Sphere to publish mortuary technician's memoir

Sphere to publish mortuary technician's memoir

Sphere is publishing Past Mortems by Carla Valentine - the author's story of eight years as a mortuary technician.

The book is structured with each chapter considering a different part of an autopsy - it starts progresses from "external examination into the body itself", through "the first cut" on to "discovering more about the heart, the stomach and the brain".

Over and above covering the autopsy procedure, Valentine will reveal the alternative meaning of s.o.b., what happens to breast implants after death and how to cope when you find a maggot in your bra.

The books is said to explore both our present and historical attitudes towards death, as well as shedding a light on what the living can learn from investigation into death.

Commissioning editor Rhiannon Smith acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the book from Robyn Drury at Diane Banks Associates.

Smith said: "I knew Carla’s writing was something special as soon as I read the proposal so I’m delighted to have acquired her intelligent and hilarious memoirs. Her voice is wonderfully engaging and offers an incredible insight into what is a hidden, even taboo, subject. I can’t wait for readers to be able to discover all she has to say."

Valentine said: "I’m so pleased to be able to answer many people’s questions about exactly what happens when the mortuary doors swing shut or the lid of the coffin closes. With this book I can open them both up to everyone."

Drury added: "Carla is an amazing woman with such a unique voice – I’m thrilled that Sphere will be publishing her, and introducing her work to a whole new audience."

Sphere will publish in trade paperback and e-book in March 2017, with a paperback to follow in autumn 2017.

Valentine has a certificate and diploma in Anatomical Pathology Technology and, during her eight-year mortuary career, continued her professional development by studying forensic anthropology at military college and taking part in skeletal excavations in Belgium and Venice. She writes and researches themes around sex and death on her blog entitled "The Chick and the Dead". She also runs a dating and networking site for death professionals called Dead Meet.