In about two years, unless the writing kills me first, a book will be published under my name. Zoinks! That book, whose title is TBD, will be based on this story of a break-in at a nuclear weapons site, but it will be broader in scope. In my head I'm categorizing it several ways, depending on how the reporting actually goes: a parable, a "moral thriller," a "general theory of sociopolitical relativity" or — brace yourself — a THEORY OF EVERYTHING (take your pick, fellow fauxlosophers). There will be grannies and God and bombs and bureaucrats, caught up up in a 70-year chain reaction, all underlined by physics and faith. The patient and exacting Lauren Clark at Kuhn Projects shepherded my proposal over the past eight months and sold it last week to David Rosenthal at Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin, and I can't think of a better home for the project. Here's the Publishers Marketplace blurb:
Washington Post reporter Dan Zak's [tentatively titled] THE PROPHETS OF OAK RIDGE, the story of why three activists broke in to one of the world's most secure nuclear weapons facilities in 2012, how their actions were connected to the larger history of the anti-nuke movement, and why their intrusion bolsters the argument that nuclear catastrophe is our most imminent existential threat, to David Rosenthal at Blue Rider Press, in a pre-empt, by Lauren Clark at Kuhn Projects (World English).
"I'm going to make lots of trouble," Rosenthal told The New York Times when he first announced his imprint, and I ♥ trouble. I also ♥ Gene Weingarten for turning David on to my stuff, and Ann Gerhart for mothering the original story (and me, for that matter), and The Washington Post for giving me license to expand it. The first draft is due in November 2015; I am taking a one-year sabbatical from the newsroom starting this June 1 to tackle the epic reporting that needs to be done. After nine years at the Post and 15 years writing short (ish) for newspapers, I will have 90,000 words of open road in front of me. Perhaps I will chronicle the progress and pains here. If you see me doing that, though, tell me to get the fuck back to work. Or just say "Boooooook!"