Engen’s Matthew LeDrew opened up today about the company’s secretive new project, the name of which has finally been revealed: Compendium.
“It’s a new book of stories by none other than our own Ellen Curtis,” explained LeDrew. “They are truly remarkable forms of short prose, some of which were available previously in other volumes to the high praise of fans and reviewers.”
Compendium will be launched this October 26th at Newfoundland’s West Coast Con in Corner Brook, where Curtis will be appearing to sign copies.
“We really believe Ellen Curtis is one of the most unique and talented young authors in this country,” said LeDrew. “We’re really thankful to NWCC for giving us the opportunity to show people that. To try and push it as much as possible, we’re going to be releasing Compendium at $5.99. That should make it accessible to anyone who wants to try it, and will hopefully make it clear what a great author she is.”
More details on Compendium and other Engen projects to come.
Engen fans all over the country were intrigued and confused this week by several key changes to the engenbooks.com website, and not just in its new look.
In the late night of August 22nd, 2009; two mysterious links appeared in the top menu bar of the site that raised instant speculation amongst fans: one labeled “Infinity” and one labeled “Curtis?”.
We caught up with Engen founder Matthew LeDrew in an attempt to learn more about the subject.
Engen Books: So, what is “Curtis?”, and why does it have a question mark at the end of it? Matthew LeDrew: That’s the tentative name on a project that we’re going to be announcing more on very, very soon and will be launching (along with Roulette) at Newfoundland’s West Coast Con this October. EB: My, that’s fast. ML: A little, but no more so than the first Womb book. Just because publishing announcements sometimes happen quickly, does not mean it hasn’t been in planning stages for some time. The person involved in this project is one of the most prolific writers I know, and the fact that they don’t have a work of their own out yet is actually staggering. Some might think this is fast, but to us its been a long time coming. EB: So, “Curtis?” is not the name of the book. ML: Lord no. What? What kind of a question is that? (laughs). That doesn’t even make sense. EB: Is it safe to assume then, that this will involve Engen author Ellen Curtis? ML: Nothing can be said so far. It’s all up in the air. EB: But why else would you name the project “Curtis?” ML: But… there’s a question mark. EB: And a name. ML: … EB: … ML: Next question, please. EB: Okay, what can you tell us about “Infinity”? ML: Next to nothing, at the moment. It’s always assumed that I know all the little knooks and crannies of this company… some things escape my notice. Even if I did know something about it, I wouldn’t really be able to comment on it yet. I can tell you that “Infinity” has been in the plans almost as long as Black Womb has, and we’re very excited to have it finally becoming a reality. EB: When can we expect to know a little more? ML: Soon. Formal announcements will wait until the end of year, I think, but trickles should be happening soon. It should have it’s own sub-site soon enough. EB: I see… I can’t help but notice that NewFoundSpecFic is missing from the lineup. Any comment on that? ML: The NewFoundSpecFic team are a group of amazing authors that honestly outgrew Engen. Devin Drover and Jennifer Graham are both richly talented, wonderfully entrepreneurial people and it was a waste of their considerable talents to have them toiling away as mere authors under Engen. They deserve better, and now they’re going to be getting it. Expect big things from these two very soon. EB: Any regrets on that? ML: Millions. But, as the old saying goes… if you love something, let it go. I love NewFoundSpecFic and it’s authors… but its just time to let go. EB: Anything else you want to add to that? ML: Not really. I’m going to miss them. I’d really prefer not to speak on it right now. EB: … ML: … EB: So, will Ellen Curtis be staying at Engen? ML: Ellen is a uniquely talented young lady and I would not give her up for all the tea in China. Yes, Ellen remains an Engen author. Though she is not exclusive to us. I do not hold the monopoly on Ellen Curtis… although some days I wish I did. That monopoly will be worth millions one day. EB: Anything else happening? ML: Roulette and Ghosts of the Past are both on schedule. Trains keeps moving, as they say. Engen remains strong and will remain strong. EB: So my job is safe? ML: Your job is safe. EB: -whew-
Engen Books News would like to thank Matthew LeDrew for sitting down with us today.
Newfoundland’s premier science-fiction convention celebrated its third consecutive year this past weekend, with rave successes. Nearly a thousand people from the province and beyond came out to attend writing seminars, talk with authors, and meet with the stars of the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises.
“I thought the con was wonderful,” remarked science-fiction author Devin Drover. “It’s nice to see so many science fiction and fantasy fans together in one place and see everyone interacting so well together. There were lots of laughs, and lots of fun.”
The convention was kicked-off on Friday, April 24th with the launch of Kenneth Tam’s newest alternate-history novel, The Frontier. The launch, which was attended by a packed house of fans and convention goers, was emcee’d by Engen’s own Matthew LeDrew.
“It was an honor to be asked to do the launch,” LeDrew remarked on the experience. “I think it speaks to the general atmosphere of cooperation and comradery that surrounds science-fiction in general and this convention in specific. There’s no real competition between business present, just the general attitude that if one of us wins, we all win.
“Besides that, as a genuine fan of the His Majesty’s New World series, it was a thrill to be a part of this launch.”
Beyond the launch, festivities continued throughout the weekend and including book signings, seminars on writing, publishing and screenplay writing. Other guests of the convention included Star Wars‘ Peter Mayhew and Christian J. Simpson; as well as veteran Star Trek actor Vaughn Armstrong.
“The fan turnout was great,” remarked LeDrew. “We got a lot of new Black Womb fans thanks to the amazing attendance, and a lot of people from last year dropped by to pick up Smoke and Mirrors, which is always encouraging.”
Matthew spoke at eight workshops over the two day convention, some alone and some alongside fellow author Kenneth Tam, on a variety of subjects from the tools needed to become a writer to the do’s and don’ts of screenplay writing.
“Attendance in the writing panels was up this year, and we got to meet with a great group of people,” Tam said on his website. “It’s always a pleasure to meet with storytellers, whatever stage in the process they’re at.”
The Sci-Fi on the Rock writing seminars have provided fruitful material for Engen Books the last two years, a trend that LeDrew says he hopes to continue this year.
“I met Kenneth Tam when he spoke at a writing seminar at the very first Sci-Fi on the Rock, back in 2007.” explained LeDrew. “With his help I was published myself by the next year. We teamed up for seminars at the second Sci-Fi and in one panel I met both Devin Drover and Ellen Curtis, who I signed on during the interim and who were both published under our creator-owned imprint, NewFoundSpecFic.
“That tradition has continued. There were many promising authors in attendance during the weekend, some of whom I think you’re going to be hearing big things from in the near future.”
NewFoundSpecFic was also in attendance during the convention, with its all-star authors Ellen Curtis, Devin Drover and Jennifer Graham. Fan reaction to the trio was phenomenal, with potential authors young and old wondering how they could join the NFSF team.
“There was some notable interest in NewFoundSpecFic, even from the people who didn’t buy it,” commented Ellen Curtis, author of both The Tourniquet Revival and Falling into Fire. “Apparently word is getting out to some of the high schools in town through other people who went. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come.”
NewFoundSpecFic received its official launch last Saturday at the University Center of Memorial University to raves from the student body and beyond.
Authors Jennifer Graham, Ryan Marsh, Ellen Curtis, Breanne Milley, Joshua Quinlan and Devin Drover were all in attendance to meet fans, sign autographs and generally immerse themselves in the experience of the launch.
NewFoundSpecFic has already garnered much media attention and anticipation of its release has been high for weeks. When asked to remark if the successful launch meant a NewFoundSpecFicvol. II, co-author Jennifer Graham remarked that there would.
“We’ve been planning a second one before the first came back from the printers,” said Graham.”This project was a lot of fun, and there’s a lot of untapped talent out there.”
“There aren’t a lot of details we can share yet, but one big thing is that we will be opening up submissions to all of Canada!”
On the launch, Engen founder and author Matthew LeDrew commented that the continued success of the title will further guarantee the success of the franchise. “The scope of NewFoundSpecFic is enormous and yet open enough that even a casual reader can enjoy it. That appeals to us on many levels. The next stop for NFSF is the third annual Sci-Fi on the Rock convention at the Holiday Inn, where the entire Engen crew will be present as well as many more authors and actors. I look forward to seeing how NFSF does on a larger scale, and suspect it will do well.”