Hot Deals

Hot Deals
John F. Baker -- 1/29/01

Kelley's New Beat: the Bushes | Bringing Back Bedford
MLK's Alter Ego | First Novel from 'Sistahs' Team | Short Takes

Kelley's New Beat: the BushesCelebrity biographer Kitty Kelley, somewhat of a celeb herself, is turning her sights on the Bush family for her next book--after having deconstructed the British royal family in her last outing, The Royals, four years ago. Doubleday Broadway president Stephen Rubin signed her up for world rights, including serial and audio, and she will begin work shortly--as usual, by interviewing hundreds of sources, many of them for the first time. She will be examining the entire Bush family dynasty, which has spawned two presidents, two governors, a senator and a number of other appointed and elected officials. According to Rubin, who signed the book from agent Wayne S. Kabak at William Morris, he expects Kelley to provide "a revealing account of a high-powered American family, an account that will deal with the issues of class and privilege heretofore only superficially addressed." The book will be edited by Random editor-at-large Peter Gethers, and Rubin plans to publish in 2004.

Meanwhile, another Bush campaign book is on the way, this one from Stuart Stevens, the new president's chief media strategist during the race. Stevens, who has written previously on media (Malaria Dreams and Feeding Frenzy) signed with Free Press senior editor Rachel Klayman via agent Peter Matson at Sterling Lord Literistic. His book, said Klayman, will provide an irreverent inside look at the campaign by "a true political insider who's also a superb writer." She bought North American, first serial and audio, and plans to publish as soon as this summer.

Bringing Back Bedford
Sybille Bedford
is a renowned British novelist and travel writer, still vigorously active at 89, most of whose work has fallen out of print. That is about to be thoroughly remedied by Counterpoint Press in the Perseus Group, where contributing editor Chris Carduff has just signed a deal that will bring him five major Bedford reprints and two brand-new titles, a travel collection and a memoir. It was negotiated with Kim Witherspoon here, acting on behalf of Bedford's London agent, Sarah Luytens. First fruits of the deal will appear as soon as May: the 1956 novel A Legacy and the Booker-shortlisted Jigsaw (1989), both with new introductions by the author. Two more novels, A Favorite of the Gods and A Compass Error, both from the 1960s, will follow in September, and Bedford's most famous travel book, the 1953 A Visit to Don Otavio, on Mexico, and a new collection of travel and other essays, Pleasures and Landscapes, in 2002. Finally, the author is working on a memoir, Quicksands, which Carduff will publish in 2003.

MLK's Alter EgoThat's how a later employer, Congressman Andrew Young, described Dora McDonald, for many years private secretary and close personal aide to Dr. Martin Luther King. For many years McDonald declined to talk about her time with the great civil rights leader, but she has now agreed to do a book and will write it for a small Southern press to which she has come to feel close. It is Hill Street Press, based in Athens, Ga., where senior editor Patrick Allen has just signed up McDonald for world rights to her story, without benefit of agent. Often at MLK's side on his travels, keeping things going at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference when she wasn't, McDonald spent most of the late '50s and '60s at the heart of the Southern civil rights movement. McDonald was with King's wife, Coretta,when news came of his 1968 assassination, and she recalls that when JFK was slain, King told her: "Dora, they killed Jack, and that's how I'm going to die, too." Tentatively titled Assistant to the King, the book is slated for publication in fall 2002.

Chiles and Milner:
Team's first fiction.
First Novel from 'Sistahs' Team The husband-and-wife team of Nick Chiles and Denene Milner, award-winning journalists both, has done several books on African-American lifestyles and relationships, including What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know and subsequent books with the same tag line about sex and money--Blackboard bestsellers all for publisher Morrow. Now senior editor Laurie Chittenden at Dutton has won an auction, with a six-figure bid, for the couple's first novel. It's called Love Don't Live Here, and it's also about relationships--in this case, the story of a marriage about to come apart before the partners realize what they are doing to each other and pull back from the brink. The world rights deal was made with Victoria Sanders at her eponymous agency, and the plan is to publish in spring 2002.
Miller: Chip off
the old block.
Short Takes Executive editor Joan Bingham at Grove Atlantic has bought a story collection from Rebecca Miller, a daughter of playwright Arthur Miller, her first fiction. It was bought, with a best-bid offer for North American rights, from agent Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency and is called Personal Velocity; it's a collection of stories, each told from a different female viewpoint.... Showtime has optioned Dorothy Allison's Cavedweller for a two-hour prime-time movie, working with Steve Fisher at APA on behalf of literary agent Frances Goldin.