Doubleday has pre-empted Faber Academy graduate Ericka Waller’s debut novel, Dog Days, about the solace of canine companions “when times are hard”.
Kirsty Dunseath, publishing director of Doubleday Fiction, bought world rights in all languages for two titles from Katie Greenstreet at C&W. Dog Days is provisionally scheduled for hardback publication in early spring 2021.
The first book by Brighton-based Waller is provisionally entitled Dog Days, described by Doubleday as upmarket reading group novel aimed at readers of Sarah Winman and Gail Honeyman. The novel centres on three characters: George, an elderly curmudgeon whose wife has just died, leaving him with a series of letters and a young dachshund puppy; Dan, a therapist with OCD whose closest confidant is with his dog Fitz; and Lizzie, who is living with her son in a woman’s refuge. “The novel is an uplifting read about turning points, our will to live and love, and an ode to the canine companions that can provide solace when times are hard,” Doubleday said.
Waller worked in marketing and then spent years working as a blogger and journalist in Brighton. After the death of three close friends, she joined a Faber Academy course and became fascinated by the ways in which people cope with tragedy.
Dunseath said: “Ericka’s writing is absolutely delightful – warm, wise, and emotionally intelligent. Dog Days tackles big subjects, such as grief and trauma, but it does so with wit and charm. I love working with Ericka already, she has such an engaging personality, and it has only been a week since we signed her up.”
Waller added: “I thought up the idea for my book while walking my dogs, where I met and occasionally argued with fellow canine lovers. They are excellent character fodder. My dear dogs have been with me through everything. They know exactly when I’m sad or unwell. Dog Days is the sum of all I’ve learned about life, love, heartbreak, and canine behaviour.”
Greenstreet said: “We couldn’t wish for a more perfect home for Dog Days than Doubleday – the team’s passion for the book is astounding. I cannot wait for the world to meet Ericka’s wonderful cast of characters, both two-legged and four."