Maazel Moves to Graywolf
Fiona Maazel, who published her debut novel, Last Last Chance, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2008, sold her sophomore book to Graywolf Press. Publisher Fiona McCrae bought North American rights to Woke Up Lonely from Stacia Decker at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Decker said the novel is a “sweeping commentary on loneliness in America” featuring a cult leader, his ex-wife, and the four people he accidentally takes hostage. Decker added that the book recalls works like White Noise and Infinite Jest. Maazel was one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 authors in 2008; Graywolf has Woke Up Lonely set for spring 2013.
SMP Nabs Lawyer’s First ‘Outing’ and a YA Debut
Brenda Copeland at St. Martin’s Press pre-empted Helen Wan’s debut, The Firm Outing in a deal brokered by Josh Getzler at Hannigan Salky Getzler. Wan is an in-house attorney at the Time Inc. division of Time Warner, and the novel follows a promising, young Chinese-American attorney about to make partner at her prestigious firm. Jockeying to fit in with the old boy network that runs the company, the heroine plays along until an offensive event at the firm’s summer outing puts her in an uncomfortable and potentially disastrous position. As Getzler explained: “She must choose between the safety and prestige of partnership at a firm whose ethics she finds increasingly untenable, or risk throwing away the American dream that she—and her immigrant parents—have come so close to achieving.” Wan lives in Brooklyn and went to Amherst and the University of Virginia Law School.
Landing another debut for SMP last week was Jennifer Weis, who bought North American rights to the YA novel The Patron Saint of Beans by Emily Murdoch. Mandy Hubbard and Bob Diforio at D4EO Literary closed the deal. The book is about a teenage violin prodigy whose life is drastically changed when her long-absent father appears one day to take in her and her mute sister after the two have spent their formative years living in a trailer with their drug-addicted mother. As the main character adjusts to a more “normal” high school existence, she is dogged by a dark secret. Diforio said the book will have adult crossover appeal.
Delacorte Pre-emptsGothic Trilogy
In a major six figure deal, Krista Marino at Delacorte pre-empted North American rights to a debut trilogy called Grotesque. Ted Malawer at Upstart Literary Crow handled the sale for author Page Morgan. The series is set in turn-of-the-20th-century Paris and follows two sisters who are searching for their missing brother. Malawer said the series is a gothic thriller, noting that Morgan “reimagines gargoyle mythology” for the books; Delacorte is currently planning book one for a spring 2013 publication.
Doubleday TakesBrown’s Debut
Jennifer Jackson at Doubleday bought the debut novel Margie Fitzgerald by Natalie Brown at auction. Agent Terra Chalberg, who recently cofounded the Chalberg & Sussman Agency, sold North American rights in the deal and called the book “upmarket women’s fiction,” comparing the book’s protagonist to those in novels like Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Swamplandia! The work is narrated by the title character, a shy undergrad in search of both love and family. Chalberg said Margie finds herself “embroiled in a relationship with a professor, a misfit group of friends, and an animal rights fiasco that forces her to flee everything she knows.” Brown has a B.A. from UC–San Diego and a master’s (in English and Native American Studies) from Montana State, and she currently works in the English department at the University of Iowa.
Perillo Goes to RP for Cookbook, Memoir
Kristen Green Wiewora at Running Press closed a world rights two-book deal with agent Stacey Glick at Dystel & Goderich for a cookbook and a memoir by food blogger Jennie Perillo. Perillo is a consulting food editor at Working Mother magazine and also blogs at injennieskitchen.com. She was working on a cookbook with Glick when her 51-year-old husband suddenly died. The tragic event—he had a heart attack while teaching the couple’s eight-year-old how to ride a bike—was something Perillo blogged about, drawing a heartfelt response. Glick said that after Perillo posted about baking a pie for her dead husband, thousands of her readers responding by baking their own pies. Wiewora bought the original cookbook Perillo had been writing, City Girl, Country Kitchen, along with a memoir in which Perillo will detail how she coped with her husband’s death and how it has affected her relationship with food and cooking; the cookbook is slated for spring 2013, and the memoir for spring 2014.