Grant McKenzie likes to consider himself an overnight success – it’s just taken 25 years.
The author of eight mystery books, McKenzie, 51, is making his mark in the U.S. this year, signing with an independent American book publisher.
McKenzie, a James Bay resident, has signed a five-book deal with Polis Books of New York City for a series of stand-alone thrillers.
The first book in the new deal brings his novel Switch to the U.S. for the first time.
Switch was first published in Australia and the UK by Random House, then translated into German for Heyne, picked up in Canada by Penguin, and has recently been sold into Mainland China. But until now, it hasn’t been available in print in the U.S.
Switch will be published in paperback in July, joined in August by a new hardcover, Speak The Dead. These two books will be followed by paperback versions of his critically-praised thrillers K.A.R.M.A. and The Fear In Her Eyes.
The fifth book is a new hardcover planned for September 2016.
Polis publisher Jason Pinter said signing McKenzie was a no-brainer.
“I feel he is truly one of the best up-and-coming thriller writers in the industry, and I was very fortunate that to date he has not received widespread distribution which is something Polis hopes to rectify.”
McKenzie became serious about writing novels more than 25 years ago, while a journalist in Calgary. It wasn’t until 2008 he managed to get his first novel – Switch – published.
A downturn in the economy that same year put the brakes on the writing career, but he persevered. And while he received rejection slip after rejection slip, he remained hopeful that he would be picked up by a U.S. publisher.
“I’ve always enjoyed writing the books, but my goal was to have people read the books. So, I was always looking for that publishing deal.
“It really is a marathon, unless you’re really, really lucky. It takes a lot of years to become published.”
Pinter said McKenzie writes the type of books that he gravitates to as a reader: books that keep you riveted to the page with finely-tuned plots and characters you care about.
“As a new,, independent publisher you hope to be able to sign an author you can legitimately call a tentpole writer, and I believe Grant will be that for us,” Pinter said.
McKenzie said the book deal will expose him to the U.S. market in a much bigger way than he’s been exposed before.
But he isn’t quitting his day job as communications director at Our Place Society.
“I’m your typical Canadian success story,” he said with a chuckle. “I always have to work for a living as well as be a writer.”