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Between the Lines

The inside scoop on the book world

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‘TIS THE SEASON…for change. Richard Paul Evans, who self-published his first novel, 1993’s The Christmas Box, and later saw it hit No. 1 in both hardcover and paperback for Simon & Schuster, will have a new publisher and a new look when fans see his next book. ”He’s going to be published as a novelist and not as a novelty or a specialty,” says Dutton president Carole Baron, who has acquired Evans’ next two books, one of which is The Last Promise, due in November. ”He was always published in small format, in the Christmas season. Now he’ll be published around Christmastime, but not as a Christmas item.”

ON SMACKDOWNS AND SIMILES The partly toothless, partly earless onetime World Wrestling Federation champion Mick Foley — a.k.a. Mankind, Cactus Jack, and Dude Love — doesn’t look like he would be Alfred A. Knopf material. But the house of Updike and Naipaul has opened its tony doors to the former wrestler — whose autobiography, Have a Nice Day!, was a No. 1 best-seller for ReganBooks — and the Knopf editor who acquired Foley’s first novel, Tietam Brown, claims she didn’t even know who he was. ”What can I say? I’d never heard of him and neither had anyone else here,” says Victoria Wilson. ”I think [Knopf and Foley] are a great combination. I see it as The Prince and the Showgirl,” she added, referring to the 1957 comedy that teamed Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe. The novel, a coming-of-age tale laced with violence, features ”really complicated people,” Wilson says. But it still needs some work. Let’s hope, for Wilson’s sake, that Foley’s nicer out of the ring…. One person Foley won’t be working with at Knopf is Bill Loverd, the famously genteel head of publicity, who is retiring after 37 years at the house. Known for the handwritten notes he would send to book review editors with the advance copies of books he thought especially praiseworthy, Loverd, 61, says he is leaving ”at a high point.”

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