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  • Alyse Gray

Death, it's a Living has an Agent!!!

I cried tears of joy this week upon learning that the book I've been working on for the past two years has representation. I'll be working with literary agent Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret! This does not guarantee the book will be published, but it greatly increases the odds.

I haven't really shared specifically what the book is about because I wanted to have official representation first.

Death, it's a Living: A Guide to Postmortem Professions will take readers on a "death tour," exploring what it's like to work with dead bodies. I've interviewed a number of death professionals and will be providing some of my own perspectives as someone who has been working with corpses for over 13 years.

Amy the Agent had some AMAZING ideas for the book that will take it in a slightly different, and even better direction than where it started. Instead of being a death career advice book like I initially planned it to be, Death, it's a Living will explore in narrative format what happens to dead bodies through the eyes of women who work with them.

Women are entering occupations related to death in unprecedented numbers. Attendance in US academic mortuary, pathology, and forensic programs has dramatically shifted over the past 15 years from being mostly male to mostly female. The future of death professions is, without a doubt, female. This book is long overdue.

I'll also endeavor to explore the question of why women are fascinated by death, particularly, murder. This is nothing new, murder mystery novels have always been popular among women. But with the rise of crime and true crime dramas on TV, streaming services, and podcasts, murder has become ingrained as a feminine pop culture phenomenon. At one point, I didn't know if I could explain this trend, but even since I began writing a few years ago, the true crime entertainment genre has burgeoned. The question of why it has a largely female audience is starting to be explored more by both the media and academics.

The interviews and career advice I've been gathering will be included in the book, but are going to be consolidated more towards the end. While some people will find them useful in terms of career guidance, particularly if their interest has been piqued by the book, they may not be useful to everyone in the audience.

This book will still be something I can point people to when asked, "how do you become a ____." It's the book I wish I would have had 20 years ago. I cannot wait to get this out there! I still have a long way to go in terms of writing, but I am optimistic that this book is going to be great! Even if it doesn't sell a ton of copies, what matters is that it will make people think and, most importantly, it has the potential to help guide young people towards choosing an interesting and satisfying career in death.

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