Deal announcement: EMPEROR TENTACLE by Danna Staaf

I have a new book deal to announce today! North American rights to Danna Staaf‘s EMPEROR TENTACLE: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, sold to ForeEdge, the trade imprint of the University Press of New England.

Danna Staaf is a marine biologist and science writer with an infectious passion for all things tentacled. You only have to read her writing to get a sense of that passion for yourself – from her funny, chatty blog posts on science20.com and KQED, to the more sustained scientific writing in her book, practically every sentence she writes makes me more interested in her subject matter. She’s also a highly engaging presenter in person, as you can see from her presentations at Nerd Nite San Francisco.

Danna’s first full-length book will be an evolutionary biography of squid, telling the extraordinary story of cephalopod evolution, which starts 200 million years before the first dinosaurs arose and still continues today, as our modern squid and octopuses adapt, survive and thrive in rapidly changing ocean environments. As a work of popular science, it speaks directly to the dinosaur-crazy child in me, and is packed with facts and stories that I just can’t help sharing with people. Did you know that cephalopods were the first animals ever to rise from the sea floor and actually swim, rather than grubbing around on the bottom with the trilobites etc? Did you know that they did it by filling their shells with buoyant gas and floating around in the water like underwater dirigibles? Did you know that squid brains have three hemispheres, and their oesophaguses pass right through the middle of the three? Unbelievable. And you thought they were just live calamari :p

Another interesting fact about Danna is that she holds the record for ‘fastest offer of representation’ among my clients – I offered her rep in a Skype call that took place less than forty-eight hours after she first queried me. Her initial query wasn’t actually for this project at all – she’s also a very talented writer of science fiction, and she queried me with a middle-grade manuscript that will be going on submission in a few months’ time. I actually can’t wait – you’re all going to love it.

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