Mort(e) by Robert Repino comes out today!
It’s the story of Earth, after a species of giant super-intelligent ants rises from underground, kills off most of humanity, and turns all the animals (dogs, cats, raccoons, pigs) into walking, talking, opposable-thumb wielding creatures.
So that’s something new!
As the dogs and cats of the world try and make sense of their new ant overlords, and wrestle with the threat of a few surviving humans who lurk in the shadows, Repino turns this wacky, blood-spattered story into a heartfelt allegory about religious belief, the survival of cultures, and individuality.
This is Repino’s debut novel, but we have been obsessed with him for years.
We asked the author one question.
Fiction Advocate: How are you celebrating the publication of Mort(e)?
Robert Repino: There are so many milestones in the life of a book that the actual publication seems a bit anticlimactic. In the case of Mort(e), there was the completion of the first draft in 2011, which occurred on a train from NYC to Montreal. I believe I visited the café car and got a toasted bagel. A year later, after much revision, an agent expressed interest. Six months after that, she agreed to officially sign me up, only after I had revised the book again. Twice. In early 2013, she sold the book to Soho, and I celebrated by having some wine with dinner and then grinding out a few hundred words for another novel that I’m still fighting with. (I’ve been trying to make that the way I celebrate everything book-related.) Then, about nine months after that, my editor asked me to remove over 100 pages in six weeks—one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done as a writer. Then we decided on a cover. Then the advance copies arrived. Then the first reviews. You get the point.
I guess the difference this time will be that the release of the novel is a milestone that I share with more people. Though the book technically publishes on 20 January, Random House has given us a very Catholic-sounding “dispensation” to sell copies early. This way, we can have a reading in Philadelphia on 19 January, followed by a discussion with the author Ryan Britt in Brooklyn the next night. So, my celebration has already been planned for me as a two-day extravaganza.