Today is Kings of Broken Things Pub Day!!!

pub day flowersThe day is here, it’s pub day for Kings of Broken Things!

Thanks to all of you who have supported me throughout the process of writing this book and now through its publication. In particular, quickly, my agent Stephanie Delman and editor Vivian Lee, two rising stars in the industry who I’ve been so blessed to work with; my whole team at Little A who have been busy perfecting and promoting Kings; the faculty and staff at Creighton University, especially Mary Helen Stefaniak for working with me clause by clause on straightening out the early drafts of the book; my mother-in-law Karen West, who for years made sure I could both have time for family and to write; Akademie Schloss Solitude and Key West Literary Seminar; and of course Nicole and my family for always sticking with me and showing me that we’re worth too much together to settle for less than the best. And, last but certainly not least, thanks, Mom, for teaching me how to read and to appreciate the importance of good books. I’ve dreamed of this day so long and am not sure what more to say. So, CHEERS will have to suffice.

LET’S PARTY!

Q&A with the Omaha Public Library

logoWith pub day for Kings of Broken Things rapidly approaching (tomorrow!) a few more interviews and reviews should be coming out this week–including this Q&A I did with the Omaha Public Library for their blog.

Thanks to librarian Erin Duerr for the great questions and for helping to promote my book!

OPL: Kings of Broken Things is set during the Omaha Race Riot of 1919. What drew you to this time in Omaha’s history?

TW: For the last 10 years, I’ve worked as a reporter for a news service and covered a beat at the Douglas County courthouse, which, of course, was the site of the race riot and lynching. I’d first heard of the riot when I was in fourth grade, growing up in Lincoln, and it has stuck in my mind ever since. Spending so much time at the courthouse, it was something I thought about almost every day while walking the halls, stairs, and surrounding neighborhood. Beyond that, it was such a chaotic and inventive age, notably in art, technology, and transportation. The grief over World War I was experienced over this backdrop in such an expansive way–this notion of the “war to end all wars,” that it was so abominable that it couldn’t be repeated. This feeling was echoed in Omaha after the lynching of Will Brown, by the way, that the tragedy would spur society to improve and never repeat its mistakes. Given that context, it’s troubling to think that the U.S. has been at war my entire adult life. Following World War I, you see a lot of intense examination of the psychic damage war causes. These similarities in the art and culture of the era are attractive to me and my art, and the time is still recognizably Modern in other ways too. Like most historical fiction, it’s a convenient way to think about our own times.

Lincoln Journal-Star Book Review

As promised, here’s a link to the book review by Andrew Willis that was published yesterday in the Lincoln Journal-Star. It’s really quite a perceptive take on the book and the moral argument I’m trying to make through sports analogies, particularly since the review is pretty short.

I’m very grateful for the amazing coverage provided by LJS this weekend. It’s the newspaper I grew up reading, so that makes it more special. In fact, I believe they were my first publication outside of articles I wrote for my high school newspaper, when they published a letter to the editor I’d submitted in support of reading banned books in school.

Here’s an excerpt from the review:

“Kings of Broken Things” is a subtly powerful novel that sneaks up on the reader. Only after the race riots and lynching of Willie Brown does the reader question the justice of the mob’s earlier apprehension of a criminal known as The Cypriot. Only after the kids discussed the race riots “like this was a football game with a rival team” does the reader understand Jake’s earlier reaction to 1918 Cornhuskers/Notre Dame football game he attended: “The game ended in a 0-0 tie, and Jake couldn’t figure what good the struggle did either squad. For hours they pushed and shoved and threw bombs downfield as hard as their might allowed. They punched and scratched and shouted and swore. Traded territory. Were injured. And for nothing. Not even one lousy point.” How could Karel and Jake and all the others compromise their consciences to be swept along with the mob? Perhaps the reader already knows; perhaps the reader is already subconsciously complicit. Consider these damaged characters, a torched courthouse, and a dark stain on Omaha’s history. Among these broken things, Wheeler is crowned royalty.

Kings Under the LJS Microscope

wheeler ljsThe Lincoln Journal-Star has quite a lot of coverage on my new novel Kings of Broken Things on the front of its (402) lifestyle section this Sunday, with a book review and an interview. Be sure to pick up a copy of the paper if you’re in the Lincoln area and check out for yourself the two photos of my giant head. (May not be to scale.)

Thanks so much to features editor Jeff Korbelik for interviewing me, and Andrew Willis for his well-considered review. I especially like how the review mentions that Kings of Broken Things briefly features a Nebraska-Notre Dame football game from 1918, when Knute Rockne brought his Irishmen to Lincoln for a Thanksgiving Day game and my character Jake Strauss was in the crowd.

Be sure to check out the interview and I’ll post a link to the review if it goes online. In the meantime, here’s a little taste:

Theodore Wheeler’s nearly 10-year journey ends Tuesday when publisher Little A releases the Omaha author’s first novel, “Kings of Broken Things.” Wheeler, 35, admitted he’s anxious, having spent seven to eight years writing the book and another year and half to two years working through the publishing process. “I have a 9-year-old daughter, so when I started working on it she was still a baby and now she’s going to fourth grade,” Wheeler said in a phone interview to discuss the novel’s release. “It kind of puts it in a little more perspective.”

How to Get a Signed Copy of Kings of Broken Things

img_4652The event schedule for the launch of my novel Kings of Broken Things is coming together for the next couple months, with a dozen regional events already on the books. Check out the events page to see where you can find me, with new events being added through the end of the year.

In the likely case that I’m not coming to your town and you’d like to purchase a signed-copy, just email ted@dundeebook.co at the Dundee Book Company and it can arranged for a personalized copy of Kings of Broken Things to be sent your way. Or if you’d like to send one to a friend, just let me know who to inscribe the copy to and where to send it.

Fyi, Dundee Book Company is the roving bookstore that my wife Nicole and I are starting this fall. We’ll be setting up our new custom-made barnboard bookcart (newly built by our friends at Barnboard & Salvage in Des Moines) that we’ll be setting up at three or four events each month in Omaha. For a while we’ve lamented the need for an indie bookshop in our neighborhood, and hopefully DBC helps fill that need in some way. We’ll see where it grows (we’ll have an online store open soon) but for now we’re excited to get our cart and its six shelves of awesomeness out around Midtown!

Barnes & Noble Must-Read Indie Books

bn-ereader-iconSome more good news to share, as my novel Kings of Broken Things was named by Barnes & Noble a “must-read indie book coming this summer” on their B&N Reads blog. It was a surprise to find this one out and a nice honor. With pub day coming in exactly one week I’ll take all the help I can get. Plus, it made me feel justified in Googling my name right before bed last night. Ha.

Here’s what B&N Reads has to say about the book:

In a story set in 1919 that informs our understanding of the events of today, Wheeler focuses on three distinct characters as they make their way in post-World War I America. An immigrant finds prosperity and belonging in the new sport of baseball, a woman being kept by a married man searches for a way out of her constricting life, and a rootless man is drawn into a life of crime. As waves of traumatized soldiers stream home from Europe and black migrant workers head north seeking a better life, everything leads up to the Omaha Race Riots, an explosive moment in America’s history ripe for a literary examination.

Author Copy Jackpot!

img_4652Check out all the author copies and other amazing goodies that were waiting for me at home when I returned from Lisbon. As you can see, the hardcover, paperback, and audio editions of Kings of Broken Things are ready to go for the formal launch date of August 1. In the meantime, a couple weeks remain in this month’s Kindle First program, if you want to get a digital version of the novel early for only $1.99.

I’m so happy with how the book turned out, in all its different mediums. From the small details on the cover (and on the inside hardback) to the feel of the paperback to the cadence of the audio edition. It really is a touching experience to see the level of attention paid to getting these things right. Thanks and kudos to my editor Vivian Lee and everyone on my Little A team.

Lost in Iberia

Here are some choice photos from my last couple weeks hanging out in Portugal and Spain! The Disquiet International Literary Program is what brought me to Lisbon–and I had a blast with the other participants with all the events and bar nights–but I was also able to fit in a couple side trips too. It’s been pretty great to recharge spiritually before my first novel comes out in a few weeks. (Have I mentioned Kings of Broken Things yet? Order now!) On the spiritual restoration score, mission accomplished! But my body is a little beat up. So much fun though.

 

Goodreads Giveaway Goes Live

img_4239Amazon Publishing and Little a are conducting a Goodreads Giveaway this month for my novel, giving away 100 free Kindle editions of Kings of Broken Things to those who are selected.

For the uninitiated, you have to join Goodreads in order to enter the contest; once you’re a member just click the “Enter Giveaway” button on this page. It’s pretty easy.

I’ve only ever won a book once, but I love Goodreads Giveaways. Free books! Well, possible free books. Anyway, you can’t win if you don’t play.