Twenty-Five Years of Thomas Dunne Books
An editor with St. Martin’s Press since 1971, Thomas Dunne started his imprint within the Press in 1986 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011. A perennial blend of commercial success and quality, the Thomas Dunne Books list publishes broadly, with a reputation for publishing both established and emerging writers.
What's with the Dog?
We're often asked about the origin of our dachshund colophon. When it was decided to establish the Thomas Dunne imprint within St. Martin's Press, the SMP art director asked what sort of designed type or logo Tom had in mind. He was thinking about this one night, and idly studying his bookshelf, when he noticed that a significant number of his books had critters of some sort on the spine. There were flocks of penguins among the paperbacks, but among hardcovers, a veritable dog track of Russian wolfhounds predominated. At the time, Tom's dachshund, Sparky, was on his lap and the solution was suddenly obvious. The breed is lovable, humorous, brave and feisty. They are cleaner than penguins, and—let's face it—if one were to curl up with a good book and a good dog, which would be more congenial, lap-wise: a hundred-ten pound wolf-hound or a nine pound dachshund? The answer was obvious, and though we've never actually counted, at least ten million "Sparkies" have gone out into the world since 1986.
"From a high-rise office at the very tip of the Flatiron building, Mr. Dunne remains firmly in charge. His imprint is the leading publisher of mysteries, but also sells histories, niche titles, British literary imports, and unauthorized biographies. An imprint that scorns snobbery, prizes the quirky and commercial, and flourishes...his imprint is one of the company's most profitable." —The New York Times
"An estimable senior editor." —Library Journal
"High overhead has forced big publishers to take fewer chances on new writers, trim their lists of talented but modest-selling authors, and cut back on line-by-line editing of the works they publish. Another loss in the age of mega-publishing is a sense of the personality of each publishing line. Today a few imprints, such as Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, reflect the taste of a powerful editor. Otherwise, it is difficult to predict the type of reading you will get from books issued by a particular publishing house." —The Boston Herald
I've been at St. Martin's since January 1971, so at one time or another, I have published almost every kind of book. The imprint was started in 1986, and is totally eclectic. Last year, the thirteen of us published roughly 200 titles, about 50/50 fiction/nonfiction. We continue to publish major Times bestsellers, but we are just as proud of the many other solid titles—including many first books—that we publish every year.
Over the years, many of the “biggest” authors I have personally edited have been British-particularly in fiction. These have included Rosamunde Pilcher, Frederick Forsyth, Wilbur Smith, and Michael Palin. But there have been plenty of American novelists as well, including the acclaimed Jincy Willett and Dan Brown (Digital Fortress).
In nonfiction, I have a particular interest in politics, history, science, and current events, with bestsellers like the explosive The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down by Andrew Young, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, and the powerful Mortal Sins by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael D’Antonio.
In the near future, I am going to be publishing Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World, a brilliant book on The Enlightenment from one of our greatest historians, James MacGregor Burns, as well as the next three books in Peter Ackroyd’s celebrated five volume history of England. Also in the near-term pipeline is Yair Lapid’s BEING ISRAELI, a remarkable book by a writer turned politician who is now Israel’s Finance Minister. Then there’s J. Robert Moskin’s first-time-ever history of the U.S. Foreign Service, American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service… and these are but a few highlights. (We also have a collection of pictures of smiling dogs and a parody of Downton Abbey—so we try to have a sense of humor, too!)
The imprint continues to grow. The editors at Thomas Dunne Books have a wide range of tastes, backgrounds, and ages, and I believe that almost any book of commercial or literary merit will find a good home here.
Peter J. Wolverton
Editor-in-chief; Associate Publisher
In my many roles at TLD Books I work to insure that our titles receive additional focus. During my 25 years in the business, I’ve published in almost every genre, but inevitably I find myself drawn to sports, commercial fiction (over-the-top action adventure thrillers for certain), literary thrillers like the bestselling books from John Hart, novels involving witches, and non-fiction of all different shapes and sizes but more often than not memoir or history. I’ve rediscovered my interest in epic fantasy and science fiction and have begun to aggressively acquire in this arena. Most of all, I think I look forward to the challenge of building established authors and launching the careers of new ones.
Over the years I’ve published many bestsellers including The Last Child, This Book is Full of Spiders, The Witch's Daughter, The Junction Boysand a host of others. My upcoming list includes a new thriller from John Hart, The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston, Neil Armstrong by NBC Space Correspondent Jay Barbree, and ENDSINGER by Jay Kristoff.
I acquire an eclectic mix of fiction and nonfiction. My fiction list focuses on literary, crime, and historical novels. These include editor ofPortland Magazine Brian Doyle’s The Plover, Cracked.com columnist Wayne Gladstone’s debut Notes from the Internet Apocalypse, Steve Hamilton’s Edgar award-winning standalone The Lock Artist and his Alex McKnight series, Dewey Lambdin’s naval adventure series, and bestselling author Richard A. Clarke’s thriller Sting of the Drone. With Anne Hillerman, I co-founded the annual Tony Hillerman Prize for best debut mystery set in the Southwest.
My nonfiction list covers narrative nonfiction, memoirs, biographies, nature, science, pets, history, politics, and humor. A few notable examples include the internationally bestselling The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence; the Strunk & White parody The Elements of F*cking Style by Chris Baker and Jacob Hansen; the narrative history Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam’s Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned by Alvin Townley; and Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies by Mikey Walsh.
I acquire both literary and commercial women’s fiction from debut novelists to those ready for a wider audience. In addition to women’s fiction, I enjoy narrative nonfiction with interesting and engaging characters, a strong concept and a story to pull you through (and hopefully leave me a little wiser, entertained or inspired). Areas include: narrative history that focuses on women, biographies of interesting women, books tackling newsworthy issues of interest to women, underdog stories, heartwarming family and animal stories, culinary adventure, Americana, and honest, humorous, unflinching memoir.
I have launched the careers of New York Times bestselling novelists Richard Paul Evans whose first novel, The Christmas Box, debuted at number one on both the hardcover and paperback New York Times bestseller lists simultaneously and established the holiday fiction category;The Quilter’s Apprentice, the first novel in the bestselling Elm Creek Quilts franchise by Jennifer Chiaverini; Marisa de los Santos’ beloved bestsellers Love Walked In and Belong to Me; Lauren Willig’s bestselling series beginning with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and Brunonia Barry’s first novel, the New York Times bestseller, The Lace Reader. I also acquired and published first novels by New York Timesbestselling authors Patry Francis and Melanie Benjamin. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalists include Diane Johnson and Lee Martin.
New York Times bestselling nonfiction I acquired includes Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Connor Grennan, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White, Baby Laughs and Life Laughs by Jenny McCarthy, I’m Not Slowing Down by Governor Ann Richards, Stick Figure by Lori Gottlieb, Touch the Top of the World: One Man’s Journey to Climb Further than the Eye Can Seeby Erik Weihenmayer and Here’s The Story by Maureen McCormick.
I joined Thomas Dunne Books in the spring of 2014 after fifteen years at Grand Central Publishing and Warner Books. Among my career highlights are editing the #1 NY Times bestselling duo Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, working with Julianna Baggott on her Pure series and continuing the legacy of Robert Ludlum. While developing three concurrent Ludlum story arcs I was able to work along-side many talented thriller writers including Jamie Freveletti, Kyle Mills, Justin Scott and Eric Van Lustbader. I also spent a number of years working on science fiction and fantasy projects including four years as the editorial director of Warner Aspect. During my time there I edited such authors as Jacqueline Carey, Mike Carey, Darren Shan, Carrie Vaughn, David Eddings, Michael Moorcock, and Octavia Butler.
These days I'm very interested in upscale women's suspense fiction. Some of my current favorite authors to read are Alex Marwood, Laura Lippman, Gillian Flynn and A.S.A. Harrison. And I'm always eager for high concept thrillers full of action and adventure—from those focusing on international espionage, political intrigue, or archeological expeditions to edgy, satirical stories similar to those written by Charlie Huston and Duane Swierczynski. I am a longtime reader of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror genre although, these days, I prefer more mainstream stories with fantastical elements. Finally, I am also looking for nonfiction, particularly narrative nonfiction, popular science, history or sociology.
I’ve been in publishing for fifteen years and at Thomas Dunne Books since 2007. The majority of my list is nonfiction narrative—Biography/Memoir, Sports, History, Music/Pop Culture. I seek stories that will catch people by surprise, like Kent Hartman’s book The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Best-Kept Secret. As memoirs are emerging as one of my specialties, I see myself drawn to fascinating stories that have added angles to push them over the top, such as the forthcoming Shrinkage from Bryan Bishop of The Adam Carolla Show. Next year I look forward to publishing a memoir from decorated gymnast Shannon Miller, also a cancer survivor. I also have a thing for books that capture the spirit of the times in unique ways. My author Dan Epstein, who’s been dubbed the authority on 1970s baseball, scored a cult hit for us called Big Hair and Plastic Grass, and this year he’s back in the box with the aptly titled Stars and Strikes, on baseball and America in 1976. Similarly, I just bought a book on popular music in the seminal year of 1965, which presents us with the opportunity to publish it for the 50th anniversary. And although I’m more of a car guy myself, I’ve had good luck with books on underground biker culture, such as Prodigal Father, Pagan Son and Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws. I’ve also published a few novels, such as the incredibly well-reviewedFractures this past fall. I’m fairly wide-ranging, and overall I simply look for projects I think will be fun and which I feel I could position well for our forces here.
My taste is decidedly offbeat. In fiction, I love crime writing and have bought outstanding suspense from all over the world. My writers include Arnaldur Indridason (Gold Dagger Award); Martin Fletcher (National Jewish Book Award); John Ajvide Lindqvist (Selma Lagerlof Prize); Yrsa Sigurdardottir (IBBY Award), Elizabeth Hand (Shirley Jackson Award, James Tiptree Award, among countless others); Ann Cleeves (Gold Dagger Award); Kjell Eriksson (Glass Key Award); Gin Malliet (Agatha Award); Daniel Friedman (Edgar and Thrillerfest Best First Novel Nomination), Nancy Turner (One Book, One Arizona), and many more exceptional talents. Many of their stories have been made into excellent films and television shows (Jar City, Let the Right One In, Let Me in, “Vera,” “Shetland”), and several others are in production with major studios.
In nonfiction, I like to work on unusual projects. I like biographies of eccentric people (Maverick Genius: The Pioneering Odyssey of Freeman Dyson, by Philip F. Schewe; and American Saint, by Joan Barthel, which is a bio of Elizabeth Seton, who founded the first American order of nuns.) Innovative ideas fascinate me, whether having to do with science (The Vertical Farm, by Dickson Despommier) social action (Ascent of Women, by Sally Armstrong); or the history of people, places, or things (Tomlinson Hill by Christopher Tomlinson; Pepper: A History of the World's Most Influential Spice, by Marjorie Shaffer). I love learning about animals, biology, and natural history.
One of my favorite novels is a semi-serious disaster novel that is sometimes scary and sometimes hilarious. It’s called The Blondes and was written by Emily Schultz, hailed as “one of tomorrow’s Michael Ondaatjes and Alice Munros.” The premise is that a new epidemic is sweeping the globe and the symptoms resemble those of rabies. The hook: the disease is only carried by blonde women. What fun. Now you know my idea of a good time. If you have a quirky and original manuscript, send it here.
Editor; Head of Macmillan Entertainment
I started my career over a decade ago working as an Assistant Literary Agent at the William Morris Agency and then segued into the book-to-film side of the business, working as a literary scout for legendary producers Scott Rudin and Bob & Harvey Weinstein. I also worked as a development and production executive during those six years and my primary focus was on the transition from book to screen. After that, I worked as a literary and film agent for a few years, representing writers for both publishing and film/TV deals, as well as developing and producing television and movies.
I’ve been at Thomas Dunne Books for a few years now and am the editor of the New York Times-bestselling Walking Dead novels, and I also launched the company’s film/TV division, Macmillan Entertainment, which has projects set up at MGM, Legendary Pictures, BenderSpink, and The Weinstein Company, among others. I remain very interested in finding commercial material that cleverly combines a mainstream mindset with intelligent yet high concept stories. I'm actively looking for elevated genre material (horror, sci-fi and fantasy) as well as mainstream noir and pulpy literary fiction.
My publishing career began at Thomas Dunne Books, and here I’ve been fortunate to work with a wide range of debut and established authors. I love fiction: crime, women’s, historical, literary, and multicultural. On the crime side, I work with a broad spectrum of thrillers and mysteries in the sub-genres of police procedural, private eye, cozy, historical, and international. I enjoy both light and funny mysteries as well as darker, grittier ones, as long as the characters are memorable and there’s a strong story. My crime fiction authors include New York Times bestselling author Vikas Swarup, CWA’s John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger finalist Ewart Hutton, Edgar Award winner David Handler, and Bloody Words Light Mystery Award winner Elizabeth J. Duncan. The sleuths in my books range from a small town Virginia waitress to a 16th century ninja to Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins. I also manage and judge the writing competitions we run with Malice Domestic and the Private Eye Writers of America. In other fiction, I’ve acquired Natalie S. Harnett’s The Hollow Ground, a remarkable debut about a young girl in a Pennsylvania town devastated by coal mine fires; Marci Jefferson’s Girl on the Golden Coin, a historical novel about Frances Stuart, symbol of Britannia; and Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens, a retelling of Rapunzel intertwined with the true life story of the author of the fairytale. Captivating voices and vividly-realized settings are what get my attention. I’m also interested in narrative nonfiction.
One of the best feelings in the world is to open a book for the first time and be immediately enthralled as the first few pages plunge you into an exciting new world, draw you in with an intriguing mystery, or introduce you to a compelling and original new voice—or, even better, all of the above. During the five years I’ve spent at St. Martin’s Press and Thomas Dunne Books, the pursuit of that electric feeling—when you know this book is one that will cause you to miss your subway stop because you can’t stop turning the pages—is one of my favorite parts of the job. Although I started out buying primarily crime fiction (my first acquistion, Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder, was nominated for the Best First Mystery Edgar Award) during my time in the Flatiron I’ve acquired and worked on a wide range of commercial fiction and nonfiction, from Mad Women, a frank and witty memoir about life as a woman in advertising during the Mad Men period by Jane Maas; to Capturing Camelot, a gorgeous photo book that captures the magic of the Kennedy presidency by Kitty Kelley; to The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene, a haunting and deeply affecting portrait of one couple at their best and worst; to Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust, a charming cozy mystery featuring a small-town Georgia spice shop.
In fiction, I find myself especially drawn to unique, fresh, engaging voices combined with brisk, intelligent plotting, and am on the hunt for women’s and historical fiction in addition to crime. I’m eagerly looking for nonfiction in the following categories—fashion, pop culture, pop science/history, and animals (especially dogs!)—but am easily engrossed by clever writing that takes me “behind the scenes” to explore a topic I thought I knew, no matter the genre.
I came to Thomas Dunne Books in 2009 after extensive experience at literary agencies, having interned at the Maria Carvainis Agency, Foundry Literary + Media, and Writers House. I look for non-fiction by authors with a great platform, like Joe Zee, creative director of ELLE magazine, who is writing a style book fusing stories from inside the fashion industry with insider tales, tricks, and tips. I’m also drawn to narrative non-fiction about unusual lives or experiences.
I am thrilled to be working with R.L. Stine on reviving his young adult “Fear Street” series, which has sold more than 80 million copies around the world. We’re publishing the first new book in the series in almost two decades with PARTY GAMES (Fall 2014), with many more books to come. In the area of Young Adult, I’m seeking contemporary novels, both light and dark, and I’d love to find a great mystery, suspense, or thriller for teens. I’m also looking for fun, high-concept YA (BLONDE OPS, developed in-house with Peter Joseph, which combines James Bond with The Devil Wears Prada) and YA that exposes readers to new points of view, like the novel Brendan Deneen and I are editing by Chelsie Hill, star of the Sundance Channel original show “Push Girls.” With adult mysteries, I’m drawn to books with dynamic settings (Blood Orange,set in Santa Barbara, and The Evidence Room, set in the Florida Bayou). I was raised on Agatha Christie, so I also love cozies and traditional mysteries (The Sèance Society) that are inspired by the Golden Age of Mysteries.
Associate Editor; Thomas Dunne Books and Macmillan Films
I joined Thomas Dunne Books in 2011 after several years assisting at literary agencies including WME and Folio Literary. Since joining the Macmillan family, I have had the pleasure of working with Tom Dunne on titles as diverse as November 22, 1963, a compendium of personal reflections on JFK’s assassination from average citizens and celebrities alike, and The Misfortunates, a frank, tender, and darkly hilarious story of a boy growing up in a family of alcoholics.
I am actively acquiring edgy, character driven fiction, much like The Misfortunates, and non-fiction projects that delve into modern American issues, like Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy, the sex-, drugs- and alcohol-fueled account of an ex-Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother who blew the whistle on his frat’s inhumane hazing practices and debauched modus operandi. A huge fan of both Ursula K. Le Guin and David Mitchell, I’d also love to edit quality speculative fiction for a mainstream audience. Beginning in November 2013, I have transitioned into the Macmillan Entertainment department and am actively seeking character-driven material with television and film potential.
I joined Thomas Dunne Books from Simon & Schuster and after having interned here twice during college. I’m generally interested in acquiring upmarket commercial fiction of all types—I especially adore contemporary stories with historical threads as well as novels that have less-known yet meaningful historical moments as their foundations, but ultimately I value strong narrative voice above all. I love coming-of-age stories, whether adult or young adult, and thus am also looking to acquire contemporary young adult novels, especially those in the vein of Andrew Smith’s Winger. All types of books about music intrigue me—whether a biography of a musician or song or fiction that incorporates music into its plot, and I am also interested in narrative nonfiction on the topics of sports, fashion, pop culture, and history.
I began my publishing career at Thomas Dunne Books in 2013 after interning at Chalberg & Sussman. I love YA, science fiction and fantasy, historical fiction, narrative histories and biographies. I'm also a fan of books that fall off the beaten path: I love the quirky, off-beat and bizarre.
I came to Thomas Dunne Books at the end of 2013 after earning an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia and working for a year and half in the editorial department at an indie self-help publisher.
My interests in fiction include general fiction, upmarket, historical and contemporary romance, paranormal, urban and contemporary fantasy, women's fiction, thriller, horror, and epic fantasy. But, I also love and devour a heavy dose of literary fiction, memoir, science, history, and humor. As a reader and young editor I am most drawn to imaginative and detailed world building and strong voice- or narrative-driven stories. I’m also eager to introduce universal stories featuring diverse characters and protagonists to mainstream audiences.
I grew up surrounded by strong female protagonists and female-driven narratives—Buffy and Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Sarah Conner (Terminator and Terminator 2), Xena, and Ripley (Alien trilogy)—and would love to see more. I’m particularly looking for complex portrayals that go beyond physical strength.
Currently, I’m pursing my Certificate in Book Publishing at NYU, am a member of the Women’s National Book Association (and was a Great Group Reads Committee member in 2013), and occasionally write for Young to Publishing.
After studying history at Reed College and the University of Wisconsin I recently found my way to the Flatiron where I am delighted to be assisting Tom on his eclectic list of titles covering subjects from Nelson Mandela to Jewish Jokes. Personally, I am drawn to serious non-fiction and outrageous sci-fi, particularly books on history and politics (or the history of politics), cyberpunk and epic fantasy. On weekends and certain evenings you can also find me behind the bar at The Odeon restaurant in Tribeca.