HITTING SHELVES #36: The Gentleman by Forrest Leo

The Gentleman Forrest Leo

The Gentleman by Forrest Leo comes out today!

It’s exactly the type of novel you would expect from a debut writer like Forrest Leo, who was born in 1990 and raised on a homestead in remote Alaska… if what you expected was a picaresque romp through Victorian England with a guest appearance from Satan. (He is the “gentleman” of the title.) It seems that Lionel Savage, a poet in London, has accidentally sold his wife’s soul to the devil. And now, with the help of his butler and a supporting cast of equally ineffectual intellectuals, he means to get her back. The Gentleman is properly batty–like Jeeves and Wooster with deadly weapons and supernatural powers. You’ve never read anything quite like it.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of The Gentleman?

Forrest Leo: August 16th is going to be awesome. It’s Georgette Heyer’s birthday and The Gentleman comes out. This is what I’m going to do to celebrate:

Wake up earlier than I mean to, because I’m excitable by nature and I really like Georgette Heyer.

Sit at the kitchen table with my girlfriend, Abigail, and bleary-eyed-ly drink coffee, because sitting in companionable silence with someone you love and slowly drinking coffee is one of the principal pleasures in life.

Try to figure out the time difference between Los Angeles and Kenya and call my mom (who’s working with Doctors Without Borders in Nairobi), because talking with your mom is another one of the abovementioned principal pleasures.

Call my grandma, because grandmas are the best and mine is even better than that.

Go for a run, because it’s really after all an ordinary day.

Thank my agent, editor, publicist, marketing team, copy editors, and the bevy of long-suffering assistants who kept us all on track, because without them there wouldn’t be a book to celebrate.

Read a Georgette Heyer story, because — well, you know.

Skype with my brother because my nephew is the cutest.

Call my other brother because he doesn’t have a cute kid for me to look at but I love him anyway.

Forrest Leo
Forrest Leo

Consider again the extraordinary chain of causality that got The Gentleman from my head to A Bookseller Near You, and marvel for the thousandth time at how lucky I am.

Check to see if Michael Dirda has a new column out, which he probably won’t because it’s a Tuesday, but you never know.

Read a few chapters of Don Quixote, which I have somehow managed not to read until now and is blowing my mind.

Forget to eat and get unaccountably cranky until I remember. NB: this isn’t a celebratory thing, it’s just standard operating procedure.

Write letters to everyone I owe letters to, which will be a lot of letters, because I wake up every day and resolve to write those letters but never seem to quite manage it.

Be inundated with a flood of replies and realize that I now owe a whole new round of letters, which will stress me out a little bit but not too much because letter writing and receiving is another one of those principal pleasures.

Work on my current project, a YA book about King Arthur, and try not to despair that I’m not T. H. White.

Despair and decide I’ll work on it tomorrow instead, because I’m busy reveling today.

Think about how happy my dad would be.

Go protestingly out to dinner with Abigail and insist that no further fuss be made, because I’m terminally shy and uncomfortable being the center of attention. (She’s just informed me that she in turn is going to insist on champagne, which I’ll find mortifying but secretly rather enjoy.)

Dance a jig and sing a song and wander into a bookstore and buy my own book with a credit card, just to see if the cashier notices that I wrote it.

Get the book here.

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