This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.
Today we're launching new novel In Veritas, by C.J. Lavigne, which Tanya Huff has called “The perfect mix of incandescent writing and enthralling storytelling. C.J. Lavigne has given us something we can believe in. Learn to see the dragons.”
The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.
It’s a literary urban fantasy about an Ottawa woman whose synaesthetic senses allow her to perceive multiple worlds, and maybe save a dying reality.
Describe your ideal reader.
Someone who loves fantastical work by Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the Sky) or Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus), and also experimental fiction like Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves or Nick Bantock’s Griffin & Sabine. A reader who enjoys puzzling out solutions and poking at missing pieces.
What authors/books is your work in conversation with?
Apart from those authors I just mentioned, certainly Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Some of the pastiche style I use is similar to bits I’ve read in Octavia Butler’s Earthseed books, or Lyda Morehouse’s AngeLINK series. There are direct shout-outs to communications theorists like Walter Benjamin, Marshall McLuhan, and I.A. Richards. And everything I write is influenced by authors like Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and Robin McKinley (The Hero and the Crown), whose works have been my lifelong loves.
What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?
I’ve always approached large projects in small chunks, but this novel really proved the value of this technique for me: I wrote the first draft at 100 words a day, almost every day—a few sentences at a time. It took three years just to get a version I could fix. So I’ve learned a lesson about the power of my own sheer bloody-mindedness.
Is there a musical soundtrack? Songs or artists that influenced you when you were writing?
I find that I can’t write if anything with lyrics is playing, but there are certainly songs I associate with specific characters, like Sting’s version of “The Windmills of Your Mind” (Jihan), The Calling’s “Wherever You Will Go” (Colin), or Teitur’s “Sleeping With The Lights On” (Jacob). Verity is definitely Oren Lavie’s “Her Morning Elegance.”
An important part of any book launch are the thank you’s. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project?
Oh wow, there are so many someones. Off the top, though, my writing group: Diana Knapton, Anne Price, and Dan Whiteside. They read through all my earliest messes with gracious, critical enthusiasm. Elaine Spencer and Jenna Butler then cheerleaded me into submitting. Jenna, in particular, has been my friend, foundational support, and editor; this book wouldn’t have been published without her.
What are you reading right now or next?
I’m really looking forward to Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new novel, Mexican Gothic. Gods of Jade and Shadow was amazing. Also, Jenna Butler has a new book later this year (Revery: A Year of Bees), and everything Jenna writes is gold.
"Things that are and are not, she thinks, and the dog is a snake."
In this fantastic and fantastical debut, C.J. Lavigne concocts a wondrous realm overlaying a city that brims with civic workers and pigeons. Led by her synesthesia, Verity Richards discovers a hidden world inside an old Ottawa theatre. Within the timeworn walls live people who should not exist—people whose very survival is threatened by science, technology, and natural law. Verity must submerge herself in this impossible reality to help save the last traces of their broken community. Her guides: a magician, his shadow-dog, a dying angel, and a knife-edged woman who is more than half ghost.
With great empathy and imagination, In Veritas explores the nature of truth and the complexities of human communication.
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