Wolf Country Summary – 2018

2018 was a fantastic year for me, beginning with having found an excellent publisher in the UK then deals coming in from foreign countries such as France, Hungary and Portugal. The audio book was narrated by Amaka Okafor whose warm, husky voice couldn’t be more perfect. The kindle version of Wolf Country was launched before Christmas ahead of the official publication on the 31stJanuary 2019. The early reader reviews have been very positive and I’m looking forward to taking the book out to a wider audience. Beyond my primary aim of entertaining, I hope that the book will also make readers think and reconsider the way we live, and more importantly, the way we think.

Wolf Country is set in a near-future London but the plague of extreme consumerism has already spread across the globe. Every citizen is required to spend a minimum amount a month and once they are unable to do it, they become non-profit, having to withdraw from society. Withdrawal for the majority means nine months of luxury retirement in a Dignitorium before being peacefully euthanized. The system seems to work well, citizens enjoy life to the full as long as they live, work and consume in the newly designed megacities that offer the highest standard of fun and entertainment. When the aging process starts deteriorating the body and mind, the solution of a planned, peaceful and pain-free departure is more than welcome. For the first time in history humanity has managed to cheat death.

Against the backdrop of this world the book follows Alice, in the most crucial part of her life, when from a good middle class status she suddenly finds herself threatened with becoming non-profit. She begins to question the society she grew up in and in the meantime she finds out more than she ever suspected.

When I tell the brief scenario of Wolf Country to people, the first question many ask is, ‘Is it horror?’ I wouldn’t call it horror, definitely not the classic kind, but I like to call it social horror. Sadly this kind of horror is not unlikely to happen, in fact, the reason for me writing the book is because this is how I see our current society and the lifestyle it dictates. The world-building of Wolf Country has been praised from its early stages but this is not just a product of my imagination, this is how I really see our world. Our current society is getting closer to the point where income allows us – and compels us to – the seemingly utopian ‘avocado mocha hipster’ lifestyle. Nevertheless, this lifestyle is so unstable and futureless that losing our job security can lead to the loss of our home, and everything else, within a very short time. Then we are discarded, forgotten though not (yet) euthanized in a Dignitorium. But what awaits can be just as grim.

Wolf Country Audio Book Deal

Yesterday I was out with a friend on a day trip in Bakewell – a place that once appears in my novel as a scene of over-the-top consumerism disguised as village tourism. It was my birthday and we were enjoying the exceptionally warm and sunny weather when I saw that my agent, Charlotte had sent me an email. I was thrilled to see that she had just agreed on an audio deal for my book Wolf Country with W.F. Howes, one of the major audio publishers in the UK.

The work on the audio book will be coordinated with the publication of the physical book so that they will be published at the same time – early 2019. As a conservative reader, I read mostly printed books, slowly, taking my time, often going back to previous scenes and ruminating over them. The fact that I read in a foreign language that I taught myself as an adult, slows down the speed of my reading. So I didn’t consider myself as an audio book type of person. I have only recently discovered this format when I accidentally bumped into the audio book of Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. ( whose most well-known work, The Stepford Wives is one of my all time favourites and it inspired me to write a TV script titled The Child Shop which I sometimes fantasise about being made into an episode of Black Mirror.)

To my surprise, I could follow Rosemary’s story really well, without having to stop and think where I was or who was who. Listening to someone with a pleasant voice and great reading skills kind of soothed me especially that I listened to it mostly at night, in bed, when I couldn’t sleep. I can understand why audio books are on a sharp rise, given the loneliness and isolation we experience these days. Listening to an audio book can trick us into believing we have company, another human being reading personally to us. The other reason might be the change in our lifestyles, how long we commute or sit behind a wheel for hours, again, often alone.

The best part of my audio agreement was the last sentence that confirmed that I would have two narrators to choose from. I can’t wait for production to start and I will keep posting when there’s any development.

Wolf Country UK Publisher Signing

Wolf Country UK Publisher Signing

The new year started very well for me as early January I had two offers on my novel Wolf Country from publishers. After careful consideration my fantastic agent, Charlotte Seymour at Andrew Nurnberg Associates and myself decided to go with Lightning Books. They are a small but strong independent UK publisher focusing on quality upmarket and literary fiction – many of their writers are award-winning – so I’m immensely proud and happy to be part of the Lightning Books family.

I had been hoping for a publisher where the editor understands, feels and appreciates my novel and I got exactly that. My editor is Scott Pack who I’m sure will take Wolf Country to the next level and I can’t wait to start working with him. Next week I will have a meeting with him and Charlotte in London where we will jump in at the deep end and start discussing changes etc…