Simon & Schuster has announced that its children’s imprint Aladdin Books has acquired publication rights to Strays, a novel by Virginia Castleman, originally released in February by Archway, the self-publishing service operated for S&S by Author Solutions. Strays is the first Archway title to be acquired for traditional publication by an S&S imprint.

The novel, inspired by real-life events, features two young, orphaned sisters and chronicles their experiences in the foster care system. In a statement about the acquisition, Mara Anastas, v-p and publisher of Aladdin and Simon Pulse, said, “I was immediately struck by Virginia Castleman’s unique voice and storytelling ability, and we look forward to working with her to bring Strays to an even wider audience.”

Simon & Schuster launched Archway in late 2012 in response to the increasing number of authors using self-publishing as a route to placing their content with traditional houses. “We recognized that self-publishing was a viable path to publication for many authors and also a growing source of content for traditional publishers such as Simon & Schuster,” said Ellie Hirschhorn, executive v-p and chief digital officer in a statement. “Editors at all of our imprints are actively monitoring the Archway catalog for possible publications,” she added.

Plans are to release Strays in print and e-book formats in spring 2016, with a trade paperback edition to follow at a later point.

Of the new deal Castleman said, “I really never thought it would get published, let alone acquired by this major publishing house, and I was literally speechless when I got an email confirming their interest in acquiring Strays for the Aladdin Books imprint. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I can’t wait to get to work with my editor to get the book ready for publication.”