa Roche, Michael Phillips, Shanna Hughes!!!!!

Want a copy of the awesome Blackstone audiobook for Annihilation, the first book in my Southern Reach trilogy? If you live in the United States, U.S. territories, or the Philippines you are eligible to win.

What’s the novel about? About a new expedition into Area X, a mysterious “pristine wilderness” cut off from the rest of the world for decades; many of the prior expeditions have come to bad ends. The members of the latest expedition are four women: an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist—the de facto leader—and a biologist, the narrator. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

What’s the contest?

–Tell me why you in particular should be added to the expedition going into Area X! Entries should be at least a sentence long but not over 500 words. I will not be checking their truthfulness. POST YOUR ENTRY IN THE COMMENTS TO THIS BLOG ENTRY.

–Residents of the U.S., U.S. territories, and the Philippines are eligible to enter.

–Five winners will be chosen and provided with their own download link.

–The deadline is midnight EST on Wednesday, January 30. (The audiobook is released Feb. 4)

Thanks to Blackstone for sponsoring this great contest. To preorder the audiobook, click here. You can also check out order links for the print version here.

Who is the reader for the Annihilation audiobook? In addition to being the reader for Annihilation and the Hunger Games audiobooks, Carolyn McCormick has appeared in the films A Simple Twist of Fate and Enemy Mine. She has appeared on television as Dr. Olivit in Law & Order for more than a decade and as a guest on The Practice and Star Trek. Her Broadway credits include roles in The Dinner Party and Private Lives.

Advance praise for the novel…

“Brilliant…Evocative descriptions…masterful psychological insight, and intellectual observations both profound and disturbing—calling Lovecraft to mind and Borges—VanderMeer unfolds a tale as satisfying as it is richly imagined.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A gripping fantasy thriller, Annihilation is thoroughly suspenseful. In a manner similar to H. G. Wells’ in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), VanderMeer weaves together an otherworldly tale of the supernatural and the half-human. Delightfully, this page-turner is the first in a trilogy.”
—Booklist (starred review)

“After their high-risk expedition disintegrates, it’s every scientist for herself in this wonderfully creepy blend of horror and science fiction…VanderMeer is an expert fearmonger, but his strongest suit, what makes his novel a standout, is his depiction of the biologist…Speculative fiction at its most transfixing.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

For more cool information on the Southern Reach trilogy, visit FSG’s page.

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February Book Tour Dates for Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation: Seattle, Portland, San Fran, NYC

Jeff VanderMeer • January 14th, 2014 • News

Yes! I am alive–and will be blogging more frequently.

First, a bit of news: there is a book tour for the FSG edition of Annihilation, first in the Southern Reach trilogy. The pub date is February 4. I’ll be in Seattle at Elliott Bay on the 3rd, Powell’s in Portland on the 4th, San Fran for Writer’s with Drinks on the 8th and then City Lights on the 11th. Then will head over to NYC for an event in Manhattan at McNally-Jackson on the 26th, Word in Brooklyn on the 27th.

You can find all of the details over at the FSG site. (HarperCollins Canada will be releasing the book on the 4th as well, with The Fourth Estate in the UK publishing on Feb. 26.) The two other novels in the series will be released later this year.

FSG also has a great page for the Southern Reach series, featuring a logo and map–and with links to order online.

Tour details for March through the rest of the year I’ll announce soon.

Some advance praise for Annihilation, via three starred reviews in various library journals. It’s also made several lists of books highly anticipated this year.

“Brilliant…Evocative descriptions…masterful psychological insight, and intellectual observations both profound and disturbing—calling Lovecraft to mind and Borges—Vandermeer unfolds a tale as satisfying as it is richly imagined.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A gripping fantasy thriller, Annihilation is thoroughly suspenseful. In a manner similar to H. G. Wells’ in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), VanderMeer weaves together an otherworldly tale of the supernatural and the half-human. Delightfully, this page-turner is the first in a trilogy.”
Booklist (starred review)

“After their high-risk expedition disintegrates, it’s every scientist for herself in this wonderfully creepy blend of horror and science fiction…VanderMeer is an expert fearmonger, but his strongest suit, what makes his novel a standout, is his depiction of the biologist…Speculative fiction at its most transfixing.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The book also features lovely blurbs from Warren Ellis, Kelly Link, Matt Bell, Lauren Beukes, Charles Yu, and more. And, of course, the books have been optioned by Paramount Pictures/Scott Rudin Productions.

A blurb from Peter Straub came in too late for the book cover:

“In much of Jeff VanderMeer’s work, a kind of radiance lies beating beneath the surface of the words. Here In Annihilation, it shines through with warm blazing incandescence. This is one of a grand writer’s finest and most dazzling books.” – Peter Straub

P.S. You still have time to enter this HarperCollins Canada contest

Wonderbook: An Interview with Artist Jeremy Zerfoss

Jeff VanderMeer • October 21st, 2013 • News, Uncategorized

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(Watch the Wonderbook video, by Gregory Bossert, in HD.)

As readers may know, last week Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction was released, along with the debut of the related website, Wonderbooknow.com (created by Luis Rodrigues). The main artist on the project was Jeremy Zerfoss, who worked with me on it for almost two years. Zerfoss is best known for his innovative and bold line of book covers for Cheeky Frawg Books. He has also done art and design work for Symantec, BullSpec Magazine, Shared Worlds and RDS Press. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he runs Tenno Art House.

You can find some very cool coverage of Wonderbook in the form of a preview at FastCreate and a lengthy interview at B&N Review. In addition, Wonderbook is a Amazon.com October selection, and a selection of several other prominent booksellers and media outlets. Writers can enter this contest about getting the end of the journey at Booklifenow.com (worldwide; includes Booklife too) to win a copy.

Here’s an interview between me and Zerfoss that gives you a little bit of a sense of the scope and approach of the project…

Jeff VanderMeer: When you first emailed me, did you ever imagine it would result in a book collaboration?

Jeremy Zerfoss: I had no idea. It was just a really horrible, crappy time of my life and I randomly thought—well, why don’t I just send him some artwork of mine that’s suitably creepy and maybe he’ll get a kick out of it. Even just receiving a reply blew my mind at the time. I yelled a bit to my parents about it, all excited yah know.

Jeff: I remember how I’d been searching for new art, a new approach for our Cheeky Frawg e-books and also just in general, wanting something that had more of a pop-art feel but with depth and weirdness. I clicked on the link you sent thinking it’d be the usual crap, and was blown away….So, we did work on some smaller projects before this one, but nothing that could prepare anybody for Wonderbook..How would you describe the process of working on Wonderbook?

Jeremy: Right out the gate it was a huge honor of course, to even be considered. But it was crazy, in a good and frustrating way. First of all, nothing was set in stone and the book and the projects and art were constantly evolving, depending on your ideas and at times my input or thoughts. I’d get these crazy emails from you to STOP RIGHT NOW DO THIS OMG! It was very chaotic and fun and horrifying. It felt like a wolverine trying to mate with a tornado… we shotgunned quite a few emails back and forth.

Jeff: Do you think it could’ve been a more efficient process?

Jeremy: At times, yes. If I wasn’t juggling a 9-5 at the same time and had a bit more time to focus on long projects it would have gone smoother—working with you was an experience worth noting, both fun and exasperating in differing degrees. I’m sure it was mutual, h aha. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything though—I liked what we were doing. I think we needed to do more phone calls, but our schedules hampered that.

Jeff: And I felt every time we had a phone call that it didn’t work, just ‘cause I hate phone calls. And then your gmail would do what gmail does and disorganize everything. What did you enjoy the most…and the least?

Jeremy: What I liked best was getting these, just…whack-a-doo sketches and getting a chance to do new styles and techniques and concepts I would have never thought of. I still think every sketch should get put into a book on its own—call it Blunderbook: Or How I Learned to Trust My Gut. I really liked nailing a concept or maybe adding my own spin and we’d just go back and forth about how great Wonderbook was going to be—the times where you and I were ‘wonderbookin’.

What I liked least was the times where I just could not get. The. Damn. Art. Correct. I was stressed, you were stressed…setbacks. There were times where I felt so down because I couldn’t get the gold out of the mountain. I never gave up though, and I’m glad you never gave up on me.

Jeff: I loved the fact you just kept going with every nutso idea that came down the pipes—and then out of the blue would come up with something like the image that became the cover. So that was fun.

Jeremy: Getting all sorts of funny postcards is a hoot, but mainly you will work through issues and yer flexible to suggestions. Yer one hell of a cheerleader as well.

Jeff: I thought for sure you’d say it was ‘orrible. Was there ever a point when you just wanted to walk away?

Jeremy: At no point did I ever want out of the gig, but there were quite a few times I felt out of my league, both in my skills and my handling of your ideas, those moments when creating both the layout and the art started to really hamper each other—I was bummed that I had so little experience in some areas, and had to do quite a lot of emergency studying to even understand the systems I was working through. I did quite a bit of, uh… loud creative discourse with you (in spirit) when you’d change your mind on something. I should have recorded myself. Mostly I was just really frustrated with my own foibles.

Jeff: I’m sure I cursed you a few times, but not in any sense other than how family does, if that makes sense. Seriously, though, why didn’t you walk away?

Jeremy: I was having too much fun—regardless of how bad it seemed at times. I knew it was a big opportunity and I really wanted to be a part of it. Quitting wasn’t an option in my mind.

Jeff: Was there one illustration that was tougher than all the rest? Why?

Jeremy: That cover, hands down—which was also the first step we took and the one that hit me hardest right off the bat. At the risk of sounding like a dope, all I ever draw on my own time is usually desert flora, so when you wanted this lush, verdant jungle the first thought in my head was, “Trees?! I don’t know how to draw —— trees!” I still don’t—I kept looking at these simple friggin’ drawings online and just ramming my head in to a wall. We went through so many false starts for weeks—I had horrible artist block for a month; you even got really worried for a time, which made it worse, ha ha.

Jeff: I was worried, but I was worried mostly that I had gone down the wrong path, that I was trying to force something, which is never a good idea, But I didn’t have another idea for the cover, so when you came up with the whale, that kind of made everything come into focus. Besides the cover, what else gave you the most satisfaction?

Jeremy: The evolution of the author piece because I learned a new way of doing art I had never really done—most the details are invisible but I’m really proud of those two. That was when this project clicked in my head and I felt that maybe, just maybe I could do this justice.

Jeff: What did you think when you finally held the book in your hands?

Jeremy: It felt so surreal. Just weird. I remember chatting to you about it and we both were going on about how weird it was to be done finally, two years or so of work. Mainly I was proud—it really turned out amazing, and people have been so into it already.

Jeff: Would you ever work with me again?

Jeremy: Aren’t I at this very moment? Of course! I almost threw yer gift basket onto an effigy though – “Burn the VanderMan! Arggggghhhh!”

Jeff: LOL! Is there anything else you held back from telling me during the process of working on Wonderbook?

Jeremy: There were definitely some points where I just wanted to vent, but I’m the kind of person who tends to forget they’re miffed, and then I forget that I was miffed to begin with. I’m pretty sure there were a few days where I just said, “Screw it!”, and played Battlefield III, or just went and read a book. I’ll admit I should have maybe brought up that working a job on a computer all day and then going home to work another 8 hours on the book was getting to me, but hey, what’s a few 48 hour straight non-sleeps, really? Conversation starters! Oh and one day I rebelled and just got totally drunk, but that ended up culminating in one of the better pieces for Wonderbook – I was wonderbookin’.