Bedside Press is celebrating its five-year anniversary with the long out of print novel, Work for a Million from Eve Zaremba. Originally published in 1986 by Amanita Press, Work for a Million is notable as the first pulp novel to star a lesbian private investigator.
Bedside Press has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a reprint of the original prose novel as well as an all-new graphic novel adaptation by Amanda Deibert and Selena Goulding.
Bedside Press founder and publisher, Hope Nicholson says:
When Margaret Atwood emailed me one day, to ask if I could assist some friends of hers with advice, I had never heard of the detective Helen Keremos. I did some quick research online and could see why she thought of me instantly for help. A character who premiered in an era I dearly love, the 1970s, set in Canada, starring the first openly lesbian PI, and written by an out lesbian woman?? This is the type of literary history I adore, forgotten but absolutely essential and groundbreaking.
Helen Keremos is witty, sly, and incredibly skilled at her job. She’s also tired of the busy Toronto life and wants nothing more than to head back to Vancouver and peace. Before she can go, she’s hired for one last job. The newly wealthy struggling songbird, Sonia Deerfield has been receiving death threats and attempts on her life so she needs protecting. She’s surrounded by predatory “friends” so it’s tough for Helen to tell who she can trust. As the danger grows around them, Helen and Sonia find themselves drawn to each other for more than just protection. Helen soon realizes that Sonia isn’t the only one with a target on her back as the mysterious blackmailer puts her in their crosshairs.
Out of all her adventures, the one that struck me the most that I had to work with was Work for a Million. Not only is it a steamy noir set in Toronto, but it features a will-they-won’t-they romance between the femme fatale and our dashing detective, Helen. I immediately knew that I didn’t just want to give advice, I wanted to publish this as a graphic novel. Eve, and her wife Ottie who has been instrumental as the organizer of this project, both agreed on this path.
The Kickstarter campaign launched on January 15th and at the time of this writing is about a quarter of the way to its fundraising goal. Rewards include print and digital copies of the newly reprinted prose novel with a cover by Sami Kivela and the graphic novel adaptation featuring a cover by Sean Phillips, prints, original artwork, and even a script consultation.
This book, both in its original prose, and in this new graphic novel (both of which are part of the Kickstarter), is an important part of crime fiction history, LGBT history, feminist literature history, and Canadian literature history. And yet, even though it’s set decades in the past, the energy sparkling between our leads feels very fresh and exciting. This is the perfect gift for those who love pulp and crime comics, with a Bogart-esque tough PI lead who still has a soft spot for vulnerable people to protect.