ith a sharp sense of purpose in the air—or, at the very least, the lingering odor of Chinese takeout—the interns gathered around the conference table in the offices of BradParksBooks.com
"Okay, people, let's look lively here," said Sarah, the smart intern, clapping her hands several times to get everyone's attention. "This is the biggest press release we've ever had to write, the biggest news of Brad's career, and it has to be absolutely perfect. Are we ready?"
"Ready," said Maggie, the clueless intern, perched in front of a legal pad, pen in her grasp.
"Okay, how about this for a start: 'Brad Parks, the only author to have won the Shamus, Nero, and Lefty Awards, has signed a two-book contract with Dutton, a prestigious imprint of Penguin Random House, the largest English language publisher in the world.' Next paragraph.
"The first novel in the deal, SAY NOTHING
, is unlike any Parks has written before, a twisty yet emotionally impactful standalone thriller whose scope and themes herald his maturity as one of the premier crime fiction writers working today.' Next paragraph.
'In signing with Dutton, Parks joins a select, star-studded list of New York Times
bestselling authors that includes Harlan Coben, Lisa Gardner, Joseph Finder, Linda Fairstein, Tami Hoag, and...' Yes, Zach?"
Zach, the silly intern, had his hand in the air.
"Can I just make an observation here?" Zach asked.
"BOOORRRRR-ring!" he called.
"What's wrong with it?"
"It's so... factual."
"Press releases are supposed to be factual, Zach."
"Yeah, but what you have now is too straight," Zach said. "Let's go with something that has a little more pizzazz, like: 'What does Brad Parks now have in common with No. 1 New York Times
bestselling author Harlan Coben?'"
Peter, the slothful intern, raised his head from the table and said, "Hair loss?"
"No! It's that they now have the same editor and publisher," Zach said, then rubbed his chin for a moment. "Though I concede your point."
Sarah clapped again and said, "Let's stay focused people. Where is Brad, anyway?"
"He said he'd be at the local cemetery, looking for his tombstone," Maggie said.
"And why is he doing that?"
"Because the moment he was offered this deal, he was pretty sure he had died and gone to heaven. Now he's just trying to confirm it."
"Okay, so like usual, we're on our own," Sarah said. "Where were we? Oh right:
will be edited by the famed team of Ben Sevier and Jessica Renheim, who also...' Yes, Zach?"
He had his hand raised again.
"I'll consent to the boring press release on one condition," he said.
"And that is?"
Zach's eyes were wide. "ElvisGrams! We'll deliver the press releases with a series of serenades from the King himself, Elvis Presley. Can you imagine, sitting in the newsroom at The Wall Street Journal
, slogging through an otherwise uneventful day of uncovering corporate malfeasance, when suddenly a guy in an authentic Aloha From Hawaii white jumpsuit strolls in and starts singing:
"A well-ah bless-ah my soul/ I-uh come in peace./ There's a big scoop in this press release./ It's about a thriller that's too hot to touch./ Print it now (uh)./ Or I won't shut up./ Mmm mmm, ohh ohh, yeah, yeah!"
Sarah was already letting out a windy gust of a sigh. "And who, dare I ask, is going to be Elvis?"
"Well, me, of course," Zach said, mussing his hair into a pompadour and twisting his lip into a sexy snarl. "I got the costume last Halloween but I haven't had the chance to use it yet. I've got more songs, too. I've been thinking this one is perfect for People Magazine
Zach grabbed a stapler off the conference table to use as a microphone, then bent on one knee.
"Wiiiiiiise mennnn say/ And celebs agree/ This book by Brad/ Is an amazing read."
Sarah just stared at him for a long moment.
"That," she said, adding a pregnant pause, "is genius."
"You really think so?" Zach said, beaming.
"Absolutely. Do you have the suit with you?"
"No. But I can get it."
"Well, go. Go! Come on, the news waits for no man, not even Elvis! Chop, chop!"
Zach scurried off. Sarah just watched him leave.
In all seriousness—admittedly, a rarity here at BradParksBooks.com
—Brad really is ecstatic to be signing with Dutton, an imprint he has long admired, and to be joining the Penguin Random House empire. He may or may not have had joyous tears in his eyes when he delivered the news to the interns.
Best of all, he sprang for the Chinese food.
The new contract will mean a brief break in his publication schedule, with SAY NOTHING
to be released sometime in 2017. But the interns who have had a sneak peak at the manuscript promise it will be worth the wait.
With or without the ElvisGram to launch it.
Maggie was looking curiously at Sarah. "You really think this Elvis thing is going to work?"
"Absolutely not. But by the time he gets back from his apartment, we'll already have the press releases out the door."
"Don't be too sure," Peter said. "Last I heard, he was keeping that Aloha From Hawaii getup in his trunk for, quote-unquote, 'emergencies.'"
"In that case," Sarah said, "lock the door and let's get this over with."
Yours in Delirious Celebration,
The BradParksBooks.com Interns