Michael Williams: First things first: what can you tell us about the new book(s) with Sekhmet Press?
Allison Dickson: Jennifer Greene first approached me about the possibility of re-releasing a silly vampire book I’d written and released a number of years ago called Scarlet Letters: The Tale of the Vampire Mailman. Because it had been a self-published endeavor and my first attempt at trying to wade into that particular world, I eventually saw the error of my ways releasing something so unpolished, and eventually took it off the market. The prospect of having someone else help buff it to a high shine and give it the attention it deserves won me over to the yes column. Then I asked what Jen thought of possibly taking a look at The Last Supper, a dystopian book released by Hobbes End Publishing in 2014, that was orphaned not long after when the company closed its doors. The book was well-received at the time, but it never got quite the exposure it needed to take off.
After a lot of discussions with the team at Sekhmet, we decided the best possible treatment for The Last Supper would be to break it up and expand it into a trilogy. It would give me the opportunity to really grow the world the way I wasn’t quite able to back when I was a far less experienced author.
MW: NICE! When I look back at my own work, I see nothing but flaws – and I think that’s true for many of us. We lose the experience of novelty when examining our own ideas, and at that point all that’s left is criticism and a desire to change them. I think it’s fantastic you get to go back to something and expand it. Was it hard to get back into that world? That mindset?
AD: The experience of producing THE OTHER MRS MILLER from the first draft to the product people can buy now was so intensive, involving multiple drafts and rewrites. In many ways, I think it’s prepared me for the challenge of attacking this old work, tearing down the weaker points and building up the stronger ones. I’m actually really excited about it. It also helps that it’s been so long since I wrote these books, they really don’t feel like mine anymore. A level of detachment is, I think, necessary to do these sorts of revisions. But I also welcome the opportunity to adjust them to more modern sensibilities via improvements to voice and diversity, things I sadly was not as attuned to in my greener days. I’ve learned so much in the last decade-plus, and it’s so great to have the chance to make my old work feel both more expansive and inclusive.
MW: That sounds absolutely amazing. What a great opportunity! I mostly know you for supernatural horror, as those are the anthologies we’ve both been in, but you’ve written across many genres and in many styles. So what genre(s?) would you classify The Last Supper as belonging to?
AD: If I think strictly about where The Last Supper would be in a bookstore, it would definitely be in sci-fi/fantasy. But it exists in a nebulous area between the two. Sekhmet said they want to brand it as a Handmaid’s Tale meets American Gods. I never would have come up with that myself, but they even made a Venn diagram, so who am I to stand in the way of that?
MW: Ahhhh, I think people would read the hell out of that! And my experience from sci fi conventions is that readers want books from those in-between spaces – the shelves between the shelves, if you will.
You’re also a “big five” writer, with your book THE OTHER MRS. MILLER. What’s it like having a foot in the New York world, a foot in the indie world, and a third, metaphorical (or perhaps borrowed from a victim? 🙂 ) foot in the small press world?
AD: I have to say, it’s great to be involved with it all. Working with the Big 5 is a tremendous rush, but often feels like walking a high wire without a rope. The indie and small press world remind me there is room enough in the world for all sorts of great ideas. The truth is, I want to reach readers of every kind, and that takes multiple vehicles. For a few years, I abandoned the small press and indie world trying to get the Big 5 ship running. With the release of THE OTHER MRS. MILLER, I feel like I have a good moment to go back and prime the other engines.
MW: That sounds very wise! I particularly like your point about reaching readers of all kinds. My experiences are all in the indie and small press world, but the impression I’ve gotten is that there is an exceptionally devoted readership who closely follow the small presses they love, and who really value the sense of closeness they can have to the publisher and to the writer. I see it at sci fi conventions every time.
So, one last question – well, really two last questions. What’s the first book in the new The Last Supper trilogy going to be called, what’s the pitch on it, and when should we look for it? (Okay, three questions.)
AD: The first book will be called The Last Supper. Book 2 will be called The Cradle, and Book 3 will be Donum Dei. We’re likely going to be calling this the Donum Dei Trilogy. We hope to release book one in the early fall or late summer of 2020
MW: Well, I cannot wait for it! Thanks for talking with me about it!
Sekhmet Press titles including Allison Dickson:
Allison’s international best-seller:
Allison Dickson is the author of several independently published horror and dystopian novels. She has also written nearly two dozen short stories, both independently and as part of anthologies. Dickson lives in Dayton, Ohio, and when not writing, she is typically gaming, blogging, or exploring.